More than just another small and quirky museum, the Jehning Family Lock Museum is a lifelong dream come true for Albert R. Jehning and his wife Audrey. When you first come upon the Jehning Family Lock Museum at 175 Castro Street in the heart of Mountain View, it may seem a little out-of-place.
Right here, in the middle of Silicon Valley, and only a mile or two away from Google’s world headquarters, sits a museum that is dedicated to old locks, keys, and safes. Old hardened-steel locks meet digital locks on smartphones here in Mountain View. We use physical keys to start our cars and gain access to our homes. We use key codes to install new software and gain access to our computers. The locks and keys displayed in the museum were designed to protect you from thieves who want to break into your house and steal your valuables. In the high-tech world, we use anti-virus software and firewalls to help protect our bank accounts and sensitive records from identity thieves.
Al, the octogenarian owner, will personally take you on a guided tour of the museum. You’ll feel the emotion come through loud and clear when he tells you about his most prized locks and keys. Many of them date back hundreds of years and are appropriately classified as historical artifacts. Even if you are not particularly interested in the difference between a skeleton key and a paracentric key (the former is easy to copy due to its simple design and the latter has a series of small teeth and is commonly used for prison locks), when you allow Al to explain, you’ll feel the genuineness and warmth that he exudes.
Opened on September 10, 2005, the Jehning Family Lock Museum is home to one of the largest collections of locks and keys in Northern California. At last count, the collection included more than 1,000 different locks, over 5,000 different keys, and 20+ safes. The displays and exhibits change regularly, and they include locks, keys, and safes manufactured here in the United States as well as many countries around the globe.
Long-time owners and operators of Mountain View Lock and Key, the Jehnings are now sharing their love of locks and keys with the public. They purchased the Ames Building (one of the oldest buildings in Mountain View), and renovated the space adjacent to the locksmith shop to create a place to house their extensive collection of keys and locks. Today, despite getting up in years, they still show up three days of the week to open and run the museum. As you can imagine, they do it because they want to share their collection with all that would like to see it.
While you are staying with us here at the Camino Inn and Suites, why not experience something that you probably have never seen before. Make a fun day of it. Come down to Castro Street; visit the Jehning Family Lock Museum; and then have lunch at one of the great restaurants that are less than a block away.
• Ephesus – A family-owned eatery that serves Greek and Turkish Cuisine
• Shabuway – Try it if you like Japanese-Style Hot Pot
• Shezan – Delicious and authentic Indian and Pakistani food
• Agave Mexican Bistro – Have an enchilada and a glass of Sangria
The Jehning Family Lock Museum is open Wednesday, from Noon to 5:00 PM, Thursday, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM, and on Sunday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.