Museums That Explore Cultural Heritage

Take the family on a field trip to learn about the cultures of different races and ethnicities, and their influence on our region. While most museums have reopened following protracted COVID shutdowns, make sure to check websites for hours, reservations and safety requirements.
African American Museum and Library at Oakland – Located in a former Carnegie library, this museum in Downtown Oakland includes art and exhibits and information on African Americans who shaped Oakland and Bay Area history and culture. The first floor is a non-circulating library with books by and about African Americans. Self-guided and group tours are available, and the museum also offers online events. 659 14th St., Oakland. 510-637-0200. facebook.com/theaamlo.
Asian Art Museum – This museum’s collection features more than 18,000 artworks from the major cultures of Asia, ranging from ancient to contemporary, which are regularly rotated. The current special exhibit “teamLab: Continuity,” a digital work by a Tokyo-based international collective displayed in a new pavilion, immerses patrons in an interactive landscape of blooming flowers, darting fish and soaring crows drawn from nature and East Asian art. 200 Larkin St., San Francisco. 415-581-3500. 
California Indian Museum and Cultural Center – Open by appointment only, this museum educates the public about the history, culture and contemporary life of California Indians from their perspective. 5250 Aero Drive, Santa Rosa. cimcc.org.
Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco – At the CCC’s Visual Art Center, on the third floor of the Hilton hotel in San Francisco’s Chinatown, exhibitions are free and open to the public. 41 Ross is an offsite community art space that hosts exhibitions, pop-up events and gatherings. 750 Kearny St., third floor, San Francisco. 415-986-1822. 41ross.org.
Chinese Historical Society of America Museum – Located in the landmark Chinatown YWCA building designed by Julia Morgan, CHSA promotes the contributions and legacy of the Chinese in America through exhibitions, publications, and educational and public programs. It also offers tours of the museum and surrounding Chinatown community. The exhibit “We Are Bruce Lee,” celebrating the Chinese American icon, is scheduled to open in February. 965 Clay St., San Francisco. 415-391-1188, ext. 101. 
The Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) – Exhibits explore culture, history, art and ideas that aim to make the diversity of the Jewish experience relevant for a 21st century audience. “Experience Leonard Cohen,” a series of four solo exhibitions by contemporary artists inspired by the influential musician, is on display through Feb. 13. Admission is free the first Friday of the month. 736 Mission St., San Francisco. 415-655-7800. 
Japanese American Museum of San Jose – Located in the heart of San Jose’s Chinatown, the museum showcases permanent and rotating exhibits on more than a century of Japanese American history, including early immigration and art created by artisans incarcerated during World War II. 535 N. Fifth St., San Jose. 408-294-3138. 
The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life – Located in downtown Berkeley, just outside the UC Berkeley campus, the Magnes Collection is one of the world’s preeminent Jewish collections of art, objects, texts, music and historical documents about Jews in the global diaspora, including the American West. 2121 Allston Way, Berkeley. 
The Mexican Museum – This museum dedicated to the art and culture of Mexico and Latin America is building a new location in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens. In the meantime, online exhibits and information are available on its website as well as through outreach programming in the city. 415-202-9700. 
Museo Italo Americano – The first U.S. museum devoted exclusively to Italian and Italian American art and culture, the Museo collects and displays works by Italian and Italian American artists and promotes educational programs to preserve Italian American heritage. Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd., Building C, San Francisco. 415-673-2200. 
Museum of the African Diaspora – Located in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena arts district, it’s one of the few museums in the world dedicated to the art, history and cultural richness of those who migrated from Africa. MoAD’s goal is to explore and celebrate the beliefs, practices, traditions and customs connected to these movements. 685 Mission St., San Francisco. 415-358-7200. 
Museum of the American Indian – Situated on the actual site of a Miwok village in Novato, the museum was founded in 1967 after construction in the region unearthed archaeological objects. It offers permanent and rotating exhibits on Native American cultures, as well as classes, events and more. 2200 Novato Blvd., Novato. 415-897-4064. 
Museum of Russian Culture – This small museum was established by those who left Russia as a result of the civil war of 1917-1922. It maintains a free exhibition hall on the third floor of the Russian Center Building. 2450 Sutter St., San Francisco. 415-921-4082. 
Oakland Museum of California – The exhibit “Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism” – which reimagines the past, present and future through a Black cultural lens with art, video and audio presentations – will be on display until February 2022. Other exhibits include the ongoing “Black Power,” examining the movement in California, and the video installation “Question Bridge: Black Males.” 1000 Oak St., Oakland. 510-318-8400. 
Portuguese Historical Museum – This museum, in a replica 1915 building at History San Jose, depicts the history of Portuguese immigrants, including the role of those who came to the Santa Clara Valley and California. 1650 Senter Road, San Jose. 
Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum – The museum is home to the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on display in western North America. Exhibits include sculptures, jewelry, mummies and a replica tomb. The museum also offers a Junior Archaeologist program for kids in grades K-12. 1660 Park Ave., San Jose. [email protected]. egyptianmuseum.org.

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