Los Altos History Museum welcomes Seaweed, Salmon and Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast Exhibition

By November 15, 2016May 25th, 2017Press Releases

Los Altos, CA – Filled with historic and contemporary photographs, baskets and other artifacts, food specimens, memoirs, and recipes, Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast is a new statewide traveling exhibition from the Grace Hudson Museum and Exhibit Envoy.  The exhibit, which opens at the Los Altos History Museum on January 12, 2017 and runs through April 16, 2017 features foods important in the lives of Native Californians including fish, shellfish, seaweed, meat, vegetables, berries, fruits, flowers, nuts, seeds, and salt.  This delicious look at Native foods is based on the Heyday Books publication Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider: A California Indian Feast by Margaret Dubin and Sara-Larus Tolley (2008), a delightful and sometimes startling compendium of Native American cuisine (the most authentic local food around).

Sherrie Smith-Ferri, Director of the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah (www.gracehudsonmuseum.org), curated this exhibition in consultation with her aunt, Kathleen Rose Smith, a California Indian artist and a member of the Coast Miwok and Dry Creek Pomo tribes. Smith-Ferri notes how much fun it was to put the exhibit together. “It brought back lots of good memories of getting together with the family to spend time at the coast harvesting abalone, mussels and seaweed, or going to pick berries. And of course, it brings back recollections of some great meals eaten together. I found I would get really hungry if I worked too long a stretch of time on the exhibit.”

“Our foods were (and still are) as varied as the landscape, as are our methods of preparing them,” states Kathleen Rose Smith. “We ate them raw. We roasted, boiled, baked, leached, steeped, dried, and stored them, and, after contact, we fried, and canned them.”

The book and the exhibit contain harvesting instructions and recipes for many delicious foods, including Huckleberry Bread, Pine Nut Soup, Rose Hip or Elderberry Syrup, Peppernut Balls, and Ingeniously Roasted Barnacles.

Modern California Indians have retained much of the precious plant and animal knowledge of their ancestors, and are in a process of recovering even more. “Despite missionization, Mexican land grants, the Russian quest for sea otters, and American expansionism, we are still here,” states Smith. “We knew (and still know) the land with an intimacy that results from countless interactions.”

The public opening reception will be Sunday, January 15, 2017 from 2 -4 pm.


Exhibition Support

Funding for this exhibit was provided by the Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, the Mendocino County Office of Education, Exhibit Envoy, and the Sun House Guild.


About Exhibit Envoy

Exhibit Envoy provides traveling exhibitions and professional services to museums throughout California.  Our mission is to build new perspectives among Californians, create innovative exhibitions and solutions, and advance institutions in service to their communities.  For more information, please visit www.exhibitenvoy.org.


The Smith House was our first museum, opened in 1977. In the spring of 2001, the Los Altos History Museum opened in a modern, impressive three-level, 8,200-square-foot building, built entirely with private donations. Ownership was transferred to the City of Los Altos in 2002.


The Museum and J. Gilbert Smith House are open Thursday through Sunday, from noon-4pm.  Admission is free. The gardens, outdoor agricultural exhibits and picnic area are accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, go to www.losaltoshistory.org, email hello@losaltoshistory.org, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.


Media Contact:    Crystal Taylor, Los Altos History Museum, ctaylor@loaltoshistory.org or

Lexie Smith Kliebe Exhibit Envoy  415.525.1553 / lexie@exhibitenvoy.org