Helping Celebrate the Holidays with the San Jose Nutcracker!

This year, History San José partnered with the New Ballet School on their production of the San Jose Nutcracker. Our Curators assisted in providing historical and cultural information to transport this winter classic to the Valley of Heart’s Delight.

Images from HSJ’s collection were featured in the set design, and costumes for the first act were inspired by period dolls from HSJ’s collection. Our Curators put together a lovely pop-up exhibit in the Hammer Theatre featuring dolls and toys from History San José’s Collection.

I Want Candy! New Pop-up Exhibit at the Pacific Hotel

This holiday season come explore sweets and treats from San Jose’s past in a pop-up exhibit in the Pacific Hotel lobby at History Park.

The exhibit features vintage candy advertisements, candy packaging, tools of the trade and much more. Discover some of the candy manufacturers that called San Jose home and some fun candy facts.

The Candy pop-up exhibit is on display daily from 11:00am – 5:00pm through January in the Pacific Hotel Lobby at History Park.

Empire Firehouse Update

Work continues on History Park’s Empire Firehouse to transform it into a brand new interactive exhibit space. Recently several historic fire vehicles from the San Jose Fire Museum were moved into the space, including a Hand Drawn Chemical Fire Cart, c.1890, and a Hand Drawn Hose Cart, c.1880 – both restored by HSJ Volunteers.

Empire Firehouse mural

Work has just begun on installing large scale photo murals in the space. The one seen here features an image, c.1885, of a fire station formerly located on North Market Street with horse-drawn engines and firefighters standing in front. Stay tuned for more updates!

This IS San Jose Photography Exhibition

Presented by History San José, This IS San Jose is the culmination of a city-wide juried photography exhibition. Photographers of all skill levels were invited to submit images that showcase the richness and diversity that is San Jose. Traditional photographs were selected as well as images submitted on Instagram from community members. View the Instagram submissions.

Join us for the exhibit opening reception in the San Jose City Hall Rotunda, Thursday, October 27 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm. Admission is free! RSVP here. The exhibit will be on display through April 2017.

The Wireless Age Exhibit visits the Googleplex

A smaller version of our recent exhibit at History Park The Wireless Age: Electronics Entrepreneurs Before Silicon Valley is now on view in the Building 43 lobby at Google’s Mountain View headquarters through January 2017, made available through Google’s GoArt program.

The GoArt program is run by Google employees who volunteer their time to manage exhibit spaces throughout Google’s offices worldwide. The Building 43 lobby is a perfect space to showcase the Perham Collection’s Bay Area electronics and introduce it to a new generation of technology innovators.

Curated by Cate Mills, History San Jose’s Curator of Library & Archives — with advice from HSJ’s community curators, and prepared by HSJ’s Exhibit Coordinator Daniel Charm, the exhibit features rare artifacts including early radio equipment by Lee de Forest, de Forest’s Audion tube, Otis Moorhead and Elmer Cunningham tubes manufactured in San Francisco, the Poulsen arc brought back from Denmark by Cyril Elwell, and Philo Farnsworth’s experimental amplification tubes and image dissector.

For photos of the exhibit, visit

History San José coming down the aisle

Don’t miss the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles’ upcoming exhibit Wedding Dress: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, which features historic wedding dresses from History San José’s textile collection and several vintage wedding photos from our archives. The exhibit explores the evolution of the wedding dress, ethnic similarities and differences, and tackles new questions raised by the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Wedding Dress: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow will be on display from July 8, 2016 – October 2, 2016 at San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles.

Current HSJ Members with Membership Cards are invited to the exhibit’s opening reception on Sunday July 10, 2016 from 3:00 – 5:00pm, at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. For more info, visit:

Catch It Before its Gone — The Wireless Age: Electronics Entrepreneurs Before Silicon Valley — CLOSING JULY 31, 2016

Everyone is familiar with the local garage stories of Wozniak and Jobs, Hewlett and Packard, and the big semiconductor pioneers that gave today’s Silicon Valley its name. It is the earlier electronics pioneers of the Bay Area, however, who produced some of the most revolutionary communication devices, laying the foundation for what is today’s high-tech corridor. Discover some of the entrepreneurs who existed in a time when inventing was still an individual and passionate pursuit!

