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Final Weeks for Public to See First-Ever Museum Exhibition on Marijuana in California at Oakland Museum of California Through September 25

(OAKLAND, CA)—The public will have a final opportunity to experience the award-winning exhibition about marijuana in California rich with opportunities for input and dialogue about the uses and evolving attitudes about this complex and compelling topic. The Oakland Museum of California’s (OMCA) exhibition, Altered State: Marijuana in California—the first-ever museum exhibition on the topic—will close September 25 as originally announced. From now until the closing date on September 25, visitors to the Museum who mention “Bring a Bud” at the ticketing desk after 3 pm during regular open hours will receive 2-for-1 admission.  

The Western Museums Association Awards Committee has chosen the exhibition as the recipient of the 2016 Charles Redd Center for Western Studies Award for Exhibition Excellence for its impressive examination of marijuana as it impacts the past and future of California. The exhibition—one of the most popular in OMCA’s history—features artwork, political documents and posters, scientific displays, and interactive and multimedia exhibits all meant to provoke questions and conversations about the provocative plant.

Designed as a catalyst for conversation and reflection, the exhibition explores the many ways that people consider marijuana, including historical, social, and political perspectives, scientific data, and opinions of a diverse range of community members and groups. Organized into ten different areas of focus—Cannabis Science, Medical Marijuana, Profitable Pot, Sacred Ganja, Criminal Dope, Creative Grass, Evil Weed, Politically Loaded, Youth and Weed, and Recreational ReeferAltered State will provide the opportunity for Museum visitors to add their voices to the evolving conversation. 

“We have designed an open and participatory experience to engage anyone who has an opinion or wants to learn more about the complex issues and information about this topic, which is relevant to all Californians,” says Associate Curator of Natural Sciences Dr. Sarah Seiter, who also curated OMCA’s popular exhibition Bees: Tiny Insect, Huge Impact. “We’re interested in presenting a forum for all sides of deep community conversations about marijuana, its history, politics, culture and impacts on our state.”

Highlights of the exhibition include live and preserved specimens of cannabis on loan to the Museum, a walk-in installation by artist Cybele Lyle that alters viewers’ perspectives of space and time, a “Cannabis Confessional” that allows visitors to share their private, anonymous thoughts about marijuana, youth views about the topic, and explorations of the historical, social, political, and economic impacts that are changing the State. Content for the exhibition has been gathered from a wide range of sources, including science, government, growers, dispensaries, and historical and social sources including media and popular culture.

With marijuana increasingly in the news and as several states have recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana while many others are considering new medical and recreational legislation, the exhibition will be a timely opportunity to explore how people have constructed different perspectives and sets of values about marijuana over time, many of which are in conflict. These have been brought into sharper focus by recent and relevant discussions about the status of marijuana in California.

The Altered State exhibition is participatory and visitors will be active players in the evolution of conversation about the issues it explores. Through historical, scientific, social and personal stories, the exhibition will present ten ways that people consider cannabis in California. Each topic will be explored using the most current data, expert and community voices, historical and contemporary media and ephemera, interactives and prompts to stimulate conversation, and direct contributions from museum visitors.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) brings together collections of art, history and natural science under one roof to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. OMCA’s groundbreaking exhibits tell the many stories that comprise California with many voices, often drawing on first-person accounts by people who have shaped California’s cultural heritage. Visitors are invited to actively participate in the Museum as they learn about the natural, artistic and social forces that affect the state and investigate their own role in both its history and its future. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is at 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street, in Oakland. Museum admission is $15.95 general; $10.95 seniors and students with valid ID, $6.95 youth ages 9 to 17, and free for Members and children 8 and under. There is a $4 charge in addition to general admission pricing for special exhibitions. OMCA offers onsite underground parking, with validation for Museum visitors, and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station, on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the new 1000 Oak Street main entrance. Regular hours are 11 am to 5 pm, Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 9 pm Fridays.
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