History Museum Honors Jane Reed with Tribute Fund

By September 8, 2020Press Releases

LOS ALTOS, CA (September 8, 2020) Los Altos History Museum is holding a special fundraiser in honor of Jane Reed, a key Museum supporter and former Los Altos mayor, for her decades-long contributions in helping to preserve the Los Altos story. All funds raised will go toward the Changing Exhibits Program that Reed spearheaded for fifteen years.

Reed’s relationship with the Museum began a few years after the 1977 opening of the historic J. Gilbert Smith House, when she joined the Auxiliary and supported the Museum’s activities while serving on the city council. But it was a phone call from Nan Geschke that started Jane’s true involvement, beginning with the invitation to join a committee planning a permanent exhibit for the 8,000 square-foot Museum that opened in 2001.

Jane served on the board of directors for two terms, including one as president, and supported the hiring of Museum directors and staff. With a background in event planning, Jane helped organize the Museum’s annual Crab Feed, led a major fundraiser at the Geschke Gardens and Home, and co-chaired the recent Winchester/Merriman Gala. Among the exhibit-related fundraisers Jane planned, her favorite was an Elvis Presley Birthday Party with Elvis-themed food, entertainment, and costumes.

Her involvement in the Museum, and her educational background in art and design, prompted Jane to return to school to earn a Masters Certificate in Museum Studies at JFK University and intern at the Oakland Museum, the San Jose History Museum, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. In 2005, Jane volunteered to chair Los Altos History Museum’s Exhibits Committee, and has either overseen or helped curate nearly every exhibition through 2019.

“Jane Reed set an extremely high bar for our Changing Exhibits Program by always making it creative and inclusive by bringing in many different community groups and covering such a wide variety of topics,” said Executive Director Dr. Elisabeth Ward. “Donations made in her honor will go toward this signature program and will inspire the Museum to continue living up to the example Jane set for us.”

An active member of the community, Jane Reed pulled on her extensive knowledge of the area and of local residents to create exhibitions at the Los Altos History Museum that served to bridge art, history, and culture. Following Museum best practices, Jane invited the community into the exhibition process, often including artifacts from local residents into her exhibits. In August of this year, Los Altos Mayor Jan Pepper presented Jane with the Historic Preservation Award in the form of a proclamation, for her exemplary work at the Museum. A Los Altos resident for 52 years, Jane and her husband, John, will be moving to Southern California in the fall.

“The development of the Museum has been such a wonderful experience for me,” said Reed. “I have met so many dear friends, and it has been the perfect fit for my lifetime interests in history and art and working to build community.”

To make a donation in Jane Reed’s honor, visit losaltoshistory.org/JaneReed. All donations up to $5,000 will be matched by Nan Geschke, a strong supporter of the Museum and close friend of Jane’s. A video tribute entitled Parade of Memories will be available to view on the Museum’s website beginning October 1. The public is encouraged to submit photos of Jane for the video montage through the above webpage.

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 grounds are available for rent during evenings and weekends. 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 currently closed, but the outdoor exhibits are open Thursday through Sunday, from noon-4pm. Admission is free. The gardens, outdoor agricultural exhibits and picnic area are always accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, visit: www.losaltoshistory.org, email hello@losaltoshistory.org, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.

Media Contact: Marketing@losaltoshistory.org

Los Altos History Museum: Elisabeth I. Ward, 650.948.9427 x10, eward@losaltoshistory.org