The Oakland Museum of California or OMCA (formerly the Oakland Museum) is an interdisciplinary museum dedicated to the arts, history and natural sciences of California, located adjacent to Oak Street, 10th Street and 11th Street in Oakland , California. The museum contains more than 1.8 million objects dedicated to “telling the extraordinary story of California.” It was created in the mid-1960s by the merger of three separate museums from the early 20th century (Snow Museum of Natural History, Oakland Public Museum, Oakland Art Gallery) and opened in 1969.
The mission of the Oakland Museum of California is to inspire all Californians to create a more vibrant future for themselves and their communities.
When the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) first opened its doors in 1969, it brought together three historically independent disciplines — art, history, and natural science — under one roof. This progressive, multidisciplinary approach was designed to celebrate the many facets of California. Our collections — comprising more than 1.9 million objects, including seminal works of art, historical artifacts, ethnographic objects, natural specimens and photographs — and our programs explore and reveal factors that shape California’s character and identity, from its extraordinary natural landscapes to successive waves of migration, to its unique culture of creativity and innovation.
OMCA has reopened its galleries after a transformation that touches almost every aspect of the 300 000 square-foot Museum and builds on the original multidisciplinary and civic intention of the founders by improving the integration of the WTOA collections and programs, enhancing its role as a public forum and creating new opportunities for visitors to participate. Collections are driven by innovative interpretive tools and interactive features; and new gathering spaces and program areas engage visitors and encourage them to share their own perspectives, questions and stories.
OMCA maintains its deep ties with the community by offering a number of educational and outreach programs. We welcome schools, scholars, local audiences and all visitors to take part in our events and activities and to discover their place in the past, present and future of California.
The Natural Sciences Department’s collection presents California as a hotspot for biodiversity and a state with the largest biodiversity in the nation. There are more than 100,000 research specimens and other artifacts, including more than 10,000 identified and pinned entomological specimens, more than 5,000 specimens in the Malacology (shell) collection, more than 2,000 bird and mammal study skins and mounts, several thousand bird eggs, more than 3,180 herbarium sheets, more than 2,330 freeze-dried specimens, as well as reptiles and amphibian collections.
More than 1.8 million items represent California’s history and culture from the pre-European era to the 21st century. The strongest collections are in photography; California native baskets and other materials; California Gold Rush era artifacts; and materials related to California technology, agriculture , business and labor, domestic life, and major events such as World War II.
The museum owns more than 70,000 examples of California’s art and design from the mid-1800s to the present. The painters represented in the art collection include Addie L. Ballou, Albert Bierstadt, George Henry Burgess, Richard Diebenkorn, Maynard Dixon, Childe Hassam, Thomas Hill, Amédée Joullin, William Keith, David Park, Mel Ramos, Granville Redmond, Jules Tavernier, Wayne Thiebaud, and the Society of Six (William H. Clapp, Selden Connor Gile, August Gay, Bernard Von Eichman, Maurice Logan, and Louis S. The museum holds the personal archives of Dorothea Lange and the images of many other well-known photographers.