About the Oakland Museum Women’s Board
The Oakland Museum Women’s Board (OMWB) 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 OMWB has been a major contributor to OMCA success for 61 years.
With the annual White Elephant Sale as our only fundraising activity, we have contributed in total more than $27 million in support of the Museum, including: OMCA educational programs, acquisitions to the permanent galleries, exhibitions, facilities, capital improvements, the OMWB/White Elephant Sale Endowment Fund, and more. Our funds have helped improve museum-wide technology and supported conservation and marketing projects.
Over 30,000 school children and teachers annually visit the Museum. Ongoing grants from the OMWB have helped enhance their OMCA experience by supporting docent and educational programs.
Over the years, we have backed many OMCA exhibitions, including the recent and popular Altered States: Marijuana in California; Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing; and All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50. Through our financial funding,theOMWB has helped sponsor the community-based celebration honoring the Days of the Dead tradition and Friday Nights @ OMCA.
In 2002, we established an Acquisition Fund to purchase 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 OMWB is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, consisting of 125 Voting members plus additional members with Associate and Emeritus status. Serving also as OMCA volunteers, OMWB members can be found among the ranks of Art, History, and Natural Sciences Docents, Museum Ambassadors, and as members of the Board of Trustees.
In 2014, the OMWB 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 OMWB, 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.
The White Elephant Sale celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 2019, capping 60 years of fun and great bargains for shoppers from the Bay Area and beyond. This legendary annual Sale will return as an online store offering thousands of items in the spring of 2021. Organized and presented by the OMWB, all Sale proceeds benefit the Oakland Museum of California's programs and exhibitions.
The White Elephant Sale is only made possible by generous donations from the public. Thanks to our loyal donors, shoppers have been able to purchase the usual and the unusual over the years, including a pony, original paintings, pianos, cars, and estate furnishings.
Key to the contiinued 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.
The 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