Oakland Museum’s White Elephant sale and the ladies who make it happen

on March 5, 2011

Now in its 52nd year, the Oakland Museum’s “White Elephant” sale is legendary. So are the lines to get in and the lengths that folks will go to to be the first inside.

Last year, the ladies of the Oakland Museum Women’s Board arrived in the early a.m. and saw that the first person in line had set up a tent and looked like they’d spent the night.

What’s not so legendary – or the unsung heroes of the annual sale – are the ladies (and a few gents) of the Oakland Museum Women’s Board.

Theirs is a heroic feat: weeding through the mountains of crap people donate. They also find experts to price the gems and make sure that everything they sell works. Then they tag it and display it in the 96,000 square foot warehouse. The profits for the sale go to the Oakland Museum of California.

Volunteer Pam Dos Remedios is a second-generation member of the Women’s Board. Dos Remedios’ mom “volunteered” her as a teen to work the sale. Her sister-in-laws fly in every year for the sale.

On a recent Monday, Dos Remedios was there with her sister pricing and displaying bags, hankies, hats and little, formal hand purses.

“A lot of brides pick them out – why not have something nobody else has?” asks Dos Remedios as she shows us a beaded hand purse.

She adds with a hint of sarcasm, “It’s a trend with young people to have something nobody else has, I know because I read it in the paper!”

If you haven’t been it’s like the WalMart of thrift stores. You can literally find almost everything at the White Elephant sale. While the line does go down the block, I’m told it goes pretty quickly so don’t get too discouraged. Go with a full stomach or bring a sandwich because you can spend hours in the place!

Oakland Museum of California’s White Elephant Sale is on Saturday March 5 and Sunday March 6. The sale raises money for the museum. The location of the sale is at 333 Lancaster Street, Oakland, CA. For more information click here.

This story was originally published on The Bay Citizen, to see the original article click here.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
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