Press Release

Friday, August 7, 2009 - 1:34pm
Museum Closes Temporarily August 23 to Complete Renovation

OAKLAND, CA, July 20, 2009—For the first time in its 40-year history, the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) will temporarily close to the public. The break—effective 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 23—will allow the Museum to reinstall the Art and History Galleries, upgrade the common areas, and complete its ambitious transformation.

In May 2010, the Museum will welcome back visitors and introduce the reconfigured History and Art Galleries. The new galleries will include digital and interactive features to encourage visitors to experience California’s many stories and voices, and add their own. Much of the signage and exhibit copy will be in Spanish and Chinese, as well as English. Californians can expect to see their history and culture represented throughout the Museum.

During the temporary closure the Museum will continue to present compelling public programs, at various Oakland venues. Check www.museumca.org to follow what OMCA is up to behind the scenes and in the community.

The long-planned renovation began in January 2008 with work on the Art and History Galleries. (Major redesign of the Natural Sciences Gallery gets underway later this summer, with a projected 2012 opening.) The project has been funded in part by Oakland voters’ passage of a $26.3 million bond measure in 2002. To date the Museum has reached 92% of its $56.2 million capital campaign goal.

All external construction—a sky-lit central staircase, new main entrance, and ADA accommodations—was finished in June 2009. New walls and display areas are taking shape within, notably two innovative art galleries. Created from outside sculpture courts, the spaces have striking natural lighting from clerestory windows in the 20-foot walls.

Designed by Kevin Roche of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, the landmark building opened in 1969 to acclaim for its open-air ambience—three levels of galleries and terraces, a central courtyard with tiered gardens, and outdoor walkways. With landscape architect Dan Kiley, Roche fulfilled the founders’ vision: a museum within an urban park.

T he OMCA renovation and expansion, directed by Mark Cavagnero Associates, San Francisco, will honor the Museum’s original architecture.

For details or images of the new Museum, please contact Elizabeth Whipple, at ewhipple@museumca.org or 510/238-4740.