MISSION & HISTORY

We believe in the power of art and history to enrich life. We inspire and engage our region with innovative educational experiences in art and history.

Established in 1965, the Museums of Los Gatos includes the Art Museum of Los Gatos, the History Museum at Forbes Mill, and the Los Gatos Museum Art Gallery.

Los Gatos offered just about everything in 1965. Everything but a museum, thought Dr. Ethel Dana. Dr. Dana resolutely believed that her seven children could not grow up in a community that lacked a museum. So she did something about it, creating Los Gatos’ first museum in the town’s historic firehouse. In 1982 the museum expanded to the Forbes Mill, at 75 Church Street, where the town’s history is now chronicled. With a mission to enhance community life through the preservation and exhibition of our local history, the History Museum showcases artifacts from Los Gatos’ past. The permanent exhibit, Los Gatos Remembered, describes the two great fires that shaped the town’s business district, the produce industry, the Southern Pacific Line Railroad and more. Artists from the Greater Bay Area and beyond showcase their work in The Museums’ three galleries several times a year on a rotating basis.

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Los Gatos, now a thriving business community, began its industrial career with Forbes Mill, the first commercial building. James Alexander Forbes built the mill for his Santa Rosa Flour Company in 1854.
Today all that remains is the Annex, built in 1880 for additional storage of flour. The site with its working water wheels providing power, also supported a textile mill, an ice manufacturing plant, and a power plant. Forbes Mill is on the National Register of Historic Places, Santa Clara County Point of Historical Interest No. 458.