Readers’ Choice 2021: Local Museum

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Fine Arts Museums

(415) 750-3600 •

Consisting of two glorious museums: the de Young in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park. Permanent collections at the Legion of Honor include European paintings, decorative arts and sculpture. Of particular interest to Jewish viewers is the moving Holocaust sculpture outside of the front entrance. The de Young’s permanent collection is wide ranging, and includes African art and art from islands in the Pacific. A fun activity for teens is sketching in the galleries on Saturdays at 11 a.m.

Contemporary Jewish Museum

(415) 655-7800  •

The Contemporary Jewish Museum is a regular favorite of J. readers. Focusing on the full expression of Judaism through the lens of artists of all stripes, it provides the community with Jewish history, music, film literature and science. Currently on display is “Experience Leonard Cohen,” which runs through mid February 2022. On permanent exhibition is a commissioned artwork by Sacramento-based artist Dave Lane placed in the museum’s soaring lobby space. The massive sculpture, entitled Lamp of the Covenant, is a 90-foot-long, six-ton work suspended high over the heads of visitors. Viewing this piece is reason enough to visit the museum!



Oakland Museum of California

(510) 318-8400  •

OMCA has redesigned their look and their logo, and simplified their name. The re-envisioning of the museum includes their expanded self-view: “We’re a museum, garden, and gathering place for the community.” They invite everyone to explore the galleries and enjoy the peace of the new outdoor gardens. OMCA celebrates the Oakland community through dynamic conversations and impactful events. The museum has a collection of nearly two million objects, and reflects California’s many cultures in art, history and natural sciences. They are open Wednesday -Sunday with a plethora of fun outdoor events and currently running “You Are Here: California Stories on the Map” inside their exhibit space.

Magnes Museum

(510) 643-2526  •

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley boasts a diverse collection focusing on two main areas: Jewish Art and Jewish Life. The art collection includes painting and sculpture, photography, works on paper and artist books, as well as digital and mixed media. The Jewish life collection includes thousands of objects representing personal and family rituals, synagogue and communal life, and the social interactions among Jewish and host communities in the global Jewish diaspora and the American West throughout history. Located just off the UC Berkeley campus, the museum can be visited currently on Wednesdays only, with appointments available through online booking. Beginning in January, the Magnes will once again offer designated spaces for private and corporate events.



Hiller Aviation Museum

(650) 654-0200 •

A new entry in the J. Readers’ Choice pantheoan, this is a great museum for the whole family. The Hiller Aviation Museum is open daily for visits: adults and kids can enjoy the amazing collection of aircraft replicas along with the real thing.  The oldest aircraft is a replica of the 1869 Avitor, and aircraft through the years go all the way to the 2018 Acubed Airbus. Adults and older children will enjoy the history presented in stimulating ways. The kids (and adults too) will enjoy piloting the realistic flight simulator. Other kid-friendly activities include building robotic drones, and for young children, creating and building large structures using safe and easy-to-maneuver foam blocks. A food truck right at the museum makes this outing a complete day of fun.

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