The Museum of American Heritage exists today thanks to the curiosity of its founder, Frank Livermore (1919-2000). In the early 1960s, Frank discovered an old Standard vacuum sweeper in a local junk shop. Intrigued by its unique mechanics, Frank purchased the sweeper, igniting his passion for collecting early electrical and mechanical devices. By the early 1980s, his Menlo Park home was crammed with all manner of vintage machinery, When a friend gave him a sign that said "Smithsonian West," he gave Frank the idea of starting a museum. A fortuitous sale of stock provided funding for the fledgling project and, assisted by his friend and attorney, Perry Moerdyke, Frank began the process of incorporating his museum.

In 1990 the Museum of American Heritage opened to the public. Prior to this the founders spent several years assembling and cataloging artifacts and creating portable exhibits to show at temporary locations. In 1997, MOAH was awarded custodianship of the historic home of Dr. Thomas Williams at 351 Homer Avenue in downtown Palo Alto. The Museum committed to restoring the historic house and garden as well as building the Frank Livermore center in honor of its founder. While Frank passed away in 2000, his legacy lives on in the exhibits, programs, and collections of the museum he established.

Read Frank’s obituary in the SAN FRANCISCO Chronicle and the Palo Alto Weekly