Adjusting to a New Job During a Pandemic

On February 13, 2020, I started my first day as Office Administrator of the Los Altos History Museum. When I arrived, I was greeted by Executive Director, Elisabeth Ward, who showed me to my workstation with a bounce in her step. Initially, I shared a desk with an office temp who was filling in until a permanent employee was hired.…
June 25, 2020
Struggling for rightsBlog

Confronting an Uncomfortable Legacy

Museums, especially cultural and historic museums, are fundamentally about identity. The Los Altos History Museum gathers and presents artifacts and stories about our community in order to build an understanding of who we are and the choices we have made during our lives. Right now, museums across the country are being challenged to examine the choices they make about how…
June 11, 2020

The Story of the Museum’s Apricot Tree

In January, the Los Altos History Museum’s Executive Director, Dr. Elisabeth Ward, envisioned a real live apricot tree growing next to the newly installed sign in the Museum's agricultural exhibit area. The sign tells the story of the Blenheim apricots in the nearby Los Altos Community Orchard, originally planted around 1905 by our Los Altos orchardist, J. Gilbert Smith. Fortunately…
May 13, 2020

A Museum without Walls?

At the foundation of every museum is a collection. Different types of museums are distinguished based on what it is they collect and preserve: art museums collect and preserve art, whereas natural history museums collect and preserve natural specimens. The Los Altos History Museum is a history museum, which means we collect things related to the history of our area.…
April 30, 2020
Foothill Intern, Karen Quero cataloguing notes for the historic photo collectionBlog

Cultivating the Next Generation of Arts & Humanities Leaders in Los Altos and Beyond 

The Los Altos History Museum proudly welcomes back Humanities Mellon Scholars Ananya Khanna, Zahira Trejo, and Karen Quero for their spring quarter internships this week. Beginning Monday, April 13th, Ananya will continue her internship under the mentorship of Diane Holcomb, Outreach Coordinator, in marketing and public relations, and Zahira and Karen in museum collections and research with Dianne Shen, Collections Strategist. Designed by the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District, the…
April 16, 2020

Write it Down: A Historian’s Plea During COVID-19

We are living in an extraordinary time. This feels like an understatement, given that in the space of just a few weeks, our lives have been turned completely upside down by the coronavirus. For many of us, adjusting to the new reality of a global pandemic has been a difficult process. In times of great stress and anxiety, one therapeutic…
April 1, 2020
You Are Not AloneBlog

How to Ease Fears in a Fearful World

These are challenging times. As humans, we’re meant to roam with our tribe, something our primitive brains seek to ensure, because there’s safety in numbers. Now, with the threat of COVID-19, the government is forbidding togetherness except with people in our immediate household. If you live alone, you may feel further isolated from human touch. Please know, you are not…
March 24, 2020

The Museum Awards Scholarships to Foothill College Interns

The Orchard Commons Committee helped inaugurate a new intern program on January 24, 2020 that links the Los Altos History Museum with Foothill College’s Environmental Horticulture & Design program. On January 24, 2020, the first team of three interns from this collaboration received a Scholarship Award in recognition for excellence in design during their fall internship. Viji Jagannathan, Sandra Morgans…
January 29, 2020

Tank House Makeover

As one of the last remaining water tank towers in Santa Clara County from the agricultural boom of the turn of the last century, the tank house at the Los Altos History Museum is a true historic treasure. The Museum has been working to take care of it since it was first moved to the grounds of the Museum in…
December 20, 2019

History House Book Club

Margaret Hill Smith grew up in a home full of books. Her father—a lawyer, newspaper editor, and historian—collected classic works of literature by Plutarch, Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, among others. The Hills’ library was vast and eclectic, and included books on topics ranging from the history of Mexico to evolutionary biology to the world’s most famous speeches. It’s easy to imagine…
December 6, 2019

Orchard Discovery Walk

Eager to discover the many species that benefit from the green space protected as our Heritage Apricot Orchard, a dozen folks joined me on a Saturday in April for the last in a series of guided orchard walks. They helped put the orchard on the map in the worldwide City Nature Challenge hosted by iNaturalist on this weekend following Earth…
August 12, 2019