How to Use This Site

There are two approaches to discovering more about the OMCA's extensive permanent collection in this Web site. You can tour our featured collections to view works of art grouped by specific topics, or you can search the collection to access information on all of the more than 27,000 objects in the Museum's online collection.

Featured Collections
 We have selected eight topics and collections to image at high resolution and feature in our online collections. They are accessible from the OMCA Collections homepage as well as on the sidebar on the text and search pages of the collections website. The featured collections are recognizable by their orange color bar. After clicking on a featured collections name, a brief description of the section will appear on the next screen along with thumbnail images in that collection. By mousing over a thumbnail image the information related to that image will appear. You may also change the view by clicking the 'List View' button at the top of the screen. Clicking on a thumbnail will bring you to an image viewer, where you can find additional information pertaining to that object.

Once you are in an image viewer for a specific work in a featured collection, click on "list view" or “thumbnail view” to return to the thumbnail view listing all of the objects in the featured collection.

Click on the artist's name in an object caption to find other works by this artist in the Museum's online collection. You may also click on any of the 'tag words' to find works associated with those terms.

Once you have finished browsing a featured collection, you can either choose to type in a search term in the top tool bar, or make a selection from another one of the main options. Just click on "OMCA Collections" located either at the top right of each page to return to this main menu.


Search the Collection There are several search tools available to navigate our online collections. All completed searches will bring you to the search results page. A series of thumbnail images of each of the records related to your search will appear. You may change the view by clicking the 'List View' button at the top of the screen. Title, Maker, and Date will appear for each record when you mouse over the thumbnail. By clicking on a thumbnail you will be brought to the image viewer where more information along with a full sized image will be available. You may return to your search results by selecting the 'Thumbnail View' or 'List View' buttons at the top right of the screen. For each search conducted, the number of matching records found is indicated above the image thumbnails. In addition, all result sets restate your original search criteria.

General Search You may type in any keyword, artist or maker name, material, or date into the search window on the collection's home page, or in the search window on the top left of the image viewer. A search window is designated by the word search and a magnifying glass symbol within a rectangular box.

Refined Search In the image viewer there is a button titled, 'Refine Search'. Clicking on this will present a drop down menu with selection options. By selecting a department, multiple refinement options will appear. You may select multiple, or no, refinement options. You may limit your search results by dates as well. In the refined search it is up to you whether you refine with just one of the refining options, 'department', 'refine', or 'date', or use them in tandem to further limit your search.

Advanced Search By applying advanced search tools you are able to search by categories and apply various rules to each category. You can combine the artist's or maker's name and object's title with other criteria such as materials, location, and year created. To access information, you do not need to fill in all of the fields. Your search criteria will be combined using the boolean operator "and."

For example, if you want to find all photographic portraits by California artists in the Museum's online collection, you would choose California from the Location pull-down menu, Photograph  from the Materials pull-down menuand Portraits from the Popular Subjects pull-down menu. To use one of these features, click on the arrow of the corresponding pull-down menu and drag your mouse so that your selection appears in the blank. Click on "images only" if you want to limit your search to only those objects with an image in the Web site. If you want to change any information before you begin your search, click on "Reset" and make the necessary changes. Now, click on "Search" to access the information you requested. For example, fill in an artist's last name, and/or key words in a work of art's title. Then, click on “images only” if you want to limit your search to only those objects within an image in the Web site. If you want to change any information before you begin your search, click on "Reset" and make the necessary changes. Now, click on "Search" to access the information you requested.

If you filled in key words in a work of art's title, the computer will select records for objects that include the word(s) you entered. For example, if you enter 'desert' as a title, your search results will include all works of art in the OMCA's online collection with this word in the title (The Love DesertSonoran Desert Lizard, etc.). Within a title, common words like aand, or the are not indexed and therefore will be ignored.

Index of Makers Use the Index of Makers to browse the online collection's full list of artists, historical artifact makers, or companies. Because of our collection's unique combination of natural science specimens, art works, and historical artifacts we do not have a traditional artist list. We present all manufacturers and makers of artworks equally and show how they are catalogued in our collections database. Some artifacts have a combination of makers, such as printers, editors, poets, and publishers for books. Because of the structure of our database, our makers are listed alphabetically by their first name. If you have an artist or maker that you are trying to find, and you know their last name, we advise using the general search tool first. Selecting any of the makers will bring you to the search results page.

Index of Collection Terms With this tool, you can see a list of all of the terms that we use in cataloguing our collections. This includes scientific and common names for natural sciences specimens, historical eras and cultural groups, to materials and places. Selecting any of the terms will bring you to the search results page.

Accession Number Search
 Locate information about a specific work of art in the Gallery's collection by entering the accession number of the object in the search windows or in the advanced search. Each work in the collection is assigned an individual three-part number. The first number indicates the year the object was accessioned; the second number indicates in sequence the transaction by which the object(s) was formally received or purchased; the third number indicates how many objects passed to the museum in a given transaction.


How to Read the Online Collection's Labels 

The following examples of labels show how each of our Art, History, and Science labels are formatted and are a general guide to see what each text grouping and font are referring to. 


Robert Hudson (name of artist) Born 1938 (artist’s date of birth)

Double Time (title of artwork)

1963 (year made)

PAINTED METAL (materials in the artwork)

Gift of the Oakland Museum Women’s Board (who gave funds to the museum to purchase the artwork—The Oakland Museum Women’s Board is a group of volunteers who raise funds for the Museum.)

A65.196 (museum number for artwork—A: in the art collection; 65: it came to the museum in 1965; and 196: it was the 196th donation that year.)



Design ~ Charles Eames (name of designer) 1907–79 (designer life dates)  Produced ~ Herman Miller, Inc. (manufacturer name)

LCW (title of work)

Circa 1946 (date of work)

MOLDED PLYWOOD (material in work)

Gift of Fink and Schindler Company (who gave the work to the museum)

H74.189.1 (museum number for work—H: in history collection; 74: it came to the museum in 1974; 189: it was the 189th donation that year; 1: it was the first part of the 189th donation)


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