The end of the Oakland Museum of California’s five-year reinvention arrived in spring 2013. The Gallery of California Natural Sciences has opened, reuniting the public with old favorites: the mountain lions and pronghorns, the hares in their summer and winter colors, the iconic grizzly bear. In the new setup, the animals occupy a gallery of their natural habitats, divided into seven at-risk ecosystems, ranging from Mt. Shasta to Yosemite to Oakland itself. The most heartbreaking and exhilarating is the section devoted to the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, 30 miles off Point Reyes. It contains a grim display of what plastic flotsam can do to an albatross’s insides, but also trippily immersive video projections of the sanctuary beneath the waves.
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