Oakland Museum Women’s Board

About the Oakland Museum Women’s Board

The Oakland Museum Women’s Board is a California non-profit public benefit corporation whose sole purpose is to provide services and funds to the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA). Founded in 1955, The Women’s Board has been providing funds and services to OMCA for over 50 years.  With the annual White Elephant Sale as our only fundraising activity, we have contributed more than $24 million in support of OMCA educational programs, acquisitions to the permanent galleries, exhibitions, facilities, capital improvements, and more.

Nearly 30,000 school children and teachers annually visit the Museum. Our financial funding has helped enhance their OMCA experience through a wide range of engaging and interdisciplinary education programs. Recent grants from the Women’s Board have also contributed to improved museum-wide technology, conservation projects and the recent marketing campaign. We are proud to have backed such impressive exhibits as Pixar, 25 Years of Animation, Summoning Ghosts: The Art and Life of Hung Liu, and the annual community celebration honoring the Days of the Dead tradition. 

In addition to the ongoing support of OMCA exhibitions and programs, in 2002 the Women’s Board established an Acquisition Fund to support the purchase of art and artifacts for the permanent collection. Recent acquisitions include: a Great White Shark Jaw, a John Lewis Glass Bench, a Richard Misrach Photograph, an Ohlone Basket and a Malacology (shell) Collection.

The Women’s Board is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, consisting of 125 Active members and members with Associate, Life and Emeritus status.  Serving also as OMCA volunteers, Women’s Board members can be found among the ranks of art, history, and natural science docents, Guild and Council members, Foundation trustees, and Museum Ambassadors.

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The Women’s Board Mural
In 2014, the Women’s Board contracted with three prominent Bay Area artists – Vogue, Ernest Doty and Griffin One – to paint an aerosol mural on the Derby Avenue side of its 333 Lancaster Street warehouse. Owned by the Women’s Board, the warehouse is the site of their annual White Elephant Sale. The mural shows the Board’s pride in Oakland and its Jingletown neighborhood. The huge mural fills the entire side of the building from ground to roofline and is approximately 240 feet long and 30 feet high, encompassing 7,200 square feet. Showing a theme of nature blending into the urban landscape, it features several prominent characters, including a White Elephant with its trunk raised high. Iconic Bay Area animals and plants are also shown.

Shoe Dept Volunteers

The White Elephant Sale – A 59-Year Bay Area Tradition
The legendary annual White Elephant Sale returns to the San Francisco Bay Area on March 3 and 4, 2018 with the Preview Sale scheduled for January 28, 2018. Organized and presented by the Oakland Museum Women’s Board, all Sale proceeds benefit the Oakland Museum of California.

Made possible by donations from the public, the White Elephant accepts donations almost year round. Thanks to generous donors, over the years, shoppers have been able to purchase the usual and the unusual, including a pony, paintings, pianos, cars, and estate furnishings.

Key to the success of The White Elephant Sale is a corps of nearly 1,000 volunteers. These tireless individuals are the heroes of the Sale, spending untold hours sorting, pricing and displaying the countless items that we are so fortunate to receive. We are incredibly grateful to all our volunteers and thank them for their time, dedication and effort.

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Oakland Museum of California (OMCA)
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) brings together collections of art, history and natural science under one roof to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. OMCA’s groundbreaking exhibits tell the many stories that comprise California with many voices, often drawing on first-person accounts by people who have shaped California’s cultural heritage. Visitors are invited to actively participate in the Museum as they learn about the natural, artistic and social forces that affect the state and investigate their own role in both its history and its future. With more than 1.8 million objects, OMCA is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California’s dynamic cultural and environmental heritage

For more information, visit the OMCA website at museumca.org.