Special Exhibitions

Special Exhibition Tours and Programs

Oakland Museum of California’s special exhibitions offer unique school experiences for a limited time each year. This year’s exhibitions include an exploration of Oakland’s multi-layered world of food in Take Root: Oakland Grows Food; a glimpse into the wonderful world of design with The World of Charles and Ray Eames; a whimsical journey combining art and science in Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline; an inspiring presentation of California’s LGBTQ+ history and culture in Queer California: Untold Stories; and a fresh view of Andrew J. Russell’s photography documenting the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in Pushing West: Photography of A.J. Russell

Note: Special exhibitions are accessible to school groups for free with purchase of a self-guided tour, program, and/or performance. See below for self-guided tour booking and special exhibition program information. 


Unearth Oakland's multi-layered world of food in Take Root: Oakland Grows Food, an exhibition exploring aspects of growing food in Oakland. Learn what motivations Oaklanders have for growing food—including access to healthy and delicious ingredients, environmental and social justice values, or simply the joy of tending a garden. Share personal stories, explore interactive activities, and gain a deeper understanding of Oakland's agriculture.
Dates: December 16, 2017–November 2019

Grades 3–8

How and why do we grow food at home, in our neighborhoods, or urban farms? Dig into stories right here in Oakland in Take Root: Oakland Grows Food. Explore dynamic ecological relationships that make growing possible as well as the social issues impacting equal access to healthy, fresh foods for all of our communities. Program includes:

  • A 45-minute tour of the special exhibition Take Root: Oakland Grows Food incorporating connections to the Gallery of California Natural Sciences.
  • A 75-minute poster-making workshop, in which students use screen-printing techniques to creatively express themselves on food-related issues.

Dates: January 17–March 15, 2019
Days: Thursday and Friday
Times: 9:45 am–12 pm (does not include lunch)
11 am–1:45 pm (includes a 45-minute lunch break)

Fees: $250 per class. Oakland School District schools may use a code to receive 30% off.


Explore California as a major site of LGBTQ+ community, culture, and politics. Hear stories of the persistence of hope and change in the face of ongoing violence and hate in these communities. Celebrate the diversity of queer identities and join the conversation surrounding a much larger intersectional battle for change. 

The exhibition includes representations of queer bodies and material with sexual content in order to affirm the ways in which they have been central to the experience of LGBTQ+ individuals and communities. We encourage teachers to preview the exhibition ahead of time. 

Download a Conversation Guide that to help middle and high school students explore the Queer California: Untold Stories exhibition on your own.

» download pdf

Dates: April 13, 2019–August 11, 2019


Get a panoramic view of the building of the Union Pacific Railroad through the captivating photography of Andrew J. Russell. Discover the tensions between this technological transformation and its heavy impact on Native peoples and the environment of the American West.
Dates: May 4, 2019–September 1, 2019.



Dates: October 4, 2018–June 7, 2019
Days: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Times: 10 am, 10:30 am, 11:15 am, 11:30 am, and 11:45 am
Please note: Self-Guided Tours are not available October 18 & 19, October 25 & 26, November 21-23, December 19-28, 2018 and February 13-22, 2019.

Fees: $4 per person. A ticket must be purchase for every student and chaperone. Oakland School District schools may use a code to receive 30% off.