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Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum

The Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum is a historical museum located in Sunnyvale, California. It is a replica of the original Martin Murphy family home. The Martin Murphy family, founders of the City of Sunnyvale, constructed the house in the 1850s. Since there were no sawmills near Sunnyvale at that time, they had the lumber milled and the house assembled to their specifications in Bangor, Maine, then shipped it in pieces around Cape Horn to Sunnyvale, where it was reassembled. It was held together with wooden pegs and leather straps, and was the first wood-frame house in Sunnyvale. The Sunnyvale Historical Society obtained its designation as a California State Historical Landmark in 1958. It was demolished by the city in 1961 due to extensive damage following a fire.

The Sunnyvale Historical Museum was constructed as a replica at Sunnyvale Heritage Park next to the Sunnyvale Community Center, and was dedicated and opened in September, 2008, as a testament to the history of Sunnyvale and the contributions made by the Martin Murphy family towards the founding of Sunnyvale. It was funded through public donations and contributions from the State of California and the City of Sunnyvale. In the main exhibit room is a 60-foot mural of Sunnyvale history. Heritage Park also includes a Heritage Orchard of apricot trees and a barn[3] with an outdoor interpretive exhibit on the agricultural history of the Santa Clara Valley.[6] In December 2018, after removal of a park maintenance building, a new front entrance to the museum was created with additional outside exhibits. The Heritage Park Museum is considered by many to be one of the jewels in the crown of the Sunnyvale community and is built as a replica of the famous Murphy family home. The Murphy family is credited as being some of the founding fathers of Sunnyvale, and so it is was considered only fitting that the museum was built in the style of their former home which was sadly torn down. The museum is also the place to come if you want to know more about how this city came to be established and is filled with period photographs and memorabilia.

It is also still surrounded by an original orchard that sells apricots in the summer months. The Sunnyvale Historical Society was formed in 1956 for the purpose of saving the Murphy house, which was purchased by the City of Sunnyvale in 1953. In 1960, the Society succeeded in getting the State of California to designate the Murphy family home as California Registered Historical Landmark No. 644. In spite of this recognition, the house was demolished in 1961. A small museum was created in Murphy Park to preserve and display saved artifacts from the Murphy house and other Sunnyvale history. Sunnyvale Historical Society and Museum Association Inc. (SHSMA) was incorporated in 1979 as a non-profit organization. In 1994, the City of Sunnyvale preserved ten acres of Blenheim apricot trees to celebrate the important contribution of orchards to the early development of the local economy. The orchard was designated as Heritage Orchard Park by the Historical Society in 1997. Funding was secured in 2002 to reconstruct the Murphy home as a museum to be located in the Sunnyvale Community Center next to the Heritage Orchard Park. In 2008, construction of the Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum was finished and a Grand Opening was celebrated.

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