Art, Science and History at the Oakland Museum of California

Natural Sciences

Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California. Photo: Matthew Millman

OAKLAND, CA – Whether you’re looking for a family funday or want to put a unique spin on date night, the Oakland Museum of California has something special for people of all ages. Even if you were born and raised in the Golden State, there is a lot to learn in the Gallery of California History which spans from the earliest settlers to modern times. Step into the shoes of the first Californians and see how they worked the varied landscapes of this diverse state. Garner insight as to how a proclamation made in 1493 by Pope Alexander VI (which gave everything west of an arbitrary line drawn down the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to Spain) would change the course of history hundreds of years later. Unpack a trunk of treasures to see what Spaniards brought with them to help make California their own when they arrived in 1769, including majestic horses and wretched giant rats.

Oakland Museum of California

Photo: Rue Flaherty, courtesy Oakland Museum of California.

From the bygone times of the railroad and gold rush to more recent eras of Hollywood, high tech and social awareness, there are interactive displays for all to learn from and participate.

While at the Museum, check out the Gallery of California Natural Sciences, where touching is not only allowed, but encouraged. The 25,000 square foot gallery highlights the diversity of climate, geology, habitats, ecosystems and wildlife in different regions of the state while exploring contemporary issues, environmental conflict, conservation projects and more.

Write in a journal, draw your self-portrait or simply pull up a chair to admire your favorite artwork in the Gallery of California Art.

Gallery of California Art

The Gallery of California Art. Courtesy of Oakland Museum of California. Photo: Matthew Millman

Battle of the Bay Oakland Museum

Battle of the Bay, October 1989. Promotional Poster from the OMCA Collection, part of the Homegrown Heroes: Oakland A’s at 50 exhibit at Oakland Museum of CA, now through October 21, 2018. Image courtesy of the Oakland Museum of California.

Rotating exhibitions include a celebration of the Oakland A’s 50th anniversary; a hands-on display of how and what food is grown in Oakland; and a showcase of how hip-hop has changed the world at RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom (ends August 12, 2018).

Every Friday from 5 to 10pm, adults receive half off museum admission while ages 18 and under are free. Enjoy these evenings featuring music, dance lessons, after-hours gallery admission and free hands-on art workshops for all ages. If you need a gift, local crafters will have their handcrafted work for sale. Off the Grid’s gourmet food trucks will make sure you don’t go hungry, and beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Oakland Museum of California, Dropreg

DropReg, President of the East Bay Chevs group, in his ride during a video shoot in downtown Oakland, part of the RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom exhibit at Oakland Museum of CA, now through August 12, 2018. Image courtesy of the artist, Amanda Sade.

On select Sundays June through October, Museum docents lead bike tours around Oakland neighborhoods. On Sunday, August 19, choose from a Bay Bridge tour or a downtown tour. Both tours are scheduled from 10am to 1pm. Cyclists should bring their own bikes, helmets, hydration and bike repair kits.

If you go: Find the Oakland Museum of California at 1000 Oak Street in Oakland. Open Wednesday & Thursday, 11am-5pm; Friday, 11am-10pm; and Saturday & Sunday, 10am-6pm. Closed Monday & Tuesday. Parking is available for $1 per hours with Museum validation. The Museum is one block from the Lake Merritt BART Station. Admission is $5.45-15.95. Children 8 and under and members are free. For more information, visit

Your Town Daycations is a series featured in the print edition of Your Town Monthly. This article was originally published in the August 2018 editions.