How a Black Panthers Exhibition Connected Activism of the Past to an Evolving Present

An Oakland Museum Redefined Engagement Through a Timely Subject

When can you really feel arts engagement in your bones? How do you know that you have achieved genuine engagement?

For those of us who work at the Oakland Museum of California, one moment came during our exhibition “All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50,” which was on view at OMCA from October 2016 through February 2017. The realization arrived with a simple text message one Friday night during the exhibition.

Engagement has been part of our institution since its founding in 1969 as the “museum of the people.” …