In 1993 the City contracted with the Museum Association for the upgrade of the facility's 1972 master plan. Four members of the Association, with the requisite professional experience, volunteered their time to accomplish this 2.5 year task; Marvin Bamburg, AIA, was one of these.
The master plan team traveled to 5 other similar "living history" museums around the country to evaluate their successes and failure and their applicability to San Jose's museum. The existing master plan and the current museum development were evaluated. Sub-districts were proposed with strict criteria for interpretive timeframe, neighborhood and relation to each other and infrastructure. Design guidelines were added to assist with the overlay of infrastructure, landscape and interpretation. Significant acreage in the lower "flood plane" was incorporated as parking, agricultural area and visitor entrance. An economic consultant worked with the team to develop potential for prioritization and self-sustenance.
Finally the plan was drafted, drawn, rendered and reproduced for official Council approval. This effort was recognized by an award from the American Planning Association, Northern California Section.