Margaret Thompson Historical Essay Contest

Children from grades three through six are invited to participate in the Margaret Thompson Essay contest through their schools. Essays are written covering a specific theme. Each year hundreds of essays are judged by community members. Prizes are awarded by the City Council at an ice-cream social in the garden of the Los Altos History Museum.

Winners at each grade level receive $50 for first place, $30 for second place and $20 for third place. All entrants receive a certificate of participation. In addition to individual prizes, the school with the most winners will be awarded a trophy.

For information on entering the contest, contact your elementary school. Home-schooled children may contact Los Altos School District. To volunteer for judging or preparation of awards contact Historical Commissioner Denise Welsh at (415) 999-0727 or by email at

2015 Essay Contest

Theme: Inventors and risk-Takers Help Make Our Community a Better Place

The Los Altos History Museum’s current exhibit, “Silicon Valley: The Lure and the Legends,” explores the transition of the Valley of Heart’s Delight from orchards to oscillators and reveals the inventors and risk-takers behind the changes in our community.  Risk-takers are people who take a chance and have perseverance.  They often try many times before they are successful.  Visitors who enter the exhibit will “meet” several dozen local legends from Hewlett-Packard Co., Adobe Systems, Intel, Google, and Apple.  These inventors and risk-takers have had an impact on each of our lives both domestically and globally.

2015 Margaret Thompson Historical Essay Contest Winners
2015 Essay Contest Winners
3rd Grade Winning Essays
4th Grade Winning Essays
5th Grade Winning Essays
6th Grade Winning Essays

Margaret Thompson Historical Essay Contest Documents

2015 Essay Prompt
General Instructions MTEC 2015
Rubric for Essay Contest 2015