Our Mission

History inspires imagination, stimulates thought and transforms society. The Los Altos History Museum preserves and shares our local history to enrich our community and to shape a more informed future.

Our History

historyLocated 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.