“Valley Memories” artifacts from History San José’s rotating exhibit

Table of Contents

As the San Jose Historical Museum approaches its 75th anniversary in 2024, History San José has introduced its “Valley Memories” exhibit — filled with artifacts long kept in its archives.

Located in the Pacific Hotel at History Park, this six-month rotating exhibit features items that were curated by History San José and its founder Clyde Arbuckle, or donated from Santa Clara Valley residents + businesses.

We’re sharing three of our favorite artifacts from the collection.


There are three interactive exhibits at “Valley Memories.” | Photo by SJtoday staff

🥞 A breakfast dilemma

Cast your vote… this interactive case tells us the story behind Eggo waffles, which was invented in San José in 1953. Featuring an art deco waffle iron and a chrome pancake + sandwich maker, the display begs the question — waffles or pancakes?


Note: The prices may differ from what we’re used to today… | Photo by SJtoday staff

🏘️ “In the Chips

Created in 1980 by Tega, this “In the Chips: Silicon Valley, The Local Investment Game of the Santa Clara Valley” was like a Game of Life and Monopoly crossover. On the board, you’ll recognize local landmarks like SJSU’s Tower + Lake Cunningham, as well as boxes that tell you to read the Mercury News.


Even Cyril Geer’s unicycle, ladder, and slack wire were donated to History San José. | Photo by SJtoday

🎟️ Francis Dainty Co.

In the 1920s, San Jose housed the “World’s Greatest Cyclist,” which was an act that spanned three generations — Albert, Cyril, and Francis of the Geer family.

They traveled worldwide and performed stunts on bicycles atop a slack wire. This part of the exhibit features videos of the family practicing acts at their home in the Willow Glen neighborhood, which they stayed at from 1886 to 1999.

Check out even more in the gallery — open weekdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. + weekends 12-4 p.m.

More from SJtoday