Land of Opportunity

The Immigrant Experience in San Mateo County

In both 1880 and 2010, one-third of the county’s population was born in another country. Find out why people left their home countries and how they faced hardship and discrimination. Discover how groups of people made a place for themselves working in different industries. Experience how immigrants used music, food, and celebrations to remember their home countries. Together, the diverse people who have come to this area have made it one of the most culturally rich areas of the country.

Mural by Mona Carron.

Touching History

History comes alive through hands-on activities.

  • Record your own family's experience at the Immigration Stories kiosk.
  • Explore an immigrant's trunk.
  • Fold a Japanese origami balloon.
  • Smell Italian spices.
  • Discover your Chinese animal sign.
Immigrants

The exhibit focuses on the largest groups of immigrants who came to the county.
1850-1950
Chinese
Irish
Italian
Japanese
Portuguese
Post-1950
Filipino
Mexican