Best Face-Lift

Oakland Museum of California

Usually we leave face-lifts to our Southern California friends, but the re-opening of the Oakland Museum of California is one upgrade that we can get behind. After two years and close to $60 million of work, the museum reopened in May with the addition of more than 4,500 square feet of gallery space and a redesigned interactive approach. The Gallery of California History features some 2,500 artifacts that focus on the people, places, and stories unique to the Golden State and opportunities for visitors to add their mark to California's legacy. Many of the large statues from the Gallery of California Art now reside outside to create room for a rotating lineup of local art that reflects civic and cultural awareness. One example, Pixar: 25 Years of Animation (July 31-January 9, 2011) reflects the large-scale traveling exhibits the museum can now accommodate. In addition, the face-lift isn't over. In 2012, the Gallery of Natural Sciences will open with a focus on California's habitats and the threats that they face.

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