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How Our Community Changed our Museum: Transforming the Gallery of California Natural Sciences

Bringing a fresh perspective to the exploration of California’s natural history, the renovated and reinstalled Gallery of California Natural Sciences spotlights seven real places throughout the state that reflect its enormous diversity of climate, geology, habitats, ecosystems, and animal life, while also telling the story of the impact of humans—both positive and negative—on our environment. Created in collaboration with community organizations and OMCA Members, the Gallery retains many of the beloved dioramas and habitat cases of the original exhibition that opened in 1969, while also connecting the natural world with our state’s cultural history and contemporary issues.

Project Overview

What we did, why, and how…

Introduction: Essay by Lori Fogarty
Adding Humans: Essay by Don Pohlman
Curatorial Perspective: Essay by Douglas Long


In-progress and completed project photos

» installation photos

» completed gallery photos

Floor Plans

Natural Sciences Gallery Floor Plan
Natural Sciences Gallery AXO View


The research we did before we started the renovation.

Diorama Literature Review: Schwarzer Sutton
Diorama Literature Review: Garibay Group
Diorama and Sense of Place Research: Garibay Group 2013
Diorama and Sense of Place Research: Garibay Group 2014
OMCA Natural Sciences Gallery Symposium 2008

Advisors Meetings

We received valuable input from our team of experts.

OMCA Advisors Meeting 2009
OMCA Advisors Meeting 2010
OMCA Advisors Meeting 2013


Self-evaluation and visitor feedback

OMCA Front End Summaries: 2003–2005
OMCA Implications Evaluation Summaries: 2013
OMCA Preview Evaluation Summary: 2012
OMCA Evaluation Instruments
Summative Evaluation with Appends: Serrell 2014

Now what?

A call to action for the future of museums and the planet

OMCA Human Nature Symposium 2014


We couldn’t have done it without you.

OMCA Donors 2009–2014
OMCA Advisors and Participants 2009–2014
OMCA Team 2009–2014