New Executive Director joins Los Altos History Museum

By March 1, 2017May 25th, 2017Press Releases

Los Altos, CA – The Executive Committee is pleased to announce that Elisabeth I. Ward, Ph. D. will join the Los Altos History Museum as its new Executive Director effective March 20, 2017. There will be a series of private receptions to introduce Dr. Ward to the Los Altos/Los Altos Hills community. “Elisabeth will be a passionate and energetic leader, focused on implementing a vision of what a local history museum should be as a community resource,” said Marilyn Henderson, Board President.

The search committee, chaired by Marilyn Henderson, was composed of Ginger Beman, Linda Eckols, Nan Geschke, Julia Lovin, Jane Reed, Ed Taft and Eleanor Watanabe.

She holds a Ph.D. and B.A. in Scandinavian Languages and Literature from UC Berkeley, and a M.A. in Anthropology (with a concentration in Museum Studies) from Georgetown University. Prior to joining the Los Altos History Museum, Ms. Ward was the Director of the Scandinavian Cultural Center at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. She was responsible for every aspect of the operation, from collection care to program management to fiscal reporting. She also worked closely with the Cultural Council.

Previously, Dr. Ward worked as a Lecturer in Scandinavian Languages and UC Berkeley, Director at the Vikingaheimar Museum in Iceland, and Museum Specialist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Anthropology Department. She is the author of many academic publications and is fluent in Icelandic with a functional knowledge of Norwegian and Spanish. She grew up in Mission Viejo, CA.

The Los Altos History Museum began in 1977 with the opening of the J. Gilbert Smith House historic farmhouse, built in 1905. In 2001, the Los Altos History Museum opened its modern building next door, which houses the Museum’s collections, permanent and changing exhibits, store and administrative offices. The Museum and its collections are owned by the City of Los Altos and are managed by an independent nonprofit organization, whose staff and volunteers are responsible for all programs and operations.

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, email, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.


Media Contact:

Los Altos History Museum: Crystal Taylor, 650.948.9427 x14,