Thirty-one hour celebration to mark reopening of Oakland Museum

Thirty-one hour celebration to mark reopening of Oakland Museum

Is it a grand opening or an endurance contest? On May 1, the Oakland Museum of California will celebrate its rebirth with a 31-hour celebration.

The museum has been closed since August as it completed a $58-million restoration.

The Opening Celebration Weekend will begin at 11 a.m. May 1 with a Native American Ohlone blessing by tribal member and artist Linda Yamane. The Ohlone are one of the native tribes of Northern California and all of Oakland is on land that belonged to the Ohlone people before settlers came, and the museum has a significant collection of Ohlone baskets and other artifacts.

Project Bandaloop will perform an aerial dance piece in which performers hang around and dance in the air off the façade of the museum and on the steps and in the street.  This dance company gained some fame a few years ago for a performance off Half Dome in Yosemite.

The schedule also includes yo-yo, Hula Hoop and basket-weaving demonstrations and dancing on Saturday night. Pajamas are encouraged for the all-night party.

Sunday’s activities will include an early morning yoga class in the gardens, soap bubble magic with magician Mike Miller, juggling and dance performances with Capacitor Dance (a dance company that combines performance, science and visual arts), Oakland School of the Arts’ Jazz Band, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and more.

 “We are excited to welcome the public back into the Oakland Museum of California, home of our state’s art, history, and cultures,” says Lori Fogarty, the  museum’s executive director. The museum, created in 1969 as a “museum for the people,” has transformed its art and history galleries to make them more interactive and include in-depth interpretative materials.

Visitors to the reinvented museum can customize how they explore the state’s past, learn about the natural, artistic and social forces that continue to shape it and understand their role in California’s history and future. In a section dealing with California’s diversity, they can draw a self-portrait on a digital pad set below a mirror, then see it briefly displayed on flat screens within the group portrait.  In the ’50s area, they can walk into a model of a suburban house where they’ll find pamphlets about building a bomb shelter, cocktail mixes in the kitchen and a cabinet from which voices whisper about suspected communists.

Nearly 2,000 new acquisitions are on display including:

•A 1914 lithograph movie theater poster for “The Sheriff’s Baby,” the first silent film to be filmed entirely outdoors in California;

•A commemorative gold and jeweled box celebrating the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869;

•An 1860s-era Saltillo wool serape.

The museum includes a new 2,000-square-foot store that’s designed to offer a hands-on experience for visitors in a space where art, history and science come together.  The store will host events including author book signings, artist demonstrations and trunk shows.  One area of the store will be devoted to changing presentations of local artists and designers’ works.

When:  From 11 a.m. Saturday, May 1, through 6 p.m. Sunday,  May 2.

Cost: Free for the 31-hour celebration.  (Museum Admission fees typically cost: $12 for general admission; $9 for college students and seniors [60+]; and $6 for ages 9-17.  Children 8 and younger and members are admitted free.

Info: Oakland Museum of California, (510) 238-2200.

-Terry Gardner /special to the Los Angeles Times

Photo: History Gallery reinstallation of a wagon. Credit: Terry Carroll, Oakland Museum of California

By LA Times

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