The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas  is one of the largest university art museums in the U.S.

The Thinkery Children’s Museum

1830 Simond Ave Austin TX 78723
512-469-6200
www.thinkeryaustin.org

Hands-on exploration is the order of the day with a variety of activities and exhibits geared for kids from infancy to 11 years old and their families. Enjoying exhibits that invite young minds to experiment with light and shadows discover the sound of water (and get wet) or build and launch flying objects from a projectile range. Children and adults alike enjoy learning and playing together in a creative inspiring atmosphere. Look for engaging workshops and special activities that excite the mind throughout the year.

 

Austin History Center

810 Guadalupe Austin TX
512-974-7480
www.ci.austin.tx.us/library/ahc/

As the local history collection of the Austin Public Library the Austin History Center provides the public with information about the history current events and activities of Austin and Travis County. It collects and preserves information about local governments businesses residents institutions and neighborhoods so that generations to come will have access to our history.

 

Austin Museum of Art – Downtown

823 Congress Avenue Austin TX
512-495-9224
www.amoa.org

As Austin grows it only makes sense that its natural love of the arts would grow as well. And so the Austin Museum of Art outgrew its original villa home at Laguna Gloria and needed a new space to house its rapidly growing collection of significant 20th century American visual art. AMOA is also known for drawing unique temporary exhibits displaying the works of various local and world artists. With the museum in temporary quarters in the Frost Bank Building plans are underway to construct a new 140000-square-foot facility designed by Gluckman Mayner Architects of New York on the corner of 4th and Guadalupe.

 

Austin Museum of Art – Laguna Gloria

3809 West 35th Street Austin TX
512-458-8191
www.amoa.org

The foresighted Clara Driscoll who saved San Antonio’s Alamo from destruction also deeded her estate to the Texas Fine Arts Commission. It seems fitting then that this beautiful 1915 Mediterranean-style villa and grounds would become home to the Austin Museum of Art in 1961 and an art school. Currently in a state of transition with a new downtown museum under construction and the museum temporarily quartered in the downtown Frost Bank Building the museum space is closed but the art school is open. After AMOA’s new downtown home is finished the art school at Laguna Gloria will expand while maintaining small gallery space for exhibitions.

 

Austin Nature and Science Center

301 Nature Center Drive Austin TX
512-327-8181
www.ci.austin.tx.us/ansc

Located in the Zilker Park Nature Preserve the center is often the first opportunity for urban Austinites to see their wild neighbors up close and personal. The Birds of Prey exhibit shows injured hawks vultures and owls that are slowly being nursed back to health while smaller animals are on view in the Small Wonders exhibition.  Children are encouraged to participate as “Eco Detectives” and try a variety of different hands-on activities throughout the center.

 

The Blanton Museum of Art

The University of Texas at Austin
Congress Ave. and MLK Jr. Blvd. Austin TX
512-471-7324
www.blantonmuseum.org

With a permanent collection of more than 13000 pieces that represent the best of 20th century American art contemporary Latin American art prints and drawings with some Renaissance and Baroque pieces thrown in for good measure it’s easy to see why this museum is considered one of the five top university art museums.

Formerly known as the Archer H. Huntington Art Gallery the museum was renamed when this Houston financial heavyweight made a significant contribution to create a new museum space. Previously housed at the Harry Ransom Center on campus visitors can now see the total collection since the new Blanton Museum of Art facility opened in 2006. The new facility serves multiple audiences offering a wide range of special exhibitions and public programs while developing teaching research and educational initiatives in addition to its permanent collection.

 

The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum

1800 North Congress Avenue Austin TX
512-936-8746
www.thestoryoftexas.com

Nestled between the Capitol Complex and The University of Texas at Austin this museum is impressively large – but then what else would do when it comes to telling the story of Texas? Museum pieces alternate between the somberly factual (cannons and old uniforms) to the refreshingly whimsical (a rhinestone-studded Cadillac) to the out-and-out amazing (an actual spacesuit from an Apollo mission)! State of the art media including an IMAX theatre make Texas history come alive.

