LOS ALTOS, CA (September 27, 2022) – Wallace Stegner, known as “the dean of Western writers,” published 30 books, countless essays, and numerous letters about equity, the arts, and the environment. The latter is the focus of Los Altos History Museum’s interactive outdoor exhibition, “Wallace Stegner: A Path to Conservation,” on display Oct 13, 2022 – Mar 5, 2023.
Informational signs guide visitors through this outdoor exhibition where they can scan QR codes with their electronic devices to view photos, recordings and videos of and about the Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
Guest curator Will Wyman helped research Stegner’s letters, many of which are held at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library. Video clips from that archive and quotes from the letters are featured in the exhibition.
Wallace Stegner as a subject proved extremely popular in the Museum’s 2005 exhibition, “Wallace Stegner: Throwing a Long Shadow,” which showcased the author’s work and his life accomplishments.
“What gets overlooked a lot with Stegner are his contributions to conservation,” said Museum Educator Georgianna Shea. “He was at the forefront of the modern conservation movement.”
Stegner’s legendary “Wilderness Letter,” written in 1960, became one of the pivotal moments to push through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Locally, he co-founded Committee for Green Foothills, which led to the development of MidPeninsula Open Space and their work in preserving wildlife corridors and natural spaces for all to enjoy.
“By seeing and hearing Stegner in this exhibit, visitors will leave feeling they know him, what he stood for, and who he was. It will bring a more personal touch to the exhibit,” said Shea.
Author Lynn Stegner will share personal stories of “Wally” in a program titled “Stegner on Stegner: The Life and Writing of Wallace Stegner” held at the Museum and on Zoom on Tuesday, Oct 18 at 5:30pm. A well-known author in her own right, Lynn teaches writing courses at Stanford, as did her father-in-law, Wallace Stegner.
Other related programs include:
- “Wallace Stegner: In His Footsteps,” a docent-led hike on the Wallace Stegner Pathway, Sunday, Nov 6th, 11am
- “Jasper Ridge Environmental Walk,” a docent-led hike, Sunday, Nov 13th, 11am
- “Green Foothills: Advocates and Activists,” a talk with special guests Lennie Roberts and Megan Fluke, Saturday, Mar 4th, 2023, 10:30am
Books by Wallace Stegner and Lynn Stegner will be available for purchase in the Museum’s Store. Admission for all programs is $10/person, free to Museum members. Registration required at losaltoshistory.org/StegnerExhibit.
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. The outdoor agricultural exhibit, gardens and picnic area are accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, visit: losaltoshistory.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.