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Save the Wallace Stegner Study – Update


Now it’s getting exciting! Les Earnest’s email is noteworthy on a couple of levels: 1) the cost is not outrageous and should be attainable; and 2) pay special attention to Operating the Mini-Museum because if this project succeeds, it could become a one-of-a-kind author’s museum with Les Earnest’s hopes for a ROBOTIC DOCENT!

Please continue to support this cause. Talk to your friends who value Stegner’s work and, what the heck, talk to your friends who love science fiction. Remember, you can be a part of something very unique!

Fri, July 8, 2011 1:17:47 AMPlease help preserve Wallace Stegner’s Study

From: Les Earnest <[email protected]>View Contact


Planning for the preservation of Wallace Stegner’s study is moving ahead. Thanks to those who have contributed already. More financial support is needed.


The prospective granting of a demolition permit for the former Stegner residence remains on hold pending resolution of the CEQA challenge and it is uncertain when that will happen. We must be ready to move when that time comes — see


We plan to preserve and transport the Study that was constructed in 1962 by severing and abandoning the later additions of a bathroom and a storage room, leaving a rectangular structure with external dimensions of 13 by 20 feet. We do not know exactly how much this will cost but, depending on the destination, it is estimated at less than $10,000 and perhaps as little as $6,000. It will also be necessary to do some reconstruction at the destination that will cost on the order of $1,000. Contributions received so far amount to about $1,000 so an additional $6,000 to $10,000 will be needed. We expect to refine this estimate as we move ahead.


As discussed earlier there are a couple of plausible destinations for the Study on lands belonging to the Town of Los Altos Hills, namely near Town Hall or in the beautiful valley below Westwind Barn. Four additional possible sites have been identified by Stanford University on their lands, all in the beautiful foothills south of the campus in the vicinity of the Stanford Golf Course. However none of these sites has been approved yet and it is not yet certain that any of them will be. We hope to resolve this question in the next couple of weeks.


Once the Study is moved and refurbished we plan to put in exhibits and make it accessible to the public. It is possible that this could be handled by volunteer docents on a limited scheduling basis but I believe there is a better way. Given that I spent most of my time at Stanford as executive officer of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL), which did pioneering work in robotics, my inclination is to create a robotic docent to run the facility using electrically controlled door locks to open and close it on a prescribed schedule. The docent would sense the arrival of visitors using either infrared sensors or a video camera and give verbal greetings and offer short lectures on either Stegner’s career or the exhibits. If people hung around as closing time approached it would provide increasingly coercive guidance on getting them out and, if necessary, would make one or more phone calls for outside help. I think this can be done fairly inexpensively by making it a computer science student project.


Reference materials regarding this project, including emails used so far to gather support, have been placed on a web page at

-Les Earnest, 650-941-3984

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