In terms of topical approach, design, content, and overall execution within a restored historic building, it is the best county museum in California!

John HodgesPast-President, California Heritage Council
Child looking at Ships of the World exhibit at the San Mateo County History Museum

Supporting SMCHA

This year, your support is more important than ever. Because of COVID-19, the Historical Association’s sites have been closed to the public and have not been generating the usual income from earned revenue sources. Your support helps us provide online school programming, organize special online monthly educational programs for adults and children, publish our scholarly journal, care for 420,000 historic items in the collection, provide online access to items in the collection and more.


There has never been a more exciting time to be a member of the SMCHA! There is always something new to see… to do…to learn… to explore… so join today!

Membership in the San Mateo County Historical Association brings you the best family entertainment value for your money.

All Members Receive:

  • 12-month membership
  • Free admission to the museums
  • Subscription to monthly newsletter, Historical Happenings
  • Subscription to historical journal, La Peninsula
  • Preferred discount at Museum Store
  • Invitations to Member-Only events

Preserving the Past, Building the Future

Funds raised from the Annual Campaign account for 33% of our annual budget. Your support will help us further our mission of preserving the past and building the future by providing high quality education programming, exhibits, tours, and community events and outreach for over 60,000 adults, children and families each year.

For more information, visit our Annual Campaign page.

Dr. Stanger Legacy Society

Leave Your Legacy

Many of our supporters have included the Association in their wills or trusts. Their gifts, and yours should you choose to join them, strengthens the Association so that it can continue to excite and educate Bay Area residents through understanding, preserving and interpreting the history of San Mateo County. We are especially grateful to you for a gift through your will or trust, setting up a life income plan, or some other type of legacy gift. We’ll recognize your commitment by inviting you to join our Dr. Stanger Legacy Society. We recognize Society members in several ways:

  • You will receive invitations to annual Dr. Stanger Legacy Society events.
  • You will be acknowledged in publications including our annual report.

When you step forward, others are encouraged to do the same. You may choose to remain anonymous.

Legacy Gift Through Your Will or Trust

Your charitable bequest is the most important type of gift for building San Mateo County Historical Association’s future. When received, your bequest will be entered into its books and records as a gift to our endowment. It will be put to use serving the objectives and purposes of the Association.

There are several types of bequests for you to consider.

  • Percentage is most flexible because it allows your gift to appreciate in your will no matter what asset is used.
  • A specific bequest of an asset such as a retirement plan results in no income taxes paid on the plan by your estate.
  • Residual bequests are often made after remembering relatives and friends, and usually in combination with a percentage bequest.

When you place any of these types of bequest in your will or living trust and notify the Association, we will invite you to become a member of the Dr. Stanger Legacy Society. If you are considering a restriction we encourage dialogue now to ensure that your wishes are met.

Legacy Gifts

The vast majority of legacy gifts are made by bequest through a will or trust. You can also make a life income gift that provides you a steady stream of revenue, offers significant tax advantage, and ultimately benefits the Association.

Many different types of assets, in addition to cash, can be used to make a legacy gift. We encourage you to work with your professional advisors and our staff experts to help you determine which type of legacy gift is best for you.

There are many types of legacy gifts you can easily make without incurring the services of your professional advisor. All you need to do is fill out your provider’s paperwork for the following gifts: IRA or pension plan, life insurance, stocks and bonds, savings account, checking account or annuity.

Portrait of San Mateo County Historical Association founder, Dr Frank Stanger

Dr. Frank Stanger was the San Mateo County Historical Association’s first executive director. Among his accomplishments, he opened the organization’s first museum and started a scholarly journal.

Leadership Council

The purpose of the Leadership Council is to strengthen the public and education programs of the San Mateo County Historical Association (SMCHA) through corporate assistance and funding. The funding will insure that the SMCHA’s established goals are met.

  • Provide resources to sustain the overall activities of the SMCHA’s museums for its annual visitors.
  • Provide resources to continue to deliver the educational programs of the SMCHA.
  • Provide resources to continue to preserve and safeguard the SMCHA’s buildings and collections

To find out more about joining our Leadership Council, please call 650.299.0104 or email us.

Thank You to Our Leadership Council

Cotchett Pitre & McCarthy LLP logo

Joe Cotchett
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP

Bob Gordon
Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation

Franklin Templeton logo

Jenny Johnson
Franklin Templeton

Corporate Sponsors

As a business owner in San Mateo County, you have a financial interest in the future of our community. As a Corporate Member of the San Mateo County Historical Association (SMCHA), your company can enhance its community involvement and gain exciting opportunities for employee incentives and client entertainment. A host of benefits is available to recognize your support, including:

  • Reaching thousands of museum visitors as a sponsor of exhibits, events, or publications.
  • Complimentary memberships for employees.
  • Company archiving services and exhibit creation.
  • Private Museum tours.
  • Corporate entertaining opportunities in our unique space.

Your investment in the SMCHA is a commitment to San Mateo County for future generations.

Revenue from the Corporate Sponsorship Program is used by the SMCHA for annual operating support, and contributions are directed where the need is greatest. The SMCHA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

To find out more about becoming a Corporate Sponsor,  please call 650.299.0104 or email us.


In the last year, volunteers contributed over 13,000 hours of service to the San Mateo County Historical Association in a variety of important areas. As the Association continues to grow, there are increasing numbers of volunteer jobs available. Please consider one of our opportunities.

For more information, call 650.299.0104 or email us.


Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer docent at the San Mateo County History Museum with a student holding a craft

History Museum

Docents are needed to lead thematic student programs, usually for students in the third through fourth grades. Docents oversee an exploration of the exhibits and lead hands-on activities. Docents give general tours for adults’ and kids’ tours.

Shifts available:

Tuesday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. & 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Two volunteers at the Woodside Store weighing a box on an antique scale

Historic Sites

Docents assist the site manager with the school program.  On weekends, docents interpret the site for visitors.

Shifts available:

Sanchez Adobe:
Tuesday – Friday: 9:30 am. – 1:30 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday: 1 – 5 p.m.

Woodside Store:
Tuesday & Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Encore Books volunteer restacking a book

Encore Books on the Square

Encore Books on the Square, located at the History Museum, is operated completely by our volunteers. All proceeds support the activities of the Historical Association. Help is needed sorting, pricing, and selling books.

Shifts available:

Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.