Museum's historical essay contest launches, open to local students

The Los Altos Historical Commission and the Los Altos History Museum are accepting entries for the 36th annual Margaret Thompson Historical Essay Contest from local students in grades 3-6.

This year’s theme is “Peek into Your Past.”

Contest organizers offer a writing prompt: “A photograph can capture a moment in time and preserve it for future generations. Talk with your family about some of the photographs you have in your home. Ask about the various stories that are behind these photographs. Think about the family photos you have seen and select one old photograph of your parent, your grandparent or other family members from previous generations.

“Begin your essay by telling us about this person or persons and their relationship to you. Write about the story or stories you learned when choosing this photograph. Tell us why this photo is important to your family history. How are you similar to this person and how are you different? In conclusion, what is the most valuable information you learned from connecting with this photograph? As you write, use interesting vocabulary and communicate your ideas in a creative manner.” 

Essays should be no longer than 300 words and are due to students’ teachers by March 6. Students should attach a copy – not the original – of the photograph when submitting their essays.

Prizes are $50 for first place, $30 for second and $20 for third place. Three winners will be chosen per grade level.

An ice cream social is scheduled 6 p.m. May 12 on the History Museum patio at 51. S. San Antonio Road for all essay writers, their parents, teachers and principals.

Following the ice cream social, winners will be recognized at 7 p.m. at the Los Altos City Council meeting.

For more information, visit

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