Best Museum

Oakland Museum of California

If you came of age in the East Bay, you were probably carted on at least one elementary school outing to the Oakland Museum of California. If you haven't been back since, you might remember the museum only for its dusty Ohlone Indian artifacts and taxidermied native Californian wildlife. But you'd be remiss to write off the decades-old Oakland institution as nothing more than a stodgy receptacle of times past. In recent years the museum has seen a revolutionary revision of its galleries, exhibition spaces, and public events. By hosting contemporary art exhibits like local cartoonist Daniel Clowes' first museum retrospective, major traveling exhibitions like The 1968 Exhibit, and offbeat interactive programming like The Oakland Standard, the Oakland Museum of California has reasserted itself as a relevant and powerful community asset — one that deserves a second, third, and even a fourth visit.

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