This 8,200 square-foot, three-level museum opened in September 2001 and features the history of the Los Altos area,…More going from the Ohlone Indians to the high-tech era.
The permanent exhibit is "Crown of the Peninsula," but the museum also features a changing exhibits gallery and oral history collection. The museum hosts third and fourth grade students from area schools each year.
The museum is adjacent to the J. Gilbert Smith House, a 1905 Craftsman-style farm house that was part of the apricot orchard property that the city purchased for its civic center in 1954. Mrs. Gilbert lived in the home until her death in 1973, and the City Council created the Historical Commission to transform the house into a museum. It became the Los Altos History House in December 1977. Visitors can see the orchard house as it might have been during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The modern museum, with its soaring ceilings and expansive brick patio and arbor, is a popular place for weddings and other celebrations.
The Los Altos Community Foundation was formed in 1991 to the promote community-building of Los Altos and Los…More Altos Hills.
Since then, it has been a strong force behind many of the city's institutions, including the Bus Barn Theater, Los Altos History Museum, Leadership Education and Advancement Program and the Community Scholars program for Mountain View Los Altos students who are the first in the family to attend college.
As a community foundation, it makes grants that broadly strengthen the community and it provides fund management for others. It operates four grant programs and supports its own programs, for students development, teaching philanthropy and providing mediation. Mindful of the changing demographics, it has the Aging in Place committee, which researches and disseminates information on services that may allow Los Altans to stay in their homes longer.
It has also played a leading role in convening and facilitating discussions of community-wide interest, such as the closing of Bullis School and issues of mutual interest between Mountain View and Los Altos.
It owns and operates out of the Richard Neutra House, where the 28-member board of directors meet on the third Wednesday of the month, at 181 Hillview Avenue, as well as the Los Altos Community House.
The hub of Los Altos recreation is found on this six-acre site, where a whirl of classes takes place, including art,…More dance, music and cooking.
The administrative offices of the Los Altos Recreation Department are housed here, along with the Los Altos Senior Center, Gilbert Smith House, Bus Barn Theater and the Los Altos History Museum. The site also hosts a social hall, meeting space and conference room. The private, non-profit preschool, Children's Corner, can also be found here, as can the League of Women Voters.
The outdoor athletic facilities include a Little League baseball diamond, bocce ball court and a soccer field. Small children will enjoy the train-themed "Whistlestop" playground. These facilities and athletic fields are available for rent for weddings, sporting events or celebrations.
As part of the larger civic center, the Hillview center is adjacent to Los Altos City Hall, the main library, Los Altos Youth Center and the Police Department. One can easily navigate between buildings via walkways and connected parking lots. There is ample free parking in the lot on Hillview Avene, as well as on the street.