UPDATED: OMCA Postpones Reopening Due to Rise in Coronavirus Cases

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The Oakland Museum of California’s Oak Street entrance. (Courtesy OMCA)

This story was originally published on Nov. 12 and has been updated to reflect new developments.

Days after announcing it would reopen to the public on Nov. 27 after eight months of closure, new state-issued restrictions required the Oakland Museum of California to reverse course. On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced 41 counties in the state are now in the most restrictive “purple” tier—including Alameda County.

OMCA’s reopening date is now up in the air. “OMCA staff and visitor safety remain a top priority and the Museum looks forward to welcoming the community back once it is determined safe to do so,” stated today’s press release.

Members would have gained entry to the museum as early as Nov. 20. Plans were in place to observe new safety protocols and manage capacity, with limited hours scheduled through the end of the year: Friday—Sunday, 11am–5pm. As with other recently reopened Bay Area museums, visitors would need to wear masks and reserve tickets for timed entry.

OMCA’s signature interactive displays have been removed, but when the museum does reopen, visitors will be able to explore, for the first time, OMCA’s redesigned gardens, which are free and open to the public during museum hours. According to the museum’s original reopening announcement, the gardens boast new paving, newly installed sculptures, new native trees and plantings, a new lawn and a stage to be used for future performances and events.


One silver lining to the pandemic was OMCA’s ability to make this progress on its “campus transformation” led by Hood Design Studio and Mark Cavagnero Associates. The renovations will eventually include two new entrances, opening OMCA up to foot traffic from Lake Merritt and 10th Street, and a redesigned café (home to Town Fare by Tanya Holland when COVID-19 safety protocols allow).