History Museum Continues Active Programming During Partial Closure

By April 19, 2022Press Releases

LOS ALTOS, CA (April 19, 2022) Beginning May 9, 2022, Los Altos History Museum will close its main building and gallery as construction begins on the new, technology-driven Permanent Exhibition, slated to open in early 2023. Until the reopening, the Museum will move operations to the J. Gilbert Smith House, setting up a boutique of gift shop items, and mounting a series of exhibits. History Docents, alongside newly-trained Teen Docents, will be on hand to offer visitors tours of the historic home during open hours, Thurs-Sun, noon-4pm.

“We thought it was important this summer to acknowledge the central role of the Smith House in the Museum’s programming,” Executive Director Dr. Elisabeth Ward said. “We’re returning to our roots. We started off there as the History House in 1977, when the home was established as the City’s Historical Museum.”

The outdoor agricultural exhibition will also remain open, featuring a tank house, walnut huller, apricot cutting shed, tractor and a display of tools used when Silicon Valley was known as The Valley of Heart’s Delight.

“Our responsibility is to tell the story of the orchardists from the early 1900s and maintain the Smith House as an historic landmark,” said Sharon Barkoff, Smith House Committee Chair. “Keeping the Smith House open for visitors gives us a unique opportunity to display an exciting lineup of exhibits in a smaller space.”

Upcoming exhibits include:

  • The 75th Anniversary of the Kiwanis Pet Parade: May 12 – July 10
  • Fabulous Food of the 30s and 40s: July 14 – Aug 28
  • Santa Clara County Children’s Art Contest: Sept 1 – Oct 30

The Museum will also offer a series of family events in the courtyard, tied to the Permanent Exhibition’s theme of stories from the land. Save the dates for:

  • Rancho Day: Horsemanship in the Hills – May 28
  • Apricot STEM Fair: a Tale of Two Valleys – July 16
  • Train Day: Making a Town – Sept 10
  • Creek Fest: Playing with Water – Oct 22

In addition, two educational programs are planned to be offered online:

  • Hidden Asian Histories of San Jose: Japantown, with Tom Izu – May 12
  • Archeology of the Ohlone, with Alan Leventhal – Oct 6

“We’re looking forward to big changes on the horizon in 2023 with the opening of the new Permanent Exhibition,” Ward said. “But even as we look to the future, we never forget the past.”

Through photographs, videos, recorded voices, touch-activated screens and augmented reality, the Permanent Exhibition will tell the history of our valley, hills, creeks and town, and the people who helped shape this area. The community is invited to be a part of this project by donating to the Capital Campaign at losaltoshistory.org/support.

For the latest updates on the Permanent Exhibition, upcoming programs, and Smith House exhibits, visit losaltoshistory.org, and follow @losaltoshistory on social media.

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 is open Thursday through Sunday, from noon-4pm. Admission is free. Tours of the J. Gilbert Smith House are available during open hours subject to docent availability. The outdoor agricultural exhibit, gardens and picnic area are accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, visit: 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