Museum Exhibit Explores History of Water Management

LOS ALTOS, CA (June 20, 2023) – Harnessing the scarce water resources of the Santa Clara Valley has been a challenge for more than 100 years. Los Altos History Museum’s new exhibit “Drip, Dry, Flood: Orchard Water Management” showcases how orchardists have tackled this challenge historically and today. On display in the J. Gilbert Smith House Gallery June 29 – October 8, the exhibit is open Thursday – Sunday, noon – 4 p.m.

Visitors will have the opportunity to read personal stories that add a human touch to the historical narrative, explore photographs of orchards, well diggers, and early water systems, examine blueprints and photos of iconic tank houses, and peruse a 1928 catalog from an irrigation company.

“Our aim is to highlight how innovative orchardists were in inventing new methods of irrigation and alleviation of drought,” said Exhibits Specialist Jordan Grealish. “While Silicon Valley is often associated with technological advancements, Santa Clara Valley, once known as The Valley of Heart’s Delight, was known for developing solutions to agricultural problems, including how to manage water and irrigation.”

Highlighted among the featured irrigation techniques are the modern drip method that will be installed in the Los Altos Heritage Orchard, and the traditional flood technique used in the past.

“The exhibit is an opportunity for visitors to explore the Valley’s agricultural past, appreciate its technological present, and consider the future of sustainable farming,” added Grealish.

Admission is free. For more information, visit

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 exhibitsstore 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:, email, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.

Media Contact:
Los Altos History Museum: Elisabeth I. Ward, 650.948.9427 x10,