The Wireless Age: Electronics Entrepreneurs Before Silicon Valley is open Tuesday – Sunday from 11:00am – 4:30pm in the Arbuckle Gallery of the Pacific Hotel at History Park.

Remember Summers Gone By at Our Latest Pop-Up Exhibit at History Park

Summer is just around the corner and our curators have created a new pop-up exhibit with objects and ephemera from HSJ’s collection.

As leisure time increased during the post-World War II boom, so did the number of South Bay residents seeking to beat the summer heat on the beaches of Santa Cruz. Check it out for yourself in the Pacific Hotel Lobby at History Park.

Summers Gone By exhibit at History Park

Tattooed & Tenacious in the News

Our latest exhibit Tattooed & Tenacious: Inked Women in California’s History, is in the news again. KQED recently put together a short video highlighting one of the show’s featured local artists, Sarah Grossman. Thanks so much to Kelly Whalen and KQED Arts for putting this fabulous video together.

Check out the exhibit for yourself! Tattooed & Tenacious: Inked Women in California’s History is open Saturdays & Sundays from 11:00am – 4:30pm at the Leonard & David McKay Gallery at the Pasetta House in History Park.

Meet our Community Curators: Crystel Vasquez

To celebrate the opening of our newest exhibit Tattooed and Tenacious: Inked Women in California’s History, we will be highlighting the work of local female tattoo artists who helped curate the exhibit.

For today’s exhibit opening, we are highlighting local tattoo artist Crystel Vasquez. Crystel has been tattooing for about 12 years. Today she works in San Jose at Art of Tattoos.

How did you get involved with tattooing?

Crystel: I was 17 and still in high school and I had a cousin who had a friend that owned a tattoo shop. My cousin knew I loved to draw and thought I would be good at tattooing and should check out his friend’s shop. I didn’t really think much of it though, but one day when some friends and I were walking home from school we stopped by his shop. We were really just trying to be cool, hanging out in a tattoo shop, but as we were there the shop owner took a look at my sketches, and the next thing you know I’m an apprentice. I apprenticed for about two years, and really learned by watching and just going for it, with a lot of my friends letting me tattoo them.

You have been tattooing for almost 12 years now, do you feel like you have it mastered?

Crystel: I feel comfortable in the style that I like to do. I do a lot of traditional work and a lot of color work, I feel really comfortable doing stuff like that, but it’s kind of one of those things that you are always learning. Even though I feel comfortable where I’m at, I’m always trying to get better and learn new things that are a little out of my comfort zone.

Do you have a favorite style of tattoo?

Crystel: My favorite style would have to be traditional. I love the boldness of the lines, the vibrancy of the solid color and the way traditional tattoos hold so well in the long run.

Do you see more women getting tattooed then when you started?

Crystel: Oh yeah! I’d say about 80% of my clients are women. When women want something, they want it, and they are not going to stop until they get it.

Why do you think people continue to get tattooed?

Crystel: I think they have a story to tell. It’s a way to maybe cope with something that’s happened in their life; I probably get that the most. It’s also a way to remember someone. For me, when my Dad passed away, I got a tattoo to help remember him and I felt like if people are going to stop me and ask about it I want to be able to have a good story to tell them. It’s cool to remember someone in that type of way, to get stopped and be able to bring up someone you love.

Crystel Vasquez at work in tattoo studio

What do you enjoy most about tattooing?

Crystel: I enjoy hearing everyone’s stories the most. I work all day, from morning until night time. I spend more time in the shop then I do at home and I spend more time with my clients then with my family, so my clients become my friends and a lot them are a part of my family now, that’s my favorite part. I kind of wonder what it would be like if I wasn’t a tattoo artist; I wouldn’t meet so many cool people.

Follow Crystel on Instagram @littlebuddyink to see some of her work and stay tuned for more interviews with local women tattoo artists. Check out their work in our newest exhibit Tattooed & Tenacious: Inked Women in California’s History — opening today, March 20, at 12:00pm in the Leonard & David McKay Gallery at the Pasetta House in History Park.

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