The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is a family-friendly, interdisciplinary museum dedicated to the art, history, and natural science of California. Formerly known as the Oakland Museum, the Museum is located in Oakland, CA, and tells the extraordinary story of California through a diverse collection of more than 1.8 million objects, items, and artifacts.

Opened in 1969, the museum was created from a merger between three separate institutions dating from the early 20th century with the mission of inspiring and encouraging all Californians to create a more vibrant future for themselves and their communities.

Designed by Roche-Dinkeloo, the museum building is one of the most significant architectural examples of mid-century modernism in the country and features an acclaimed integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. The building features three tiers, each of which focuses on the art, history, and natural science collections of the museum, along with exhibition galleries for temporary displays, a state-of-the-art auditorium, and a family-friendly restaurant.

The Museum is surrounded by exquisitely manicured gardens designed by Geraldine Knight Scott and features beautiful architectural and landscape such as patios, terraced roof gardens, outdoor sculptures, a large lawn area, and a tranquil koi pond.

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) features a diverse collection that is split into genres of art, history, and natural science.


The museum features more than 70,000 examples of California art and design, ranging from the mid-1800s to the present and including works by George Henry Burgess, Thomas Hill, Mel Ramos, Albert Bierstadt and Childe Hassam. The Art collection also holds the personal archives of photographer Dorothea Lange, as well as a notable collection of paintings and decorative objects from the American Craftsman Movement.


The Oakland Museum of California is home to more than 1.8 million items that reflect California's rich history and cultures that date back to the pre-European settlement to date. The collection includes native baskets, photographs, artifacts from the Gold Rush and items from significant periods in history such as World War II.

Natural Sciences

The Museum’s Natural Sciences collection features the greatest biological diversity in the nation with more than 100,000 research and entomology, malacology specimens, herbarium sheets, freeze-dried samples, and other natural science artifacts.


The Oakland Museum of California offers a range of educational programs, including school programs that focus on the story of California through groundbreaking exhibitions on art, history, and natural science.

The Oakland Museum of California hosts a variety of activities throughout the year, including ‘Friday Nights @ OMCA,' Guild Travel Exhibits for the Art, History and Science collections, bike tours, and workshops.

Friday Nights @ OMCA offer family-friendly evenings to explore the Museum with a variety of festivities extending onto Oak Street, food trucks, music and family-friendly art activities and garden games. Unique programs include the ‘Makers & Tasters Series’ with local beer brewers, organic farmers, coffee roasters, and authors hosting meets, talks, demos, and food and wine tastings; family-friendly dance lessons; and hands-on art workshop for all ages.

Family-friendly events include ‘What's Outside for Kids?’ and includes a range of activities for families such as picnics, books and blankets, and garden games.

The Oakland Museum of California is located between downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt at 1000 Oak Street on 10th Street in Oakland and is open Wednesday through Sunday and closed on the main holidays. The Museum offers a variety of tours, ranging from the California Art Tour, which explores inspiring new perspectives on California’s evolving role in the arts to the California Natural Sciences Tour that explores environmental conflict, conservation projects, and contemporary issues of land use of California’s Natural Sciences. Private docent-led tours and special school groups are also available on request.

The Museum features a variety of amenities, including the Blue Oak Café that serves a menu of inventive cuisine featuring seasonal and local ingredients that reflect the many cultures of California. The café, which is named after the native California tree, offers both indoor and outdoor seating for lunch, mid-afternoon tea and coffee and evening beverages.

Back to: Best Things to Do in Oakland.

1000 Oak Street (at 10th Street), Oakland, California 94607, Phone: 510-318-8400

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