The Oakland Museum, as with many museums, struggles to attract adult visitors to its main galleries. The problem is museum-going is not a popular leisure-time activity, and when people in the East Bay decide to go to a museum, they often decide to go to a San Francisco museum because they perceive them to be bigger and better. Compounding the issue is the fact that Oakland itself is not a popular tourist destination. Most of the Museum's visitors are local.
A market analysis of all the large museums in the area uncovered the fact that the Oakland Museum is the largest museum in the Bay Area in terms of gallery space and in the number of items in their collections. Armed with these facts, the Museum repositioned itself from just a local museum (2nd tier) to one of the major 3 museums in the Bay Area – and as the world's foremost center on California art, history and natural science.
The Museum plans to do major renovations in 2009-2010, and this new brand positioning is expected to facilitate fundraising and will be the hallmark of its reopening launch marketing.