The Los Altos History Museum gathers and presents compelling stories and artifacts that bridge the past and the present by fostering the creative energy of staff and volunteers to challenge established narratives and produce engaging educational programs and exhibits for the community.
We uphold the values that represent the best characteristics of the culture of northern Santa Clara Valley both historically and today.
Innovation – We believe in the creative power of people and we strive to surprise and delight with our exhibits and programming.
Diversity – We recognize that California has always had a diverse ethnic and social make-up, and we celebrate that.
Integrity – We hold ourselves to high standards and conduct honest and accurate research.
Located in one of the few remaining apricot orchards of Santa Clara Valley, the Los Altos History Museum explores the rich history of local people and how the use of the land over time has transformed the agricultural paradise once known as the “Valley of Heart’s Delight” into the high technology hub of today’s Silicon Valley.
Opened in spring of 2001, the Los Altos History Museum resides in an impressive three-level, 8,200-square-foot building – built entirely with private donations; building ownership was transferred to the City of Los Altos in 2002. The Museum features a changing exhibits gallery as well as the permanent exhibit, “Crown of the Peninsula,” that describes the rich history of Los Altos and the surrounding area. There’s more history just across the lushly landscaped courtyard in the landmark J. Gilbert Smith House. Built in 1905, the home is nestled under majestic heritage oaks and has been meticulously refurbished to replicate a farmhouse of the 1930’s. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the gardens and picnic tables even when the House and Museum are closed.
Aligned with the mission to preserve and share our local history to enrich our community and shape a more informed future, the Museum provides educational opportunities for children and adults to learn about the community via interactive exhibits and hands-on activities. Other programs include third and fourth grade tours and curriculum for local school children, oral history collections, the traveling Ohlone kit, and much more.