Welcome to the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum

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MUSEUM (and Museum Store) HOURS:     Sundays/Tuesdays/Thursdays 12pm to 4pm
BECOME A MEMBER:   receive newsletters, store discounts and more.  CLICK HERE

Please check our MUSEUM CALENDAR frequently to find out about upcoming events.          Or click this FACEBOOK link below to Like us on Facebook.


October 14, 2019 – General Meeting, 7 PM

Oct2019-GeneralMeetingFlyer-BucksOur speaker will be Jamis MacNiven, owner of Buck’s Restaurant in Woodside, California. He will talk about his nearly three decades of witnessing the development of Silicon Valley firsthand.  Entrepreneurs have met, planned and discussed business in his eclectic eatery. Engaging with those guests has given Jamis pause to ponder, not only the growth of Silicon Valley, but the broader picture of California as a whole, and the risk-takers who arrived here through the centuries.  Jamis is an accomplished speaker, and his talks have been well received locally, around the country, and internationally, too.

Student Docent Program

Student Docent Program

Student Docent Program

The Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum announces the formation of a student docent volunteer program, a free opportunity for teens to fulfill volunteer service hours and enhance their college resumé in a fun and interactive way!

Following their training as shown here, participants will become museum docents, working 2-4 hours each month through the 2019-2020 school year, leading tours, interacting with visitors, and assisting with museum activities and programs.

The museum has received numerous requests for opportunities for high school students to participate at the museum, and this program is a result of those requests.

The Student Docent Program will provide real work experience, the students will explore local history and be involved with community outreach while working on building their public speaking, presentation and customer service skills. Volunteering will enrich their life experience.

Program details and an application can be obtained by emailing the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum.

Current Special Exhibit – Historic Downtown Sunnyvale

Murphy Street Scene

Murphy Street Scene
sculpture by John Battenberg
Orchard Heritage Park

A look at Sunnyvale from “Murphy’s Station” to the Fifties is called Historic Downtown Sunnyvale.

In the horse-and-buggy days of the 1860s settlement known at the time as Murphy’s Station, Main Street (now Murphy Avenue) was a dirt road leading to the railroad stop. the first store held windows for the post office, the drugstore, and the general store, respectively.

The museum’s new exhibit includes a series of photographs and maps depicting the slow growth and development of the early downtown, as well as artifacts from the first businesses lining Main Street and the railroad tracks. The display shows tools from the first veterinary office, the first morgue services, items from Del Monte’s cannery, Ryan’s Hotel, Tao Tao’s, the Kirkish store, and much more.

This exhibit opened June 30th and will run through October 20th.

Holiday Teas – December 7, 8, 13, 15, 2019

A formal, Victorian tea will please and delight all your senses. Come and enjoy assorted tea sandwiches and sweets complete with all the trimmings.  Space is limited, so you must reserve in advance. Call 408-749-0220 or come by the museum store when it is open (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, 12-4 pm) to reserve your space at a table.  Messages are checked twice a week.

Click Here for 2019 Holiday Tea Flyer


Museum’s proposed Lockheed / Blue Cube Exhibit and Sunnyvale Research Library

The mission of the Sunnyvale Historical Society is to preserve, teach, and protect items pertaining to the history of our community. The Museum is looking to expand in order to build a much-needed historical research library and create a permanent exhibit on the Blue Cube and Lockheed Missile programs – both important parts of Sunnyvale history as well as national history. Please contact the museum if you have mementos or stories to share.

The Sunnyvale Historical Society and Museum Association has taken into consideration how this project may temporarily impact Orchard Heritage Park. The Orchard, located next to the Heritage Park Museum, is respected as a valuable part of the community and Sunnyvale’s living history. Preserving the integrity and heritage of The Orchard Heritage Park, and maintaining the ten-acre site is important to The Sunnyvale Historical Society, so it can also be enjoyed by many generations to come. The 1600 sq. ft addition may impact 6 to 10 apricot trees, all of which will be replaced in other areas of the orchard. There will be no net loss of trees.

Entryway Construction Completed

Museum FrontA new, grand entrance has been created to welcome visitors to our museum building. Click Here to see the 2018 demolition and remodeling  photos.

Past 2019 Events

September 28, 2019 – Anniversary Celebration

Anniversary Celebration Logo

Anniversary Celebration Logo

Photos coming soon!

