Mission + History

Our Mission

The mission of the Oakland Museum of California is to inspire all Californians to create a more vibrant future for themselves and their communities.

History

When the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) first opened its doors more than forty years ago, it brought together three historically independent disciplines—art, history, and natural sciences—under one roof. This progressive multidisciplinary approach was to celebrate the many facets of California. Our collections—comprising more than 1.9 million objects including seminal art works, historical artifacts, ethnographic objects, natural specimens, and photographs—and our programs explore and reveal the factors that shape California character and identity, from its extraordinary natural landscapes, to successive waves of migration, to its unique culture of creativity and innovation.

OMCA has reopened its galleries after a transformation that touches almost every aspect of the 300,000 square-foot Museum and builds on the founders' original multidisciplinary and civic-minded intent by improving integration of OMCA's collections and programs, strengthening its role as a public forum, and creating new opportunities for visitor participation. The collections are animated by innovative interpretive tools and interactive features; and new gathering spaces and program areas engage visitors and encourage them to share their own perspectives, questions, and stories.

OMCA nurtures its deep ties to the community by offering many educational and outreach programs. We welcome schools, scholars, local audiences, and all visitors to participate in our events and activities and to discover their place in California's past, present, and future.