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Oakland Museum 2.0

This month the Oakland Museum boots up after extensive renovation. Plus a slide show with pics of the newly renovated museum.


Images Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California

Forget the Ipad. That’s old news. The high-tech launch we’re excited about is the reboot of the Oakland Museum of California. On May 1, the museum will unveil two years and $60 million worth of cutting-edge renovations. Here’s a peek at what’s new. For more information, go to museumca.org.


When it opened in 1969, the museum’s permanent galleries were designed to be, well, permanent. The “new” museum has high-tech, highly interactive, frequently changing spaces to enhance your visit. The California People exhibit features wall-size portraits of great artists who have contributed to the state, such as painter Diego Rivera and photographer Edward Weston. An interactive display allows you to create a self portrait and project yourself on the wall next to the masters. “You are part of the experience, whether you have been in California for five generations or five days,” says Executive Director Lori Fogarty.       Dorothea Lange <i> Migrant Mother <i> 1936

Ultimate Dorothea Lange

The museum houses the legendary photographer’s archive—as in, the entire archive—offering the opportunity to drill deeper into Lange’s body of work than ever before. Visitors have access to 25,000 negatives and 2,000 prints, plus her journals, letters from Ansel Adams, and her workbooks from the migrant fields. 

The First Taste Is Free

When it reopens on May 1, admission to the museum will be free to the public for 31 straight hours. “We’ll stay open all night long, with music and parties, and a morning yoga class in the gardens,” says Fogarty. “We’re going to make it an only-in-
California event.”

Food As Art

The museum’s new restaurant, Blue Oak, is named for a native California tree. Acclaimed chef Robert Dorsey, formerly of San Francisco’s Firefly and Oakland’s Bay Wolf and Blackberry Bistro, will serve California cuisine with an emphasis on all things organic and local.

One-Stop Shopping

A new, 2,000-square-foot store will feature works by California artists, educational toys, and field guides in natural sciences and ecology. The store will also host author readings, artist demonstrations, and trunk shows.

Now Open (Relatively) Late 

The museum has expanded its evening hours beyond its previous 5 p.m. last call and will stay open until 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9 p.m. on the second Friday of each month.

Plenty of Parking

One great appeal of the Oakland Museum of California has always been access—it is one of the easiest Bay Area museums for parking. The museum has an onsite garage and ample street parking on weekends. Lake MerrittRichard Misrach <i> Polar Ice Caps </i> 1995 BART is just one block away.

Coming Soon

Movie fans will line up early for the July 30 opening of Pixar: 25 Years of Animation. The exhibit focuses on how the animation studio’s creative work begins long before it goes into computer, with masses of original artwork. “This opened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2005, for Pixar’s twentieth anniversary,” says Fogarty. “The exhibition has since been to Europe, Australia, Japan, and China—all over the world—and now it is coming home to the East Bay. This will be the only west coast venue.” 

Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, (510) 238-2200, museumca.org

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