Museum of American Heritage
Opened in 1990, the Museum of American Heritage is dedicated to displaying and teaching about the innovation and technological advancements made in America from 1750-1950. It focuses on inventions and technology that helped shaped America and in tracing the evolution of that technology and how it has influenced American society. It utilizes over 5,000 historical artifacts, from kitchen appliances to printing presses, in permanent and rotating exhibits to tell this story.
Backstory and Context
Founded by Frank Livermore, who died in 2000, the museum began with his purchase of a Standard vacuum sweeper from a flea market in the early 1970s. From there, Mr. Livermore continued to add to his collection of vintage equipment, tools, and mechanical items until a friend suggested that he open a museum. Livermore acquired the use of the historic 1907 home of Dr. Thomas Williams in 1997. The museum then renovated the home and gardens which permitted the display of additional museum artifacts.
The permanent exhibits of the museum are: the Early 20th Century Kitchen, the 1920s General Store, an operating 1920s-1930s printing press, the 1920s Marshall Mathews Car Garage and the Ruth Bell Lane Memorial Garden. Contained within these exhibits are a 1915 Model T touring car and a replica World War II Victory Garden, among many other items.
The museum offers lectures, classes, workshops and other special events. It also offers science “samplers” for school aged children, to include printing, puzzle, and electrical “samplers,” or workshops. Annually, the museum presents its Vintage Vehicle and Family Festival and its “Living LEGO-CY” show, a popular display of Lego structures, from trains, to Bay Area landmarks to castles. Finally, admission to the museum is free, but donations are accepted and greatly appreciated.