Austin Children's Museum, located in downtown Austin, is a museum devoted to helping kids learn to think, using hands-on exhibits. Featuring a rotating feature exhibit area, as well as several permanent exhibits. ACM offers free admission to families 4-5pm Sunday upon request.
Austin History Center is devoted to keeping and maintaining Austin history. In possession of over one million items, from manuscripts, maps, and news clippings, to recorded oral histories and photographs, Austin History Center has historical artifacts from before 1839, Austin's founding. Open both to the public and for research purposes, also available is a reference service online and over the phone.
The Austin Museum Partnership is an organization of Austin-area museums collaborating for the mutual benefit of the public and the museums. The Austin Museum Partnership has sponsored a free, city wide Annual Austin Museum Day every year in Austin since 1998. Participating sites include art and science museums, historic sites, history museums, nature preserves, natural habitats, botanical gardens, the University of Texas library and art repositories, the LBJ Presidential library, a children's museum, a museum about Texas music, the Texas State Capitol. The 2012 Annual Austin Museum Day is scheduled for Sunday, September 23, 2012.
Austin Museum of Art Downtown is the main exhibition location for the Austin Museum of Art. In the middle of downtown Austin, they feature continually changing exhibition and education programs that showcase a variety of 20th century and contemporary art. Includes a Community Room, which functions as a place for activities and private functions with gallery access.
The Austin Museum of Art Laguna Gloria location is the museum's original home. A blend of history, art, and nature, the AMOA Laguna Gloria is a recently restored 1916 Italianate-style villa that was the home of Texas legend Clara Driscoll, located on 12 acre grounds that feature a sculpture and historical gardens. Also home to "The Art School," a thriving hub of activity that teaches more than 400 classes yearly. Private parties and community gatherings are held year round.
The Austin Nature and Science Center is a "living museum," focused on the creative use of specifically planned interpretive exhibits, programs, collections, and trails. It has an animal exhibit, featuring more than 90 native animals that can't be returned to the wild. There is a Dino Pit, where you can dig up actual replicas of fossils found in Texas, follow dinosaur tracks, and view fossils from the 301 Congress construction site. Also featuring a naturalist exhibit, and an educational center. The Austin Nature and Science Center also has camps for both children and adults.
Thursdays from 10 AM to 5 PM is FREE DAY at the Blanton Museum of Art. The Blanton Museum of Art is the largest art museum in Austin and features a substantial permanent collection of important works of art as well as traveling collections from around the world. Some of the free things to do at the Blanton on Thursdays include over 30,000 square feet of permanent and traveling collections and exhibits. The Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the foremost university art museums in the country, and has the largest and most comprehensive collection of art in Central Texas. The Blanton features modern and contemporary art from both the United States and Latin American including the Mari and James A. Michener Collection of 20th-Century American Art Modern and the Barbara Duncan Collection of Latin American Art. There is also a notable collection of paintings of the American West.
The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is named after former Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, who was the driving force behind the establishment of the museum. It tells "The Story of Texas" with three floors of permanent, traveling and special exhibits on the history, traditional culture and popular culture of Texas including sports, business, performing arts and technology. It also features a "Texas Spirit Theater," which showcases movies filmed in Texas and the special effects show, "The Star of Destiny," a multimedia experience of the history of Texas narrated by the character of Sam Houston. It is also home to Austin's only IMAX theater, and plays "Texas: The Big Picture," a large-format film, as well as current commercially released movies. During the summer, there is a annual free concert series called "Music Under the Star" presenting popular Austin performers on the Lone Star Plaza under the 35-foot-tall bronze star. First Saturdays of the month are FREE admission at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum from 2 PM to 6 PM.
The Capitol Visitors Center is located on the southeast corner of the Capitol grounds in the restored 1856-57 General Land Office building. It focuses on the history and the qualities of the Texas Capitol and Governor's Mansion.
The Elisabet Ney Museum is one of the oldest museums in Texas, and celebrates the life and works of Elisabet Ney, an early Texan artist. Following Elisabet Ney's death in 1907, her friends preserved the studio and its contents as the Elisabet Ney Museum, dedicated to honoring the memory of Elisabet Ney and to promoting her ideals and visions for the people of Texas. It is also a national, state and local historic landmark.
