Community briefs: DAR essay contest, historic preservation awards

DAR names winners of essay contest

The Daughters of the American Revolution – which has a Los Altos branch – conducts an American History Essay Contest annually to encourage young students to think creatively about the nation’s history and absorb it in a new light.

The contest is open to fifth- through eighth-graders.

The topic of the latest contest was the Boston Massacre, as 2020 was the 250th anniversary of the event. Participating students had to imagine how they lived in Boston when the massacre happened, and what their family discussions would be like after the massacre occurred.

The winners of the essay contest: Mridula Rajagopalan, fifth-grader at Challenger, Strawberry Park; Arushi Shah, sixth-grader at Challenger, Berryessa;
Sowmya Sundar, seventh-grader at Challenger, Berryessa; and Christine Chang, eighth-grader at Central Middle School, San Carlos. Chang also won the contest for DAR District VI in California.

Winners received the DAR American History Bronze Medal and a winner’s certificate.

For more information on the contest and DAR membership, email Donna Santistevan at [email protected] or visit

Preservation Award nominations open

Nominations are open for the Los Altos Historic Preservation Award through noon April 22.

The award recognizes individuals, groups, organizations or projects that exemplify preservation in the city of Los Altos. The purpose of the award is to encourage public knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the city’s past, and foster civic and neighborhood pride and sense of identity. The award is a Mayor’s Proclamation presented to the recipient by the city council.

The Historical Commission will evaluate all nominations using the following criteria.

• Demonstration of pioneering or innovative efforts in historical preservation or education.

• Conformance with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Rehabilitation.

• Public benefit received (educational, beautification, advocacy, etc.).

• Impact to the city of Los Altos.

For a nomination form and more information, visit

Materials may be submitted to Sean Gallegos at [email protected] or sent to City Hall, 1 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos 94022.

Open Studios artists show work at library

Silicon Valley Open Studios artists are scheduled to present an exhibition of their work through the end April at the Los Altos main library, 13 S. San Antonio Road.
Library hours are limited amid the lockdown.

For hours and more information, call 941-8073 or visit

In past years, hundreds of Silicon Valley artists have opened their studios to the public the first three weekends in May, but the annual Open Studios event is delayed until October this year due to the pandemic. It has yet to be determined whether the event will be online or in person. An online art show is set for May.

For more information, visit

Theater Working Group seeks volunteers

Volunteers are needed for a New Theater Working Group that will explore the feasibility of building a new theater on city property in downtown Los Altos or on the civic center campus.

Vicki Reeder, board president of Los Altos Stage Company, is serving as chairperson of the group and seeks residents with various areas of expertise to join the effort.

Reeder hopes to convene the group by Zoom in early May. Two 90-minute meetings per month are proposed. Meetings are expected to be virtual until COVID restrictions are lifted and all residents have been vaccinated.

To express interest in joining the working group, email Reeder at [email protected] or through Los Altos Stage Company at

Museum hosts program on citizen science

The Los Altos History Museum is set to explore the movement of public participation in combating climate change in a Zoom program titled “What Is Citizen Science?” 5 p.m. April 22.

The free talk supports the museum’s latest exhibition, “Beauty and the Beast: California Wildflowers and Climate Change.”

Mary Ellen Hannibal, award-winning journalist and Bay Area author of “Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction,” will discuss the deep ties of citizen science within the tradition of natural history museums. She will review current ecological crises, local to global, and share ways to get involved.

According to Hannibal, citizen scientists are today “by far the most powerful source of information we have about biodiversity, enabling observation on the scales at which nature actually operates.”

In her book, Hannibal chronicles the origins of the citizen-science movement, tracing it back through centuries of amateur observations by writers and naturalists.

To register for the Zoom program and for more information, visit

Los Altos main library offers lobby service

The Santa Clara County Library District has reopened its lobby service, which includes expanded offerings – in addition to contactless curbside service – at the Los Altos libraries during specific hours Mondays through Saturdays.

The Los Altos main library offers lobby service, but the Woodland Branch does not. Hours are 3-7 p.m. (lobby) and 3-5 p.m. (curbside) Mondays and Tuesdays; and 1-5 p.m. (lobby) Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Visitors who enter district libraries must be COVID-19 symptom-free, wear a face covering and practice social distancing. Hand sanitizer is available to patrons as they enter and exit. Each library has self-service machines to check out items. Patrons must have their library card with them, or know their library card number and PIN, to use the self-check machines. Visitors are asked to keep their visit to 10 minutes to allow as many people as possible to safely use the lobby service.

Patrons may still arrange contactless curbside service, where a staff member will bring items out to a vehicle. Appointments can be made online or by calling (408) 540-3947.

Account or reference service will continue by phone, email or chat.

For more information on SCCLD services, visit

Friends of Library book sales back online

The Friends of the Los Altos Library launched a website in October and then had to temporarily shut it down for lack of access to the library. The site – – is now back online.

For residents who miss the Friends of the Library’s quarterly book sales, sidelined by the pandemic, the website offers the opportunity to replenish their bookshelves.

Patrons can view pictures of the books for sale online, pay for them by credit card and then pick up them up, just as they do for library holds.

The selection includes used books in 20 categories, all in good to very good condition, priced to sell. A large number of holiday books have been added to the listings, including some on St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Passover, holiday cookbooks and children’s holiday books.

All sales support the Los Altos main and Woodland Branch libraries.

For more information, visit

Museum reopens with exhibition on wildflowers

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

The museum has reopened its main gallery for the current exhibition, while the upper gallery featuring a train diorama and the J. Gilbert Smith House remain closed.
Self-guided tours of the exhibition 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 book an appointment, visit

For a list of programs accompanying the exhibition, visit

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