Museum reopens with exhibition on wildflowers and climate change

The Los Altos History Museum debuted “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change” last week, a traveling exhibition that runs through July 11. The display marks the reopening of the museum’s indoor gallery at its new reduced hours – noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The museum opened briefly last summer but closed in November when Santa Clara County returned to the purple tier in its COVID-19 framework. Now, with the go-ahead from the county, the museum reopened its main gallery for the current exhibition, while the upper gallery featuring a train diorama and the J. Gilbert Smith House remain closed.

“Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change,” an exhibition by award-winning photographers Rob Badger and Nita Winter, originated at the San Francisco Public Library and is visiting museums. For more than 20 years, the photographers have worked to capture California’s vanishing wildflowers, bringing awareness to the beauty of the Golden State as well as to the dangers facing its natural habitats from climate change. All geographic regions of California are highlighted, from the high alpine “rock gardens” above 11,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Death Valley National Park’s below-sea-level environment.

“Even in the midst of a pandemic, we realize that the even greater threat of climate change must not be forgotten,” said Amy Ellison, exhibition curator. “These spectacular photographs of California wildflowers are an urgent call to action, and we hope the exhibition inspires visitors to help protect our beautiful planet.”

In a related Zoom program titled “A 27-Year Wildflower Journey,” Badger and Winter will present a behind-the-scenes view of the making of their book and the exhibition 5-6:30 p.m. March 18.

Self-guided tours for small groups are available by appointment noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.

The Los Altos History Museum is located at 51 S. San Antonio Road. To schedule an appointment, visit
 For a list of programs accompanying the exhibition, visit

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