Museum History Interactive Timeline

1894Leland Stanford Jr. Museum opens to the public

When it first opened its doors to the public in 1894, the Leland Stanford Jr. Museum was unique among American museums, having been privately founded by a family with a general collection of world art on a par with the great public museums being built at the time. By the turn of the century, the Stanford museum was the largest privately-owned museum building in the world. Its archeological and ethnological holdings were a rarity on the Pacific Coast, and by 1905 its collection of Asian materials was unsurpassed in the western United States.

The museum served as a monument and memorial to young Leland, who was a precocious and avid collector himself, and to his mother, Jane, who was dedicated to the educational potential of a great museum.