Each spring, local 3rd and 4th grade students experience California history during the educational tours held in April for 3rd graders and in May for 4th graders. Tours are led by Education Committee members, and continue to receive rave reviews from participating teachers.
Each tour rotates students through a series of stations where they explore periods in our history.
Third graders visit three stations.
- New in 2022, a tour titled “Sports and More” takes place on the baseball diamond next to the Museum. Here students learn about the San Francisco Seals and the Oakland Oaks, precursors to the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s, who came to the Bay Area in the late 1950s. Students have the opportunity to play a game on the field.
- Third graders then enjoy a trip back in time in the J. Gilbert Smith House, where they see the furnishings of a farmhouse in the 1930’s, a child’s room and the toys of “olden days.”
- At the final station, students view colorful paintings by local artist Annie Knapp Fitz, and hear the stories behind each picture. Each student sketches an “Annie” picture and is able to take a bit of history back to their classroom.
Fourth grade students experience California history through four stations.
- A new tour titled “Sports and More” takes place on the baseball diamond next to the Museum. Here students learn about the San Francisco Seals and the Oakland Oaks, precursors to the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s, who came to the Bay Area in the late 1950s. Students have the opportunity to play a game on the field.
- In the Museum courtyard, students visit the Agricultural Exhibit to learn about two crops that were central to Los Altos in the early 1900’s—apricots and walnuts—and view vintage farm equipment and tools used to help harvest them.
- The third station takes students into the Los Altos City Council Chambers. Students re-enact an actual 1953 City Council meeting that focused on one agenda item, Ordinance #33. Budding thespians take on the roles of City Council members, City staff, and the audience that attended that meeting in 1953.
- In the last station, students experience Southern California through the “Los Angeles Story: Take Me to the Movies.” Here they learn how the LA basin changed from oil production to orange groves to the entertainment industry. Film clips of old movies, including Abbott and Costello, make for a perfect ending to the tour.