August 17, 2016


PAHM Presents The Wave Event - Presentation and Discussion

February 23, 2017

The Wave: Palo Alto’s 1967 Experiment in Fascism Film

Conversation and Reception Wednesday, March 22, 2017 – 7pm

Cubberley Theatre, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

Please join us for a special screening of “The Lesson Plan” – a world-renowned documentary never before shown in Palo Alto.

April, 1967: Innovative Cubberley High School teacher Ron Jones seeks to teach his students how people could accept the actions of the Nazi regime during WWII by creating “The Third Wave,” a series of exercises modeled on certain characteristics of the Nazi movement. The experiment is successful – too much so.

“It is the ultimate classroom mind-game. A charismatic teacher suddenly introduces strict discipline into his lessons and, far from rebelling, the students embrace it with gusto. Within a week, they have devised a uniform, insignia, salute and banners, and eagerly spy on and intimidate schoolmates.” – Sheila Johnston, The Telegraph (UK) – 9.5.2008

“Both the Third Wave and Jones are known everywhere but in the United States and especially here in the Bay Area, where the experiment took place.” – Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle – 1.30.2010

Producers (and former students) Mark Hancock and Philip Neel will join their former teacher (Jones) for a postfilm conversation. The public is invited to a reception following the program. Free. Space is limited. RSVP here:

Caution: some material may not be suitable for young children; parents are encouraged to accompany their children.

February 02, 2017

See the video of The Historic Roth Building: From the Palo Alto Medical Clinic to the Palo Alto History Museum. Watch now.

January 25, 2017

New Palo Alto History Museum Announces 2017 Programs

Palo Alto, CA – The Palo Alto History Museum invites the public to three programs touching on the history of innovation in Palo Alto – in health, tech, and education. Scheduled from January through March 2017, they are free and open to the public.

“We’re taking the museum inside out,” says president Rich Green. Each program explores the innovative spirit of Palo Alto, with stories from the 1930s through the 1960s… and amazingly relevant today. Friday, January 13 is the first program, 5-7pm at Palo Alto Medical Foundation. The building PAMF started in will house the new Museum, set to open in 2018–in time for the city’s sesquicentennial.

The Historic Roth Building: From the Palo Alto Medical Clinic to the Palo Alto History Museum

Explore the history of medicine in Palo Alto as practiced at the visionary Palo Alto Medical Clinic. Drs. Tony Marzoni & Ben Maser will speak on the transformation of PAMC into today’s peninsula-wide PAMF, followed by Myron Freedman, Executive Director of the Palo Alto History Museum who will share our vision for the new Museum. With your support, the original 1932 Birge Clark-designed building will house our community’s first history museum, opening in 2018.

It was 1930. “When the Palo Alto Medical Clinic (PAMC) – the oldest of the three historic physician groups affiliated with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) – formed, the idea of doctors working together was so revolutionary that some thought it to be anticompetitive–even communist. PAMC was not only one of the first physician groups in the country, but also one of the first in the region to offer a specialist in obstetrics and surgery, and a pediatrician who also happened to be one of Palo Alto’s first female physicians.” (

“As Palo Alto and Stanford University grew, so did PAMC. The group soon developed a synergistic relationship with Stanford, helping to teach its medical students and recruiting many of its new physicians from among the Stanford -more- New Palo Alto History Museum Announces 2017 Programs Page 2 graduates. PAMC also played a key role in bringing Stanford Medical School, originally located in San Francisco, to Palo Alto in 1960.

“By the 1970s, however, factors such as the growth of managed care and the rising cost for incoming doctors to buy into the partnership were threatening PAMC’s future well-being. To solve the problem, the for-profit physician group decided to create a not-for-profit foundation that would control its operations and assets. In 1981, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation was formed and a period of dynamic change began, including the opening of a second clinic, the Fremont Center, in 1984 and the addition of an outpatient surgery center in 1986.

“In 1993, PAMF became a Sutter Health affiliate and continued to grow. Work soon began on a new medical campus, and in 1999, the 305,000-square-foot PAMF Palo Alto Center opened to patients. On the eve of the physician group merger, PAMC had grown to include more than 380 doctors caring for patients at 15 locations…” including Castro Valley, Dublin, Fremont, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos and Sunnyvale.

Refreshments will be served. Space is limited. This free educational program is presented by the Palo Alto History Museum in conjunction with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.


Date and Location TBD

The Garage: From Humble Beginnings to Global Impact

The humble one-car garage at 367 Addison Avenue known world-wide as the “Birthplace of Silicon Valley” belongs to the 1905 home of Palo Alto’s first mayor, Dr. John Spencer, and his family. After his death, it was divided into two separate apartments with Mrs. Spencer living in the second floor apartment. In 1938, newly married Dave and Lucile Packard moved into the first floor, three-room apartment, with Dave’s bachelor business partner Bill Hewlett sleeping in the shed.

