Oakland gears up for new natural sciences gallery

Courtesy PhotoTaxidermist Alicia Goode prepares a black-footed albatross for the new Gallery of California Natural Sciences at the Oakland Museum of California.

Oak trees, snow geese, night herons eating Chinese takeout, a mastodon excavation, a brilliant coral reef, redwoods, roadkill, river otters and creeks are just a few of the wonders about to fill the Oakland Museum of California’s newly renovated natural science gallery.

Director Lori Fogarty, senior curator Douglas Long and exhibit developer Don Pohlman recently led a nifty behind-the-scenes preview tour of the 25,000-square-foot space, where plenty of work still needs to be done before the gallery’s reopening May 31-June 2.

Seven years in the making, the new displays will be divided according to seven geographic areas — Oakland, Sutter Buttes, Mount Shasta, Yosemite, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, the Tehachapis and Coachella Valley.

Humans’ interaction with the state’s rich and diverse natural resources also will be addressed in the gallery, an approach that museum officials say is unique to Oakland.

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