History Museums in the South Bay

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Computer History Museum (Mountain View)

Experience one of the worlds largest collections of computing artifacts with 600 in total. Also learn the basics of designing computer chess software and learn about the innovators of computing technology in Silicon Valley including Adobe, Apple, Cisco, HP, Intel and Sun Microsystems.

de Saisset (Santa Clara)

The museum hosts a collection of historical objects that document pre- and post-mission history in Santa Clara Valley.

Intel Museum (Santa Clara)

The Intel Museum in Santa Clara, California celebrates 40 years of Intel silicon technology history and innovation through more than 30 interactive exhibits, educational programs, docent led tours, and family fun. The museum is 10,000 square feet of interactive learning located within Intel Corporations headquarters in Santa Clara.

Iron Man Museum (Sunnyvale)

This museum offers exhibits related to the history of the Joshua Hendy Iron Works plant that was founded in 1856 in San Francisco and relocated to Sunnyvale after the 1906 earthquake.  The plant supported gold mining, development of the California water distribution system and the Panama Canal and supported World War I and II by building ship engines.  In the mid 1900's the plant focused on electric utilities, optical and radio telescopes and the nuclear engine for rocket vehicle for manned mission to Mars.  Now the plant is a government supplier of generators, propulsion units and missile systems for submarines and aircraft carriers.

Japanese American Museum (San Jose)

The Japanese American Museum of San Jose preserves and disseminates the culture and history of Japanese Americans, with a special focus on the Santa Clara Valley. It holds historical photographs, private memoirs and other unpublished documents from World War II.

Jehning Family Lock Museum of Mountain View (Mountain View)
The Ames Building was built in 1903 and is thought to be the second oldest building on Mountain Views Castro Street. This is the home of the Museum that houses an extensive collection of antique locks, keys, and locksmithing paraphernalia with almost 1,000 locks and 5,000 keys from around the world, more than 20 safes and hundreds of keyrings. The collection grows and exhibits change as the Jehning family purchase new items.
Los Altos History Museum (Los Altos)

The mission of the Los Altos History Museum is to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of the Los Altos area. The museum is a unique three level architecture and is surrounded by a garden. They have a permanent collection called Crown of the Peninsula that describes the rich history of Los Altos. They also have changing and interactive exhibits.  At the same site, there is the J. Gilbert Smith House that was built in 1905.  Visitors are welcome to enjoy the gardens and picnic tables even when the House and Museum are closed.

Los Gatos Library (Los Gatos)

The library and history museum project is a collaboration between the public library and the Los Gatos History Museum.  Exhibits and collections include photographs, maps, letters, scrapbooks, audio and video recordings, and other cultural materials of historic interest contributed by families and organizations.

Museum of American Heritage (Palo Alto)
Permanent exhibits include early 20th century collections, general store, print shop, radio repair shop and historic gardens.
New Almaden Quicksilver Mining Museum (San Jose)

Learn about the history of the New Almaden Mines including the cultural diversity of the people living in the mining  communities, technologies used to extract liquid mercury from cinnabar ore and the different uses of mercury.  Exhibits allow you to experience what it was like to work in a mine, and how New Almaden participated in California’s Gold Rush.  Next door, view Casa Grande’s antique-furnished parlor to see what is was like for wealthy folk in the 1800s. There is also a self-guided walking tour through the small town of New Almaden that includes visiting other historical sites such as the Mine Supervisor’s House, St. Anthony’s Church and the Hacienda Cemetery.

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum (San Jose)

The museum houses the largest collection of artifacts on the west coast including a replica of an egyptian tomb, exhibits about daily life and trade, kinship and religion and shrines. There is a free parking lot, located on the corner of Naglee and Chapman (one block east of the Museum).

The History Museum of Los Gatos (Los Gatos)

The museum promotes the understanding of the regions rich local history including stories from the gold rush, showcase of clothes worn, the legacy of the South Pacific Coast and Southern Pacific Railroads and the interurban trolleys, and the historic James Alexander Forbes Santa Rosa flour mill. Tours are available. There is convenient parking.