Free monthly Fridays attract museum visitors


Shayna Yurovitsky

Interactive museum offers beautiful displays as well as hands on activities. The San Mateo History Museum is offering free admission days on the first Friday of every month. Come enjoy displays like this one and many other themed galleries.

Shayna Yurovitsky, Staff Writer

Sitting in the center of Redwood City’s public square is the San Mateo County History Museum. Despite it’s alluring Renaissance architecture and the rich history behind its walls, many locals have never stepped inside. 

Founded in 1935, the San Mateo County museum features exhibitions on boats to religious groups from the area and more. For those stepping into the museum for the first time, the hidden treasures may come as a pleasant surprise.

“Within the 15 minutes I spent here, I have played video games, stood on a surfboard simulation, and got to do a hands-on activity as a replication of old cargo lifting techniques,” said local resident Irma di Nallo. “I’ve lived here for over 6 years and this is my first time in here. I don’t know why it has been so long. I didn’t know such cool things were in here!”

Walking into the front of the museum, customers were greeted by a dainty gift shop full of souvenirs to remember every themed gallery. A section dedicated to different cultures was displayed to the side — from Irish four-leaf clover jewelry to Italian cookbooks, there was something there for everyone. 

“This museum helps you get to know more about your roots. A lot of people have lived here for years and have never come into this building yet you learn so much more about your roots when you do,” said Elizabeth Silva, a front desk employee. “My favorite exhibit is our immigrant’s gallery. Currently, it is being renovated but in a while, it is going to be even more beautiful than it was. This exhibit is important especially right now to realize how many people are immigrants and to recognize all the wonderful traditions they bring with them.”

The museum offered information on the history of trade and sea routes connected to Redwood City. Within this gallery, miniature replicas and paintings of old boats decorate every inch of the room. An activity to see the improvements made in tools used to lift heavy cargo over time sat in the center for anyone to experiment with.

The next room featured old transportation methods including wagons and bicycles. A display of a car was present near a fake bar to the side of a table with a card game.

On the second floor, viewers learned about fallen soldiers and police officers throughout history, connecting back to the city. With the incorporation of a digital database, one could learn about any officer of their choice. 

“The room with the video game was my favorite! It is so well organized,” museum attendant Jared Nilun said. “It had all these amazing developments from medicine to technology highlighting all the successful entrepreneurs from this area. It’s incredible how much history I didn’t know about the very place I grew up in.”

The final room was filled with a surfer’s dream. Entering the wave-like room, participants would be greeted by a giant yellow surfboard on display. All were welcome to hop on the surfing game under the wave.

The San Mateo History museum offered access to Charles Parsons’ Ships of the World, Courtroom A, Journey to Work, Land of Opportunity, Law Enforcement, Living the California Dream, Maverick’s, Nature’s Bounty, and San Mateo County History Makers.

For those who have never visited or for those who are eager to return, the museum offers free admissions for every first Friday of the month. Not only can locals take advantage of this deal, but many are encouraged to discover the deep roots of this city while engaging in these exciting activities and events.


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