County history goes up online | July 23, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - July 23, 2014

County history goes up online

by Tiffany Lam

Visitors to the San Mateo County History Museum see only a small part of the museum's collections. Most of the items and archives are stored away until needed for exhibition or research.

Many of these "hidden" pieces can now be seen online.

Go to to see 500 pieces from the collections. More pieces will appear as the museum marshals resources toward the effort, said museum president Mitch Postel.

"It's becoming more and more professional among museums to allow people access to the contents of their collections," Mr. Postel said. "A lot of bigger museums like the Smithsonian and the California Historical Society are doing it."

The county history museum currently features exhibits on natural resources, suburban development, ethnic experience, and entrepreneurial achievement on the Peninsula, including 15,000 three-dimensional objects. The collections date back to the times of the Ohlone Indians.

The museum holds 200,000 archival items in its research library, including photographs, books, newspapers, manuscripts, memorabilia and government records.

"We have extensive collections, especially photographic collections, that we're trying to bring to the public to give a sense of what we've got," Mr. Postel said. "Only about 5 percent of our three-dimensional items, and an even smaller percentage of our archival items, are on display."

Collections posted online include photos of and information about: the San Mateo County Sports Hall of Fame, the Charles Parsons Model Ship collection, and a sampling of James Van Court's photographs of Redwood City in the 1890s.

The history museum is open every day except Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The research library is accessible Tuesday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.

Visit or call 299-0104 for more information.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields