San Mateo History Museum - One of the main places to explore in Redwood City, CA



While this was my 3rd visit to Redwood City, this was first time I explored San Mateo History Museum which is right in middle of Redwood City Downtown. This post shares more about what to expect inside San Mateo History Museum, but let me say it upfront that I highly recommend to visit this museum and know about interesting history of San Mateo and the Bay Area. Along with details about the evolution of this region of the world, there are very interesting artifacts & audio-visual presentations to know about the famous innovators of the valley.

While this was my 3rd visit to Redwood City, this was first time I explored San Mateo History Museum which is right in middle of Redwood City Downtown. This post shares more about what to expect inside San Mateo History Museum, but let me say it upfront that I highly recommend to visit this museum and know about interesting history of San Mateo and the Bay Area. Along with details about the evolution of this region of the world, there are very interesting artifacts & audio-visual presentations to know about the famous innovators of the valley. 


Above photograph shows the main lobby of San Mateo History Museum in Redwood City. If you are in some other city of San Francisco Bay area, the good news is that this museum is very close to Cal Train station of Redwood City. And the added advantage is that it's in Downtown so you can also plan to explore downtown and try some of the good places to have your meal.

Above photograph shows the main lobby of San Mateo History Museum in Redwood City. If you are in some other city of San Francisco Bay area, the good news is that this museum is very close to Cal Train station of Redwood City. And the added advantage is that it's in Downtown so you can also plan to explore downtown and try some of the good places to have your meal. 

Above photograph shows tile art-work which indicates The Great Seal of the State of California. California is one of the best states in USA and self-sufficient.

Above photograph shows tile art-work which indicates The Great Seal of the State of California. California is one of the best states in USA and self-sufficient. 

The San Mateo County History Museum is inside the former San Mateo County Courthouse which was built in 1910. Usually the Museum timings are from 10am till 4pm. Entry Ticket fee for  San Mateo History Museum is $6.

The San Mateo County History Museum is inside the former San Mateo County Courthouse which was built in 1910. Usually the Museum timings are from 10am till 4pm. Entry Ticket fee for  San Mateo History Museum is $6. 

The San Mateo History Museum showcases the rich history of San Mateo County and the surrounding area. The museum has 2 floors and the above photograph is clicked from First floor by pointing the camera towards second floor.


The San Mateo History Museum showcases the rich history of San Mateo County and the surrounding area. The museum has 2 floors and the above photograph is clicked from First floor by pointing the camera towards second floor. 

I loved seeing most of the artifacts preserved in this Museum. San Mateo History Museum also has a section of Archives, where historians and other interested groups come for research. I had a quick chat with the lady who managed this archive section and she happily shared lot of details about San Mateo, how scholars use these archives and about her passion to her folks by figuring out right archives on time. Many of these archives are donated and few folks still keep donating things which are related to the history of San Mateo County.

I loved seeing most of the artifacts preserved in this Museum. San Mateo History Museum also has a section of Archives, where historians and other interested groups come for research. I had a quick chat with the lady who managed this archive section and she happily shared lot of details about San Mateo, how scholars use these archives and about her passion to her folks by figuring out right archives on time. Many of these archives are donated and few folks still keep donating things which are related to the history of San Mateo County. 

The building San Mateo History Museum is a product of the City Beautiful Movement and has a stained-glass dome thought to be the largest of its kind on the West Coast.

The building San Mateo History Museum is a product of the City Beautiful Movement and has a stained-glass dome thought to be the largest of its kind on the West Coast. 

Two other museums are operated by the SMCHA including the Woodside Store and the Sánchez Adobe Park.

Two other museums are operated by the SMCHA including the Woodside Store and the Sánchez Adobe Park.

There are different sections in the museum. Journey to Work section in San Mateo History Museum is about Transportation.

There are different sections in the museum. Journey to Work section in San Mateo History Museum is about Transportation.  

Various steps of Growth tell the story of how transportation transformed San Mateo County from frontier to suburb.

Various steps of Growth tell the story of how transportation transformed San Mateo County from frontier to suburb.


Above photograph shows the main court-room which is located on second floor of the San Mateo History Museum.

Above photograph shows the main court-room which is located on second floor of the San Mateo History Museum. 

My favorite section was Innovators gallery on second floor. Apart from this exhibition, there is a video section with documentaries on some of the popular innovators of the county. It was super impressive. and can you take a guess about companies which were built by these innovators?

My favorite section was Innovators gallery on second floor. Apart from this exhibition, there is a video section with documentaries on some of the popular innovators of the county. It was super impressive. and can you take a guess about companies which were built by these innovators? 

There is one section with artifacts & photographs from World War-II.

There is one section with artifacts & photographs from World War-II. 

Nature's Bounty section of San Mateo History Museum explores how the early people of the Peninsula used natural resources to support daily life and how those resources were used to help build San Francisco.

Nature's Bounty section of San Mateo History Museum explores how the early people of the Peninsula used natural resources to support daily life and how those resources were used to help build San Francisco.

San Mateo County History Makers  section in San Mateo History Museum : This one is dedicated to Entrepreneurs who changed the World features local business minds who have invented, revolutionized and developed unique enterprises that have impacted the lives of people around the world.

