Oakland Museum of California
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) seeks to connect communities to the cultural and environmental heritage of California. Through collections, exhibitions, education programs, and public dialogue, OMCA inspires people of all ages and background to think creatively and critically about the natural, artistic, and social forces that characterize the state of California and influence its relationship to the world. With a major renovation nearly completed in 2010, OMCA transformed its galleries touching on almost every aspect of the 300,000 square-foot museum. The transformation builds on the founders’ original multidisciplinary and civic-minded intent by improving integration of OMCA’s collections and programs, strengthening its role as a public forum, and creating new opportunities for visitor participation. The collections are animated by innovative interpretive tools and interactive features, and new gathering spaces. Program areas engage visitors and encourage them to share their own perspectives, questions, and stories. OMCA nurtures its deep ties to the community by offering many educational and outreach programs. The Oakland Museum of California was known as “the people’s museum” even before it opened in 1969, in part because it took pains to consult with and otherwise reach out to its intended audience. Members often came up with ideas for exhibitions and events. Since it’s beginnings, some sort of local advisory group has been central to the museum’s operations. The museum now has Latino, African-American, Asia-Pacific, American Indian and schoolteacher advisory councils, whose volunteer members consult with the staff on a range of matters like collection acquisitions and membership development.