Rancho Day set for Saturday at museum

The Los Altos History Museum has scheduled a free Rancho Day event, where families can experience some of the daily activities it took to run a ranch during the Mexican California period, noon to 3 p.m. Saturday on the museum’s grounds, 51 S. San Antonio Road.

Rancho Day supports the museum’s bilingual exhibition “Inspired by Juana: La Doña de la Frontera,” which runs through March 31.

The museum is partnering with Hidden Villa, the nature preserve and working farm in Los Altos Hills that raises sheep, goats, cows and pigs. Hidden Villa representatives will demonstrate sheep-shearing and provide corn so that children can grind it in an old-fashioned “metate” and then make tortillas to eat, according to Halimah Van Tuyl, co-curator of the exhibition.

Other activities will include demonstrations of saddle-making, roping, carding wool and handiwork done in the mid-1800s, during the lifetime of Briones. Children can mix adobe clay, straw and sand to learn how earth was used as a building material in Briones’ house, and make a muslin tea bag from herbs she would have grown.

Photos related to the rodeo tradition will be on display, and children will have the opportunity to listen to intergenerational stories from elders and participate in a scavenger hunt to find photos and artifacts in the exhibition that echo the activities shown in the museum’s courtyard.

“Participating helps bring history alive so that children and adults can feel and see what life might have been like during Juana’s life,” Van Tuyl said.

The museum seeks volunteers with experience as rodeo or horseback experts, or who can demonstrate embroidery, crocheting or weaving.

To volunteer and for more information, call 948-9427, ext. 14, or visit

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