 

Dougherty Arts Center

1110 Barton Springs Road Austin TX
512-397-1458
www.ci.austin.tx.us/dougherty

Another fine example of Austin’s ability to retrofit an art space out of the most unlikely of locations the Dougherty originally was the site of a Naval and Marine Reserve base. Now a full-on city-sponsored home for visual and performing arts the Dougherty boasts an art gallery theater and studio-lab although the center is best known for the wide variety of arts classes offered to Austinites including music dance painting photography and many more.

 

Elizabet Ney Museum

304 E. 44th Street Austin TX
512-458-2255
www.ci.austin.tx.us/elisabetney

Built in 1892 this was the home/retreat/ studio of sculptor Elizabet Ney. Christened “Formosa” (the word for “beautiful” in Portuguese) Ney designed this space in two parts – first building the working studio section then building a living space for Ney and her husband ten years later. Inside the studio section visitors will find full-figure statues of Texas heroes sculpted by Ney while in Texas as well as other sculptures made by Ney of European notables.  Especially impressive are the sculptures of Lady Macbeth Prometheus Bound and SURSUM a study of two young nude boys. Visitors are also given insights to the personal life of this unusually gifted and talented woman who made such an impact on Texas and the Texas arts community.

 

French Legation Museum

802 San Marcos Street Austin TX
512-472-8180
www.frenchlegationmuseum.org

Nestled away in east Austin if you drive too quickly down East Seventh Street you might miss this beautiful 2.5-acre property that has come under the care of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Lovingly restored to its original grandeur the French Legation was originally built in 1840-41 and was the short-term residence of a French diplomat during days when Texas was its own Republic.  A marvelous place to stroll the lovely landscaped museum grounds and carriage house may also be reserved for special parties or functions.

 

George Washington Carver Museum

1165 Angelina Street Austin TX
512-472-4809
www.ci.austin.tx.us/carver

The first African-American neighborhood museum in Texas the George Washington Carver Museum has dedicated itself to telling the story of African-American history and culture and sponsors a number of activities and workshops for children-including the annual photography workshop “A Smile on My Face.”

 

Jones Center of Contemporary Art

700 W. Congress Avenue Austin TX
512-453-5312
www.arthousetexas.org

Arthouse at the Jones Center creates meaningful opportunities to investigate and experience the art of our time through exhibitions programs and commissions of new work. It is the oldest statewide visual arts organization in Texas and the only statewide visual arts organization dedicated entirely to contemporary art.

 

Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms Living History Park

1400 Pioneer Farms Drive Austin TX
512-837-1215
www.pioneerfarms.org

Take a journey back in time when visiting this fascinating living history museum. Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm was originally a 2000-acre cotton farm and offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of early Central Texas settlers with a historically accurate reenactment of pioneer life. Hands-on activities and special programs make this a history lesson that comes alive.

 

Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum

2313 Red River Austin TX
512-721-0200
www.lbjlibrary.com

The most popular and most visited of all thirteen presidential libraries the LBJ Library and Museum houses two facilities: the library with its archives and treasured by history-loving scholars and the museum which allows visitors in all year to see the artifacts from the Johnson era. LBJ’s colorful political career is extensively covered from his humble Central Texas beginnings to his assumption of the Presidency. The museum is geared toward providing the visitor with an experience they’ll not soon forget – including outstanding permanent exhibits that cover the culture of the Sixties to a reproduction of the Johnson’s Oval Office.

 

Mexic-ArteMexic-Arte Museum

419 Congress Ave Austin TX
512-480-9373
www.mexic-artemuseum.org

Provocative insightful and thoughtful the museum is known for its sweeping dramatic exhibits dedicated to exploring Hispanic art and culture and are well known for their annual Dia de los Muertos celebration every October and November.

 

Neill-Cochran House Museum

2310 San Gabriel Street Austin TX
512-478-2335
www.nchmuseum.org

Designed by Austin master builder Abner Cook and laid out similarly to the Governor’s Mansion (also designed by Cook) the museum is operated by the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Texas.  Considered one of the best examples of Greek Revival architecture the museum features classic furnishings from the late 18th and 19th centuries.

