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Scott Horton
[email protected]


Public Invited into Transformed Museum for 31 Hours of Free, Continuous Events Celebrating the Creativity and Cultures of California, the 31st State

Energized Visitor Experience Tells the Many Stories of California and Fosters Discovery, Dialogue, and a Forum for Community

New Museum Café, Store, Hours, and Visitor Amenities Announced

 Oakland, CA, March 25, 2010 – Thirty-one hours of continuous, round-the-clock, free public programs will officially launch the reopening of the transformed Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) after a two-year, $58 million renovation and re-envisioning of the presentation of its art and history collections May 1 and 2, Lori Fogarty, OMCA Executive Director, has announced. The Oakland Museum of California Opening Celebration Weekend is presented by Target and will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 1, with a public ceremony on the steps and in the street in front of OMCA’s 1000 Oak Street entrance with a Native American Ohlone blessing, marching band, spectacular site-specific aerial dance performance by Project Bandaloop created especially for the opening, and more. The festivities continue through 6 p.m. Sunday, May 2. Saturday afternoon activities center on the innovative and creative spirit of California, while Saturday evening and overnight activities take on a more adult flavor with dancing, food and beverages, participatory conversations and classes merging into early morning yoga and bubble magic, followed by family-themed events all day Sunday. The thirty-one hours of programming are designed as a thank you to Oakland voters who supported Measure G, which provided funding in part for OMCA’s transformation. All events are free of charge and open to the public. [EDITOR NOTE: Complete hours, pricing and information about public amenities may be found at the end of this release.]

"We are excited to welcome the public back into the Oakland Museum of California, home of our state’s art, history, and cultures," says Fogarty. "Our newly transformed art and history galleries offer an energizing and participatory re-envisioning of how we present our collections and programs to better serve the needs and expectations of today’s museum-goers. The newly renovated galleries and public spaces feature stunning new exhibitions from our permanent art and history collections, including selections from nearly 2,000 new acquisitions."

Created in 1969 as a "museum for the people," OMCA is reviving its foundational premise by developing innovative exhibition and programming strategies, setting a new paradigm for the way a museum engages the public. Visitors to the reinvented Museum will find multiple entry points for exploring the state’s past; learn about the natural, artistic, and social forces that continue to shape it; and investigate their own role in both its history and its future. 

Reopening the Doors to Californians’ Stories in Art, History, and Culture

At 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, OMCA will officially reopen to the public with a ceremony on the 1000 Oak Street Steps (between 10th and 11th Streets). The program will include a Native American Ohlone blessing by tribal member and artist Linda Yamane, welcoming remarks by Museum leadership and elected officials, and the premiere of a stunning aerial dance work created by Oakland’s Project Bandaloop on OMCA’s façade set to a soundscore of natural sounds from OMCA’s California Library of Natural Sounds. After the premiere, OMCA’s gates will be opened for the public to experience the exciting new transformations inside. While awaiting entry, the visitors will be entertained by performances of California "firsts" by the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom Band, Holistic Hooping hula-hoop performances, Yo-yo champion Dazzling Dave, master whistler Sean Lomax, and hip-hop dancing with Oakland Hip Hop Dance Institute through 6 p.m. when the celebration’s evening programs begin.

Evening and Overnight Programs With a Grown-up, Social Flavor

As the 31-hour Opening Weekend Celebration continues, Saturday evening events from 6 p.m.  through 6 a.m. Sunday, May 2, transition to a more adult flavor with participants invited to socialize, participate, and enjoy OMCA’s all-night party-pajamas are encouraged. Featured will be live DJs and radio broadcasts, a dance music showcase from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., "California Futures" ongoing conversations and group experiences about California’s cultures, creativity, food, and more; screenings of California films, personalized gallery tours with curators, food and drink until 2 a.m.-all this and fire dancers, too!

Sunday Events for Families

After OMCA shakes off the night and wakes up with early morning yoga in the gardens and coffee, Sunday welcomes visitors for family events until 6 p.m. Featured will be bubble magic with Mike Miller, juggling and dance performances with Capacitor Dance, Oakland School of the Arts’ Jazz Band, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, A’Dunyae Lee rap music, community drumming with Drummm Rhythmic Events, games, and other events presented in collaboration with DEAF Media, Our Family Coalition, MOCHA, and Laney College.

New OMCA Café and Store

The newly transformed OMCA features exciting new amenities that enhance the visitor experience. A new café, Blue Oak, and an exclusive on-site catering service will open shortly after May 1. Award-winning California chef Robert Dorsey III (formerly of Bay Wolf, Firefly, Kuleto’s, and Blackberry Bistro) will be the operator of Blue Oak on site at OMCA, and celebrated chef Karen Bevels will provide California-inspired catering services through Karen Bevels Custom Catering and Events.

California arts, crafts, books, and other unique items will be found in a new 2,000-square-foot museum store that will provide an extension and continuation of the stories begun in the galleries. The expanded store provides a new social space that will greatly enhance the visitors’ experience. The Museum Store will feature a curated collection, edited and presented in a way that expands upon and supports the work exhibited in the galleries; an events series including author book signings, artist demonstrations, and trunk shows; functional art and merchandise by local artists and artisans, and more.  A new feature of the store is an area completely devoted to changing presentations of local artists and designers’ works.  The store will be a "hands on" experience for the visitor in a space where art, history, and science come together. New ideas, cultural trends and current events will be reflected in the merchandise. The store will showcase edgy, culturally diverse, and relevant art, just-released books by Californians, and contemporary  research in the natural sciences and ecology, providing OMCA’s community base with another connection to the many stories of California.

New Museum Hours

OMCA is introducing new expanded hours, including Thursday and Friday evenings. OMCA’s popular late night Friday programming will move to the 2nd Friday of the month beginning June 11. OMCA will continue to offer free admission to the public on the first Sunday of each month, beginning in June and made possible by Wells Fargo. New hours are as follows:









11 am – 5 pm



11 am – 8 pm



11 am – 8 pm



11am –  5 pm



11 am – 5 pm

Second Friday of the Month


11 am – 9 pm

Admission is $12 general; $9 students and seniors with valid ID, $6 youth ages 9-17, and free for children 8 and under, and members.

OMCA offers onsite underground parking and is conveniently located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station between 8th and 9th streets at Oak Street. OMCA is at the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the new 1000 Oak Street main entrance.

Programs during the Opening Season of the Oakland Museum of California are made possible by the Clorox Company, the Oakland Museum Women’s Board, Target, Wells Fargo, and Chevron.

For more information and visuals, please contact:

Scott Horton
[email protected]
Oakland Museum of California