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A Natural History Museum For More Than Just Fifth Graders

Ben Christopher | May 30, 2013 | Story Galleries and Performance

After a four-year wait, on Friday, the Oakland Museum of California finally raises the curtain on its reinvented Gallery of California Natural Sciences. Ditching the glass case and tableau approach to science education, the OMCA curators have re-created five distinct ecosystems from around California—in all their weird, wonderful, and smelly diversity. Oakland, Yosemite, Mount Shasta, the Central Valley’s Sutter Butte’s and the continental shelf’s Cordell Bank are all represented (with two more coming this winter). These ecological niches are presented as more than just pristine and isolated nature, but as part of a much larger system in which we humans exist.

Building, painting, molding, and stuffing five ecosystems into a single museum floor in downtown Oakland was no easy task. Above, a preview of the science exhibit just before it opens.

The Gallery of California Natural Sciences opening party starts at Oakland Museum of California at 7pm. $12 admission; $9 seniors and students; $6 for children under 17.

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