Overview and History


Established in 1969 as a "museum for the people," OMCA was created from three Oakland community museums that date back to the early 20th century. At OMCA, we explore and reveal the connections between our state's environment, cultural history, and creative expression to tell the extraordinary story of California and its people.

OMCA's multi-disciplinary approach brings together the three broad fields of California Art, California History and California Natural Sciences. Our rich and wide-ranging permanent collection comprises more than 1.2 million objects—including important works of art, historical artifacts, ethnographic objects, natural specimens, photographs, and archives.

When OMCA relaunches its galleries in 2010 and 2012, we will redefine the conventional exhibition setting and create a new standard for how a museum engages its public. Our new galleries will feature chronological and theme-based installations that survey different narratives of California, and celebrate the complexity and diversity of our people and history. Our exhibitions will also include innovative interpretive tools that invite visitors to add their own perspectives, making for a dynamic museum experience.

OMCA nurtures its deep ties to the community by actively offering many educational and outreach programs. We welcome schools, scholars, local audiences, and all visitors to participate in our events and activities and to discover their place in California's past, present and future.