Oakland Museum of California

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The Oakland Museum of California hosts a free admission day every first Sunday. Since it happened to align with Super Bowl Sunday this month, we decided to take advantage of the leaner crowds and spend the morning at the museum. The OMCA is dedicated to the art, history, and natural science of California and is surprisingly large.

The building was designed by Kevin Roche, with an expansion by Mark Cavagnero Architects. It incorporates significant exterior and interior spaces, including a koi pond, great lawn, and many terraced patios filled with art and vegetation. It’s a fantastic example of California Modernism, which makes it particularly well-suited to the museum’s purpose.

Each of the museum’s 3 tiers focuses on one subject as it relates to California: art, history, and natural sciences. We spent about three hours exploring the grounds and the art floor, then took a lunch break. We’ll have to return in a month to tackle the remaining two floors.

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This ceramic sculpture has walls that are close to 6″ thick. The scale is amazing.

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Woven tapestry with incredible movement and color.

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Observed this bee and blossoms while walking the grounds.

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The building is primarily concrete and wood. The many stairs and open wood work create a variety of spaces to explore, and interesting connections between them.

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SOM designed the environmental graphics and they are top notch. The consistency, clarity of information, and refinement were super inspiring. It’s not a museum visit unless I take 20+ photos of signage. Sorry friends.