Encouraged by Stanford engineering professor, Frederick Terman, Hewlett and Packard formed their partnership with $538 in capital. A coin toss determined the company name. Their first product, built in the garage, was the HP200A. Early customer Walt Disney Studios purchased eight of the audio oscillators to test and certify the sound systems in theaters that were going to run the first major film released in stereophonic sound, Fantasia. The rest, as they say, is history. The HP Garage is now a private museum noted as the place where Hewlett-Packard (HP) was founded.


Date and Location TBD

“Lesson Plan: the Story of the Third Wave – a Daring Social Experiment in Palo Alto”

Fascism in Palo Alto? It happened here, 50 years ago this April. Join the filmmakers, one of whom was a student in the class as they discuss this film, in its first screening in Palo Alto.

Cubberley High School, 1967. Seeking a meaningful way to teach his history students how the German people could accept the actions of the Nazi regime during WWII, teacher Ron Jones created “The Third Wave.” It was an experimental social movement created to demonstrate the appeal of fascism, and aimed at eliminating democracy, with its emphasis on individuality. This was emphasized in the fake movement’s motto: “Strength through discipline, strength through community, strength through action, strength through pride.” New Palo Alto History Museum Announces 2017 Programs Page 3 Over the course of five days, Jones conducted a series of exercises in his classroom emphasizing discipline and community, intended to model certain characteristics of the Nazi movement. Going viral, the movement quickly grew outside his classroom.

Seeing that it had spiraled out of control, Jones convinced the students to attend a rally where he claimed the announcement of a Third Wave presidential candidate would be televised. Upon their arrival, the students were presented with a blank channel. Jones told his students that the true nature of the movement was an experiment in fascism, and presented them with a short film discussing the actions of Nazi Germany.

A conversation following the showing will explore these themes, then and now.

Innovation has been Palo Alto’s mantra from its very start. Join us for these unique programs that explore and celebrate our cutting-edge history and its continuing impact today, from health to tech to education. Each is free and open to the public. For details, sign up for email notices at

November 21, 2016

New Palo Alto History Museum announces campaign progress, building improvements

With a projected 2018 opening date, the board of the Palo Alto History Museum gathered supporters and community leaders on November 17 at the historic MacArthur Park to share progress on the project. Guests enjoyed a glimpse of a few of the hundreds of artifacts awaiting their new home, admired renderings depicting exhibitions of Palo Alto and Stanford stories, and reviewed updated plans for the new Museum. “A city this vibrant deserves a great museum,” said Steve Player, board member and the evening’s master of ceremonies, setting the tone for a stimulating evening.

The new Museum will be located in the historic Roth Building at 300 Homer, designed by renowned local architect Birge Clark. It was the birthplace of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation; supporters include PAMF and many of their “alumni” as well as the Clark family and friends. With PAMF in new quarters, their former downtown property has been redeveloped to include high density housing, a large green space perfect for outdoor programs, a children’s play park, and—soon—the Palo Alto History Museum.

“It will be a great place to gather people to celebrate our diverse heritage and share community,” adds board member Katie Seedman. “Palo Alto could use a peaceful, educational space like this where people can come together and see how every individual, whether here for generations or recently arrived, contributes to making this a special place.”

In addition to history museum essentials—archives, collections and exhibitions—the new Palo Alto History Museum will include community gathering spaces, from a salon-type gallery conducive to meeting friends to an Education Resource Room to a Community Room which will be available to local groups for programs and activities. Plus, a small café will provide refreshments. Special programs, inside and outside the museum, will be held throughout the year on history topics, issue forums, interactive educational fairs, as well as art, cultural and music events.

The Palo Alto Historic Resources Board and the Architectural Review Board both gave unanimous approval to revisions to architectural plans for the Roth Building. PAHM has contracted with Vance Brown, Inc. to rehabilitate the building and they have begun shepherding the project through the building permit process. “We are keeping much of the historic character of the building, including Dr. Esther Clark’s office, while allowing it to house state of the art exhibitions,” says PAHM Executive Director Myron Freedman. “The Museum experience,” adds Freedman, “will engage the visitor in stories of Palo Alto and Stanford as creative, forward-thinking communities that have changed the world and inspired the future.”

