The Museum

Murphy House Then and Now

The Historical Society tried to construct a museum several times in the past 40 years. In 2002, we were successful in creating an alliance with the City of Sunnyvale to anchor the project. The City donated the land at the Orchard Heritage Park and committed $500,000 in the form of a grant.

The museum was constructed to be a near replica of the Murphy family home. The Murphy family were among the original settlers in the Santa Clara Valley and pre-dated the Donner party. The original home was constructed in Maine, then taken apart and shipped around Cape Horn through San Francisco Bay and reconstructed in what is now Sunnyvale. Sunnyvale was originally called Murphy Station as the Murphy family donated land to extend the railroad and were awarded a train stop. Following a fire in 1961, the home was destroyed to make the right of way for what is now Central Expressway.

Original Project Scope:

  • Build a near replica of the original “Murphy Family Home” within the Orchard Heritage Park site.
  • Provide space for the Sunnyvale Historical Society’s children’s education program to accommodate 3000 students per year.
  • Display permanent and rotating exhibits for the public to see the evolution of the Sunnyvale area.

Ongoing Goals:

  • Preserve artifacts entrusted to the care of the Sunnyvale Historical Society.
  • Promote pride in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara Valley heritage through displays, newsletters, and participation in community events.
  • Educate people of all ages through docent led presentations for school children and adults, Scouts, and other members of various organizations visiting the museum.
  • Display exhibits at schools.
  • Hold community events.
  • Provide a unique historical presentation of local history to Museum visitors.
Museum Rendering during the design process

A sketch of the museum during the design process

Project Timeline:

  • September 2002:  Gained City Approval for Project
  • September 2002:  Retained Architect and Engineers
  • September 2002:  Initiated Fundraising
  • December 2002:  Gained Site Plan Approval
  • March 2003:  Completed Design
  • April 2003:  Relocated the Bianchi Barn
  • March 2006:  Achieved Funding
  • April 2007:  Started Construction
  • September 2008:  Project Dedication and Grand Opening

Thanks to everyone who contributed to make the dream of a museum in Sunnyvale possible.

The museum is open year-round:  Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursday from noon to 4pm.  Admission is FREE.

Copyright © 2014 Sunnyvale Historical Society & Museum Association, Inc., All Rights Reserved