San Mateo County History Makers  section in San Mateo History Museum : This one is dedicated to Entrepreneurs who changed the World features local business minds who have invented, revolutionized and developed unique enterprises that have impacted the lives of people around the world.

Living the California Dream section of San Mateo History Museum has an 'object theater' to showcase the evolution of the California Dream of suburban life using beautiful lighting effects, old artifacts and video projections. This is a wonderful section with great collection of artifacts from various decades of the history of Bay Area.

Living the California Dream section of San Mateo History Museum has an 'object theater' to showcase the evolution of the California Dream of suburban life using beautiful lighting effects, old artifacts and video projections. This is a wonderful section with great collection of artifacts from various decades of the history of Bay Area. 

I only had 2 hrs to spend at the Museum as I reached there at around 2pm and then I realized that I should have come early. There is so much in the museum to explore and I can certainly plan another visit to explore it well. Most of the my went into watching videos on different innovators of San Mateo County.

I only had 2 hrs to spend at the Museum as I reached there at around 2pm and then I realized that I should have come early. There is so much in the museum to explore and I can certainly plan another visit to explore it well. Most of the my went into watching videos on different innovators of San Mateo County. 


There is another section in San Mateo History Museum called 'Land of Opportunity'. It's about the Immigrant Experience in San Mateo County. An exploration of immigrants in the County, including arrivals, discrimination experiences, and maintaining previous cultural traditions.

There is another section in San Mateo History Museum called 'Land of Opportunity'. It's about the Immigrant Experience in San Mateo County. An exploration of immigrants in the County, including arrivals, discrimination experiences, and maintaining previous cultural traditions.

Maverick's features the history of the San Mateo County coast, the science of the 40' Maverick's wave, surfing videos, and a "waverider" where visitors can simulate surfing the waves of Maverick's. The section with simulator is fun. You can stand of a surfing board, adjust your movements and can see how your position has an impact on managing the waves on TV installed on the front. I tried 4 times and every time I failed to surf, which is not very surprising.

Maverick's features the history of the San Mateo County coast, the science of the 40' Maverick's wave, surfing videos, and a "waverider" where visitors can simulate surfing the waves of Maverick's. The section with simulator is fun. You can stand of a surfing board, adjust your movements and can see how your position has an impact on managing the waves on TV installed on the front. I tried 4 times and every time I failed to surf, which is not very surprising. 

Transportation section is in the first floor of the museum. Earlier I was wondering if Bay area evolved that much in the world of transporation or not, because I personally find very poor public transportation here. But that can't be the only criteria to think about transportation system of a region and how it evolved. This is certainly a very interesting portion of the museum.

Transportation section is in the first floor of the museum. Earlier I was wondering if Bay area evolved that much in the world of transporation or not, because I personally find very poor public transportation here. But that can't be the only criteria to think about transportation system of a region and how it evolved. This is certainly a very interesting portion of the museum. 

One of the sections of San Mateo History Museum has painted wall. Although I couldn't understand it completely as they looked incomplete. I am sure there must some literature about these paintings, which I couldn't find.

One of the sections of San Mateo History Museum has painted wall. Although I couldn't understand it completely as they looked incomplete. I am sure there must some literature about these paintings, which I couldn't find. 

Apart from San Mateo History Museum there is another museum which is across the freeway - Aviation Museum. I am yet to go there. One can easily go to the Aviation Museum from History Museum by car or Uber. It's few miles away from the Redwood City Downtown.

Apart from San Mateo History Museum there is another museum which is across the freeway - Aviation Museum. I am yet to go there. One can easily go to the Aviation Museum from History Museum by car or Uber. It's few miles away from the Redwood City Downtown. 

This whole building which houses some of the awesome artifacts from San Mateo county of Bay area is very colorful and vibrant. My Travellingcamera was very happy clicking photographs of different corners of San Mateo History Museum.

This whole building which houses some of the awesome artifacts from San Mateo county of Bay area is very colorful and vibrant. My Travellingcamera was very happy clicking photographs of different corners of San Mateo History Museum. 

I loved these colored roofs with perfect light on a sunny day at Redwood City. Month of September is pretty good to go out and explore these places in San Francisco Bay Area.

I loved these colored roofs with perfect light on a sunny day at Redwood City. Month of September is pretty good to go out and explore these places in San Francisco Bay Area. 

If you like hiking, there are plenty of places to hike and enjoy lovely weather of Bay area, especially during summers. It's highly recommended to keep a jacket with you, as it gets windy during evenings and at times during the day as well.    Hope this post gives you enough information about the San Mateo History Museum. So do plan and feel free to ask specific questions through comments section bewlow


If you like hiking, there are plenty of places to hike and enjoy lovely weather of Bay area, especially during summers. It's highly recommended to keep a jacket with you, as it gets windy during evenings and at times during the day as well. 

Hope this post gives you enough information about the 
San Mateo History Museum. So do plan and feel free to ask specific questions through comments section bewlow

If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling - Manage your waste well and don’t litter Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite.

If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -
  1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter
  2. Use dustbins. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
  3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
  4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
  5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite.

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