The largest gallery, Ely Heritage Hall, will be devoted to introducing the story of Palo Alto and Stanford. One entire wall will incorporate an interactive video installation where visitors can select from several thematic areas to watch short programs on key people, stories, and accomplishments that are part of Palo Alto’s history: the birth of Silicon Valley, tech innovations and Palo Alto’s global brand; a city and a university, excellence in education; the birth of the (Grateful) Dead and other cultural highlights.

The Museum’s east wing, which will include the Fazzino, Clark and Libby galleries, will continue to look into our community’s past, beginning with an amazing key artifact: a preserved wall section constructed in the 1840s from the now-demolished Juana Briones house. Utilizing its collections as well as the Palo Alto Historical Association (PAHA) archival collection, visitors will begin an in-depth journey encountering stories relevant to our community today: how it grew, town and gown, the focus on schools, caring for people, the successes of business and industry, political issues, social bonds, preserving the environment and the contributions of remarkable people and their many innovations.

“Special interactive exhibits will allow visitors to connect more deeply with the stories and to access archival images and videos,” adds Freedman, “such as the Bill Miller Archive featuring his show ‘Conversation Piece,’ a remarkable record of dozens of Palo Altans sharing their thoughts on our community.”

Repeat visits to the museum will feature something new to see. Two galleries will offer changing exhibits throughout the year, including in-depth stories on topics such as the Mayfield story, remarkable women of Palo Alto, parks and wild spaces, creation and impact of design thinking and the, etc. Exhibits like these will often be produced in partnership with other community groups and organizations, including cultural and art exhibits. PAHM will also be a stop for traveling exhibits of interest to the community, like those from SITES, the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition program.

“The capital campaign is going well,” says board president Rich Green. “We’ve raised nearly $9 million since the project inception in donations, pledges, TDR and city funds,” says Green. “We’re getting close to the point where we can break ground. Our plans are approved, so it’s time to close that gap and start building!”

The Palo Alto History Museum is expected to open in 2018; construction may start next year. The first stage of fundraising—to rehabilitate the historic Roth Building—is well underway thanks to support from key community members. The next goals will complete development of the building as a state-of-the-art Museum, and provide operating funds to ensure a successful start. Naming opportunities are still available. Add your name to the list of founding supporters today!

October 20, 2016

Palo Alto History Museum Welcomes Seasoned Museum Professional

Palo Alto, CA – The Palo Alto History Museum is excited to announce the addition of its new Director of Development, Laura Bajuk. “We’re delighted to welcome Laura Bajuk to the team,” says board president Rich Green. “She brings over 20 years of invaluable museum and nonprofit management experience and will be instrumental to growing our development efforts.”

Laura Bajuk is a Palo Alto resident and a fourth-generation Californian. She is active in the Association of Fundraising Professionals Silicon Valley, and serves as a board member of Silicon Valley Planned Giving Council. Under her leadership as Executive Director of the Los Altos History Museum, Laura saw its net worth double, membership and staff grow, and its reach successfully expand into the community, growing audience and expanding fiscal support. PAHM Executive Director Myron Freedman adds, “Laura understands that a city as vibrant at Palo Alto deserves a great history museum and we are excited to work together to bring this into being. Laura’s knowledge of the Silicon Valley community and her deep knowledge of its history make her uniquely suited to the Palo Alto History Museum project. ”

The Palo Alto History Museum is expected to open in 2018. Fundraising to convert the historic Roth Building into the new museum is in full swing. Add your name to the list of ground-floor supporters today–at

January 25, 2014

Stanford Founder, David Kelly, Keynotes Design Thinking Workshop for PAHM and PAHA Boards

On January 25, 2014, Palo Alto History Museum director, Stanford professor and founding faculty member, Professor Michael Shanks, led an exciting design retreat to explore new ways of unleashing the potential for a history museum in Palo Alto. Inspired by the rigors of “design thinking,” it was a day of deep understanding, empathy and possibility.

The design retreat took place at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, aka the, and was attended by a diverse group of stakeholders including Palo Alto History Museum and Palo Alto Historical Association directors, and members of the Stanford Historical Society, the Palo Alto Libraries and faculty from the Palo Alto school district along with former mayors and city council members. All share a fundamental belief in Palo Alto’s rich heritage of innovation and global impact. The day started with an insightful keynote by David Kelley, founder of both the and IDEO in Palo Alto.

What did we learn? Plenty! By experiencing empathy for all who might benefit from a new kind of history museum, we uncovered and explored numerous Points of View and how to anticipate the needs and aspirations of future Palo Alto History Museum participants of all ages and descriptions. From history researchers who delve into the city archives to new residents launching the career of their dreams, the process illuminated exciting paths toward a participatory museum capable of engaging many generations of history lovers and future thinkers.

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History Program: The Garage: From Humble Beginnings to Global Impact

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