June 10, 2019 – General Meeting: California’s Historic El Camino Real Bells

Mission BellAfter the business section of the General Meeting, our guest speaker, John Kolstad, gave a talk on the history of El Camino Real, as well as the history of the bells, how the bells are made, and the fascinating story of how the California Bell Company (originally founded in the 1900s) was brought back to life. The plan had been to place one bell along each mile of the highway called El Camino Real, in front of each mission, and also at selected historical landmarks. By 1913, the goal of placing 450 bells was reached. One bell was placed in front of each mission and the balance were placed along the El Camino Real highway. Since then over 586 bells have been replaced on the 101 highway. The bell gracing the new entrance to the museum is dated 1906. It was originally placed on El Camino Real near Mary Avenue in Sunnyvale.

Kolstad is the owner of the California Bell Company. For more information go to www.saratogahistory.com or call 408-867-4311.

April 27-28, 2019 – Spring Victorian Teas

April 6, 2019 – Spring Garage Sale

February 11, 2019 – General Meeting

Winter 2019 Special Exhibit

Our upstairs rotating exhibit this winter was, Communications before TechnologyMuch of the technology being developed here in Silicon Valley is all about communication: instant, distributable to the masses, easy. But how did people wish one another a happy birthday or let their family know that they would be visiting soon fifty, a hundred, a hundred and fifty years ago? The museum’s new exhibit will answer those questions. You will see letters written by the Taaffe twins (Mattie and Molly, Elizabeth Yuba Murphy Taaffe’s daughters) and learn how postal worker Joe Stanich hung Sunnyvale’s outgoing mail pouch on a tall crane at Murphy’s Station, the pouch to be grabbed by someone on the passing train. You will be able to refresh your memories of a Walkman, typewriters, a calculator that is NOT part of your phone, IBM punch cards, and much more!

Give the Gift of Membership

Your membership to the Sunnyvale Historical Society and Museum Association helps to support our daily operations.  Members Benefits include, our members-only Newsletter, special invitations to members-only events, and a 10% discount on Museum Gift Shop purchases.  You can become a member online (below) or come into the museum Gift Shop.

Click image to the left for a full-color example newsletter issue that you receive every month as a society member.

Members can decide to receive this full-color PDF via e-mail instead of via US Mail.  If this is a Gift Membership, add the recipient info in the Add a special message Section when completing the transaction on PayPal.

Yearly Membership Option
Renewal Membership? (Please enter YES or NO)


Orchard Heritage Park

Winter day with back view of the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum, Feb 8, 2014

Winter day with back view of the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum, Feb 8, 2014

In 1994, the City of Sunnyvale preserved 10 acres of apricot trees to celebrate the important contribution of orchards to the early development of the local economy. The museum opened next to the orchard in 2008. Click the photo for views of our apricot orchard throughout the year .


In Memoriam

It is with great sorrow that we announce the
August 19, 2017 passing of Jeanine Stanek, the Sunnyvale Historical Society’s Chief Archivist. Her dedication to history, her positive attitude, and her endless energy was an inspiration to us all. She will be greatly missed. Click Here for the Museum Director’s memories of Jeanine.

Here is a photo from February 2014, of Jeanine receiving the 2013 Murphy Award for Lifetime Community Contribution.



Copyright © 2018 Sunnyvale Historical Society & Museum Association, Inc., All Rights Reserved 

13 thoughts on “Home

  1. H B

    I worked in the STC from Jan 1963 t0 Sept 1992. I was a Charter Member of the 6594th Aerospace Test Wing Training Team. I also taught Data Handling Equipment Maintenance Courses at both Hawaii and Kodiak Tracking Stations. I conducted over 250 classes and trained over 2500 personnel. I also worked as the Mission Director’s Technical Advisor on the GPS and DSP satellite programs. I conducted Orientation tours thru the Satellite Test Center and the Blue Cube. Our training office was the first office to open in the Blue Cube.

  2. Margarete M

    Thanks for your comment, Mr. B. I’ll add your name and email address to our list of people who have reached out to us for help in creating an exhibit on the Blue Cube.

