History Museum looks to past and future in new exhibition about food

From foraging to farming, harvesting to canning, TV dinners to plant-based meat, the food people grow, prepare and eat has evolved over the years. How food impacts culture, shapes lives and affects the planet is the focus of Los Altos History Museum’s latest exhibition, “Silicon Valley Eats: A Taste for Innovation,” on display May 2 through Sept. 8.

“Silicon Valley is known for innovation in so many technological ways, but in this exhibition, we want to bring to light the innovations made here that changed the diet of people all around the world, and innovations made elsewhere that changed our diet,” said Amy Ellison, Ph.D., exhibition curator. “By touring the exhibition, visitors can relive some of their own experiences working in a cannery or picking fruit in the orchards, or remembering the kinds of food we ate in the ’50s, ’60s and other eras.”

Laid out in four sections, the exhibition will cover:

• “The Valley of Heart’s Delight,” showcasing the orchards, canneries and agricultural practices that make up the area’s heritage.

• “Conveniences in the Kitchen,” highlighting postwar changes and the turn toward more convenient ways of cooking, eating and storing food.

• “Diversity of Cuisine,” celebrating the community’s restaurants and variety of foods.

• “The Future of Food,” exploring today’s food movements and new food technologies under development.

The exhibition will feature stories of current residents who worked in the orchards and canneries as well as changemakers like Thomas Foon Chew, the son of a Chinese immigrant, who became one of the most successful cannery owners in the state due to the innovations he implemented.

A series of related programs is scheduled at the museum, unless otherwise noted, including:

• Opening reception with Mexican fusion food, 2-5 p.m. May 5

• Cannery pioneers talk with Robin Chapman and Gloria Hom, Ph.D., 7-8 p.m. May 9

• “Modern Mixology” demonstration featuring drinks from the future, 5-7 p.m. May 22

• Apricot STEM Fair with hands-on activities, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 30

• Kids cooking classes, 9:30-11:30 a.m. July 6, 13, 20 and 27

• Slow food cooking classes, 6-8 p.m. July 8, 16 and 24

• “Eating Your Values” panel discussion at the Los Altos main library, 7-8:30 p.m. Aug. 15

• “Food for the Future” panel discussion at the Los Altos main library, 7-8:30 p.m. Aug. 22

The Los Altos History Museum is located at 51 S. San Antonio Road. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is free.

For more information, call 948-9427, ext. 14, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

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