The San Mateo County History Museum, located on Redwood City's Courthouse Square, has a planned reopening date of March 24.
Tad Taube, a longtime resident of the area and keystone donor for the future Taube Family Carriage House, said he never knew the museum existed until a friend introduced him to the place several years ago.
"The first time I went inside, I was flabbergasted. I saw all these treasures -- stunning, remarkable," he said. "I think that happens to everyone who sets foot in there. It is such a treasure."
That this treasure has been somewhat under the radar might be due to the fact that it was actually hidden for many years. Although it has been the home of the San Mateo County Historical Association since 1998, it wasn’t until 2006, when several boxy office buildings that had surrounded the former San Mateo County Courthouse since the 1950s were demolished, that the structure was revealed.
Completed in 1910, the Courthouse was designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival architectural style and, despite being obscured for so many years, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. The stunning leaded glass dome is the largest of its kind on the West Coast. After the county center was moved to the current location on Marshall Street, the Courthouse became the new home of the San Mateo County History Museum.
An array of permanent and changing displays with interactive features invite visitors to explore the rich history of the area and follow the waves of development from the earliest human inhabitants to the rise of Silicon Valley. (Speaking of waves, the WaveRider feature at the Mavericks exhibit provides a virtual surfing experience for those who want to know what it’s like to ride -- or wipe out on -- a 40-foot wave.)
Until the physical museum is open again later this month, or for those not quite ready to venture out just yet, there are virtual tours, webinars and events online. More information is available at historysmc.org.
Contributing writer Maggie Mah can be emailed at [email protected]