  3. Donald Fair

    Hi, my name is Don Fair, I lived in Sunnyvale from April of 1967 until October 1968 after being recruited by Lockheed Missiles & Space Co. following graduations from DeVry Institute of Technology now DeVry University. I worked in the Lockheed manufacturing division worked on both the AGENA spacecraft, and POSEIDON SLBM programs. After departing Sunnyvale in October of 1968 for New Hampshire to continue work on the AGENA spacecraft for the 6594th Aerospace Test Wing as an Operations and Command Control Officer, From a remote satellite tracking station still maintaining contact with the “Blue Cube”. I supported over 127 combat missions associated with the CORONA, GAMBIT, HEXAGON, DSP, VELA and IDSP (USAF/NRO reconnaissance programs). I have many photos and stories of those programs dating back to the 1960’s and 70’s. I am also working with the Smithsonian Air and Space Museums in Washington, DC and often run bus trips to those museums as tour guide. I teach high school and college students about the early days of space exploration.

  4. Tony Kearns

    I was wondering what became of relic’s from Sunnyvale high , in particular , there was a board that had students names added to it at the end of school year , The board honored outstanding students for particular sports , if anyone knows where this board went , I’d appreciate help finding it’s location

  5. Ken S

    I worked at the Cube in Security from 1987 – 1990. I don’t really have much of any stories as even though I was inside every day all I got to see were the hallways as each MCC (Mission Control Center) was only open to the people that worked in it and unless you had a need to be in one, you wern’t. I’m guessing that the janitorial staff were the only ones that actually made it into multiple MCCs. Actually, many of the janitorial staff did the job part-time and worked elsewhere in the cube, as everybody needed a security clearance and it was easier for the janitorial company to hire a moonlighter vs. pay for the clearance for a new employee.

    One persistent rumor that I heard was the when you worked in an MCC that you had to sign a waiver that if you had a medical emergency that you were okay to rely on whatever aid your co-workers could provide you, until they could get you out of the MCC. This was due to the fact that Sunnyvale Fire did not have clearances and were not going to be allowed in.

    Finally, I have a Sunnyvale AFS badge that was given to me when our badges were changed out to Onizuka AFB. I know it’s not much, but let me know If you would like to have it for your collection, and I would be more than happy to send it to you.

  6. Margarete Minar

    Thanks so much for your comments, Ken. Your old badge would be most welcomed at the museum archive. I’ll have someone contact you to talk about it. Kind regards, Margarete

  7. Margarete Minar

    Hi Donald, Thank you for your comments. They are very much appreciated. I will keep your contact information and will email you if/when we have any questions, when we are ready to begin assembling our Blue Cube exhibit. Kind regards, Margarete

  8. Sarah Riley

    I have an antique 3D picture viewer from the early 1900’s with some pictures. It is in excellent condition. I would love for it to go to a good home. Is it something you would like to have?

  9. Margarete Minar

    Hello, Thanks for reaching out. Unless the pictures are of Sunnyvale or the San Francisco Bay Area, we wouldn’t have a purpose to archive it in our museum. However, 3D picture viewers are wonderful, and if you are interested in donating it to the Sunnyvale Historical Society as a charitable donation, we will save it to sell at our next “garage sale” in the fall. All funds directly support the museum, which is run entirely by volunteers. Bring any donations to the Museum Store, Tuesday, Thursday, or Sunday from noon to 4pm.

  10. jean salmon

    I want to buy a few blenheim apricots, but don’t know if the orchard sales are set up yet. I don’t live close by and don’t drive much but make an exception for the taste of a blenheim.

    Can you give me any information about whether the stand is set up yet or where I could find out?

    Thank you.


  11. Margarete Minar

    Hi Jean, The fruit stand is now open for business, at least for cherries.
    We don’t yet know if the Blenheims are available (it may be a little early for them).

  12. Dennis Coates

    Greetings. This is not orchard related however I do have some history with them. My real question is if you or anyone know of a photo of the old tank house that was about at 724 Mathilda ave.? It was on the property where a mushroom farm was. We lived in the little house under the tank about 1946? This would be about across the street from the old T&J Garage was. My father was a butcher for Purity stores down tow. Our favorite restaurant was the Tao Tao Café. Yum Yum. I may have a few pictures of Sunnyvale in those days as my father was an amateur photographer. I have one for sure of FDR touring Moffitt Field when the dirigible hanger was being built. My father took the photo when he was riding in an open top touring car that day.

  13. Margarete Minar

    Thanks for reaching out. I’ll forward your message and contact info to the museum director, and she will get back to you soon. –Margarete

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