 

National Museum of the Pacific War

340 E. Main Street Fredericksburg Austin TX
830-997-4379
www.nimitz-museum.org

It’s hard to miss the Admiral Nimitz State Historical Park-National Museum of the Pacific War when driving down Main Street in Fredericksburg. The impressive childhood home of this World War II hero stands proudly and commands attention. The only state park dedicated to telling the story of America’s participation in the Pacific Theatre during World War II the museum also tells the story of this hometown hero from Nimitz’s boyhood days to his important role during WWII to his death in 1966.  The 7-acre site is also home to The National Museum of the Pacific War George Bush Gallery the Japanese Garden of Peace the History Walk of the Pacific War the Plaza of the Presidents the Surface Warfare Plaza the Memorial and Victory Walls the Veterans Walk of Honor and the Center for Pacific War Studies. With a 24000 sq.ft. exhibit area inside the museum has an impressive outdoor exhibit of Allied and Japanese aircraft tanks and guns used during WWII.

 

O. Henry Museum

409 E. 5th Street Austin TX
512-472-1903
www.ohenrymuseum.org

Once the home of William Sidney Porter known to millions of devoted readers as “O.Henry” this 1891 Victorian cottage was moved to its present location and is the site of the annual family-friendly “O.Henry Pun-Off.”

 

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Northeast corner of Guadalupe and 21st Streets Austin TX
512-471-8944
www.hrc.utexas.edu

The Ransom Center is the home of several museums and collections. The Ransom Center has selections from the C.R. Smith Collection of Art of the American West and the Contemporary Latin American Art Collection on display as well as antiquities from ancient Rome and Greece and medieval art on loan from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and European paintings and sculptures from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. With other treasures that include a 1456 Gutenberg Bible (one of just 13 known to exist in the world) original manuscripts penned by Beethoven Columbus and Galileo and a collection of rare books and extensive materials on theatre arts the center is a research scholar’s dream come true.

 

The Republic of Texas Museum

510 E. Anderson Lane Austin TX
512-339-1997
www.drtinfo.org

Attended by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas this simple collection of artifacts are all from 1836-1846 when Texas was its own country. This DRT-sponsored library is one of the oldest in the state and offers two hands-on exhibits for children: Great Grandma’s Backyard and a life-size covered wagon.

 

Texas Fine Arts Association

700 W. Congress Avenue Austin TX
512-453-5312
www.arthousetexas.org

Texas Fine Arts Association creates meaningful opportunities to investigate and experience the art of our time through exhibitions programs and commissions of new work. It is the oldest statewide visual arts organization in Texas and the only statewide visual arts organization dedicated entirely to contemporary art.

 

Texas Natural Science Center

The University of Texas at Austin

2400 Trinity Street Austin TX
512-471-1604
www.utexas.edu/tmm

Built in 1936 to commemorate the Texas centennial the Texas Memorial Museum includes displays of Texas and natural history including dinosaur bones minerals gems Native American artifacts antique firearms and the original Goddess of Liberty statue from the state capitol dome.

 

Texas Military Forces Museum

Camp Mabry

2200 West 35th Street Austin TX
Building 6406-6967
512-782-5659
www.texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org

Telling the story of the history of the military in Texas from the days of the Texas Revolution to Desert Storm the museum is home to an extensive military history library with more than 8000 books. Special exhibit pieces include a diorama of the Battle of the Alamo a machine gun from World War I weapons from the Spanish- American War and an F4 Phantom jet.

 

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

Interstate 35 Waco TX
254-750-8631
www.texasranger.org

Pursuant to its nonprofit mission the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum seeks to disseminate knowledge and inspire appreciation of the Texas Rangers a legendary symbol of Texas and the American West and to serve as the principal repository for artifacts and archives relating to the Texas Rangers.

 

Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum

605 Robert E. Lee Road Austin TX
512-445-5582
www.umlaufsculpture.org

Stroll around the grounds and you’ll find examples of bronze marble and other sculptures created by world-renown artist and UT art professor Charles Umlauf. Umlauf bequeathed hundreds of his works as well as his home studio and its grounds to the city in 1985. The museum’s xeriscaped grounds feature sculptures of animals religious and mythological stories and family groups rendered in styles ranging from lyrical to abstract.