Museum Association Secures Contract to Preserve Heritage Orchard

LOS ALTOS, CA (July 11, 2023) The Los Altos City Council approved a three-year contract with the Association of the Los Altos Historical Museum, marking a vital step toward preserving the city’s beloved Heritage Orchard. Under the terms of the agreement, the Association will be responsible for overseeing and maintaining this historic gem which serves Los Altos and neighboring cities, ensuring its health, vibrancy, and beauty for years to come.


With an annual budget of $75,000 dedicated to the upkeep of the Heritage Orchard, the contract also includes the possibility of a two-year extension, reflecting the city’s commitment to protecting its rich historical heritage. This agreement represents a shared vision between the Los Altos City Council and the Association, aiming to preserve the orchard’s legacy and provide a source of civic pride.


To ensure the revitalization and long-term sustainability of the orchard, a professional orchardist will collaborate closely with Los Altos History Museum’s Orchard Commons Committee. Their expertise and guidance will be instrumental in restoring the orchard’s vitality and enhancing its natural beauty, creating an engaging and enjoyable experience for visitors.


“Our guiding principles will include conserving water, building soil fertility, and inviting pollinators. We are learning from other heritage orchards in our region, while considering the unique qualities of this Historic Landmark in our Civic Center,” said Jane Packard, chair of the Museum’s Orchard Commons Committee.


The Association of the Los Altos Historical Museum has an impressive track record in managing cultural landmarks, having successfully operated the Museum and J. Gilbert Smith House since 2005, and received a preservation award in 2022 for renovating the historic Spagnoli Tank House. With this new contract, the Association will expand its responsibilities to include the care and maintenance of the Heritage Orchard, solidifying its role as a trusted custodian of Los Altos’ historical treasures.


This collaborative effort reflects the dedication of the Los Altos community to preserve its cultural heritage and foster a deep appreciation for the region’s agricultural history. “We look forward to a fruitful partnership between the Museum, the City, and the Los Altos City Council in revitalizing the Heritage Orchard,” said Packard.


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.


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