Los Altos History Museum offers lessons in California history through its annual educational tours for 3rd- and 4th-grade classrooms based in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Education Committee docents lead fun, interactive presentations, hands-on activities, play-acting, and tours of the Museum’s exhibits throughout April and May.
Over 900 students attend the program every spring. “Local teachers rave about the tours, calling them ‘the best ever,'” said Education Committee Chair Anne Roberts. Each grade rotates through different “stations” on their trek through history.
The 3rd-graders come in April, and explore life on the Peninsula–from the Ohlone Indian Era to The Great Depression—discovering mortars and pestles for grinding corn, dressing up as Mexican Rancheros, and spinning the “Wheel of Fortune” in the permanent exhibit; then step back in time on a tour of the historic J. Gilbert Smith House; and return to the Museum to hear stories of former local artist, Annie Knapp Fitz, trying their own hand at drawing “Annie” pictures.
The 4th-graders come in May, and learn about old farm equipment and the harvesting of apricots and walnuts; then re-enact a City Council meeting at the Los Altos Council Chambers; tour the Museum’s permanent exhibit of World War II and the incorporation of Los Altos; and learn about the growth of Los Angeles, capped by clips of Abbott and Costello.
The tours are open to students in public, private, and home-schooled classes. To book a tour, teachers may contact the Museum or visit the website. This program is sponsored by a grant from the Geschke Family Foundation.
By Diane Holcomb.