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  • Oakland Museum of CaliforniaOakland Museum of California Oakland, California
    The Oakland Museum of California or more commonly, the Oakland Museum is devoted to the natural science, history and art of the state of California and is the only museum in the state that is dedicated to those themes. It opened in 1969, the structure was designed by Kevin Roche, and is a three tiered mix of terraces, sculpture gardens, galleries, patios and pools. Its huge collection, educational programs and special displays have attracted people from around the world. The museum was closed in August of 2009, for renovations, and will open in May of 2010. That exciting reopening will be on the 1st and 2nd, with 31 straight hours of programs and events that will surprise you. It contains over 1.8 million relics and artworks, all related to the growth and evolution of the state. The history of California alone is one of drama, excitement, discovery and determination, beginning long before the Europeans arrived, and still continuing on today with the state being outspoken and outstanding in its new ideas and advances into the future. Their art is a reflection of the marvelous creative talents of its people that began during the 1800s and continues to the present day. The collection began in the Oakland Art Gallery that dates back to the early 1900s containing more than 70,000 objects that have been created by the many artisans of the state and represent just about every aspect of artistic disciplines. These include; decorative arts, paintings, sculptures, photography, conceptual works and crafts; and the volumes and pages of documentary materials like maquettes, sketchbooks, scrapbooks and artist's tools. It is especially vibrant in the landscape paintings that were created during the 1850 to the 1880s, with the gold rush period artworks, furniture, decorative arts and daguerreotypes, as well as the big collection of crafts, paintings, decorative artworks and furniture by Lucia and Arthur Mathews. Bay region figurative sculpture and paintings, jewelry and California ceramics from Margaret De Patta. In the photography collection, which includes Dorothea Lange's own archive of about 25,000 negatives and more than 10,000 prints that came from the period 1919 to 1965; plus the manuscripts, journals, field notes, contact sheets and correspondence. There are other big collections in photography, that include the Joanne Leonard and Helen Nester collections, the Roger Sturtevant collection and an enormous amount of important and talented California photographers.  The state has always been the home of extreme diversity, starting with the indigenous people that lived and thrived here, continuing even today with a steady flow of immigrants and emigrants that have moved to the state for a multitude of reasons and ideas. There are more than 1.7 million pieces of California history that showcases the state's early history and culture from those early indigenous tribes to the Europeans influx to the 21st century. The History department at the museum is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year, 2010, including the period when it was known as the Oakland Public Museum. Their first curator, Charles P. Wilcomb was able to start a collection that represented the foundation of the state's culture; which included the native people of the state, and the initial arrival of easterners. The history department's strongest collection evolves around the photography pieces that contain native baskets, agriculture, technology, the gold rush period relics, business and labor, prominent events like the second World War and domestic life. Many of the newer acquisitions include the stories of numerous immigrants, counterculture, gay culture and ethnic and cultural groups.  To find out the real California story, the how, what, why, when and where, you must visit the Oakland Museum; here you will find out everything and anything about the state, its culture, history and people. It is perhaps the epitome of the American, a mix of peoples that have come together to create a common good, a common goal and a common future.

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  • Chabot Space and Science CenterChabot Space and Science Center Oakland, California
    The Chabot Space and Science Center is found in Oakland, California, and is a hands-on venue that encourages the use of interactive displays, activities, three very powerful telescopes, a digital planetarium and big screen theater. It is a continuation and expansion of the public conservatory that has informed the people of the San Francisco Bay area schools and others with a science and astronomy program that has educated those folks since 1883. The center was named after the father of hydraulic mining and benefactor of that first observatory, Anthony Chabot. The center would open in 1883, as the Oakland Observatory, by a generous gift from Chabot, and it was located downtown giving public telescopic views to the general public, and was considered the official timepiece for the whole bay area, by measuring time by its transit telescope.  The observatory came to the Mountain Boulevard address in 1915, since the pollution and urban congestion was getting worse. During the 1960s, the center grew a lot, and during this period it would be renamed, using the school district personnel and local volunteers to staff its positions. Because of seismic concerns, public schools access to the facility were ceased, although it was available to the public, the school programs were moved to outlying classrooms and the planetarium. Since the center could no longer offer the kind of access it had before, especially to the school students, it had to consider moving to a better location, with safer grounds. In 2000, a new 88,000 square foot building was opened, and the name changed from the Chabot Observatory & Science Center to the Chabot Space & Science Center; all sitting on a 13 acre site in the hills of Oakland. The current attractions include the telescopes, the Ask Jeeves Planetarium, which is a full dome digital projection system with shows every day, changing exhibits containing hands-on displays showcasing space and science topics, the Challenger Learning Center that is a hands-on simulated space mission environment that has 8 teams working together to finish a mission and the Tien MegaDome Theater that has a 70 foot dome screen auditorium with numerous IMAX shows each day.

January 11, 2011