Welcome to the Oakland Museum of California Collection's website. The Museum's extensive collection of California's historical artifacts, works of art, ethnographic materials, and natural specimens, represents the material legacy of California and its people. You may use the navigation bar to the left to find out more information on how to use this site, the history of the project, our rights and reproduction policies, or more search options.
You can return to the Collection's home page from any location. Just click on the gold 'OMCA Collections' that appears on the top left of each page. You may return to the Museum's home page by clicking on the 'Oakland Museum of California' icon that appears on the top right of each page. Throughout the site, you will find numerous links to related topics or expanded information. Our link color is Orange.
This project is proudly supported by a Fiscal year 2010 Federal grant award to the Oakland Museum of California secured through the assistance of Representative Barbara Lee.
The Oakland Museum of California was created by the City of Oakland in the mid-1960s with the merger of three small, early 20th-century museums—the Oakland Public Museum, Oakland Art Gallery, and the Snow Museum of Natural History. While the Museum affirmed at that time that its mission would be devoted to the art, history, and natural sciences of California, the core of the Museum’s collection dates back to these earlier institutions and representations of these “legacy” collections remain in the Museum’s holdings.
The Museum’s collections are presented in three galleries. The Galleries of California Art and History re-opened to the public in May 2010. The Gallery of California Natural Sciences is scheduled to open in 2012. Our online collections are intended to represent the museum as one institution, without the separation of the three galleries. Various pages will have terms that vary from what you may have seen at museums that focus solely on Art, History, or the Natural Sciences. For example, we have decided to use terms such as maker, which is inclusive of the terms artist, manufacturing company, and in some cases place.
This website is a portal into our collections and allows viewers access to a vast amount of materials not currently on view, in addition to our written documentation about each object. In building this website the decision was made to put our database and records online even though they may not be perfect. Given the scale of our collections, we feel it is better to give access to more viewers, regardless of the fact that most of the written records were written before the advent of the internet, without the intention of being shared with a public audience. This window into our 'behind the scenes' writing is rare, and we want our visitors to have the chance to see more regardless of the eccentricities of the data we are presenting.