The French Legation Museum is a house-museum in east Austin. The French Legation Museum represents a conscientious effort to return to details authentic to the Dubois and Robertson eras. Many pieces remain from the Robertson family's ownership of the home in addition to items from Dubois’ Legation. The reconstructed French country kitchen, designed by architect Raiford Stripling, is notable for its extensive eighteenth and nineteenth-century equipment. Further archeological study also provided the location of the privy/outhouse site; there is now a recreation of this outbuilding on site. Also available for weddings and private events.
The George Washington Carver Museum was Texas' first African-American neighborhood museum. Located in the building that was Austin's first library, and later Austin's first branch library, it focuses on African-American history and heritage.
The German-Texan Heritage Society is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and preservation of the German cultural heritage in Texas. Headquartered in the German Free School and guided tours are provided every Thursday afternoon.
Under renovation since October of 2007, The Governor's Mansion was damaged by fire in June of 2008 and will be closed indefinitely for extensive repairs and rebuilding. Built in the Greek Revival architectural style, the original construction on the Texas Governor's Mansion was completed in 1856. Forty Texas governors and their families have occupied the Mansion. Fortunately at the time of the fire, all furnishings and historic aritifacts had been removed due to the scheduled renovation.
Admission to the Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin is free and open to the public. The major focus of the Ransom Center is the study of the literature and culture of the United States, Great Britain, and France. Free things to do in Austin at the Harry Ransom Center include include the exhibits at the center displaying manuscripts, rare books, photographs, works of art and major collections in theater and movie memorabilia including the David O. Selznick and Gloria Swanson archives. The Harry Ransom Center also offers a number of free special events including poetry readings, lectures and movies.
The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is one of thirteen presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. The Library houses forty-five million pages of historical documents which include the papers from the entire public career of Lyndon Baines Johnson and also from those of close associates. The museum provides year-round public viewing of its permanent historical and cultural exhibits. Special activities and exhibits are sponsored privately by the Friends of the LBJ Library and its parent organization, the LBJ Foundation. Beginning in December 2011, the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, will be undergoing a major redesign with a grand opening scheduled for December 2012, in celebration of what would have been Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday. The LBJ Library will remain open throughout the construction, but parts of the Library will be closed at times. Updates on construction and exhibit closures will be available on the Library website.
The Mexi-Carte Museum provides education programs and exhibitions focusing on traditional and contemporary Mexican, Latino, and Latin American art and culture. Since its founding in 1984, Mexic-Arte Museum has been designated as the Official Mexican and Mexican American Fine Art Museum of Texas by the 78th Legislature of the State of Texas.
The Neill-Cochran House Museum was designed and constructed by Abner Cook, the Master Builder responsible for Austin’s most elegant 19th-century houses, including the Texas Governor’s Mansion, Woodlawn, Sweetbrush, and Westhill. Filled with furnishings from 1780-1925 in period rooms: Colonial, Empire, Rococo Revival, Victorian, the Neill-Cochran House Museum provides a narrative for it's former occupants, most notably the Texas School for the Blind and Federal troops during Reconstruction
The mission of the O. Henry Museum is to collect, preserve, and interpret artifacts and archival materials relative to the author, for literary, educational, and historical purposes that are accessible to the public. The museum was established in 1934, under the jurisdiction of the City of Austin, and is both a National Register Property and a National Literary Landmark.
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas is an organization dedicated to the preservation of Texas Heritage formed in 1891. They own/operate several museums throughout Texas, including the Alamo in San Antonio. The Republic of Texas Museum is located at the Daughters of the Republic of Texas headquarters, and houses many artifacts from the Republic of Texas era.
The South Austin Popular Culture Center is located behind the Planet K on South Lamar just south of the Zilker Park and Barton Springs area. Presided over by Henry Gonzales, whose paintings and murals graced the walls of the famous Austin landmark music venue of the 1970's the Armadillo World Headquarters, the museum presents art shows, exhibits, and music events related to Austin art and culture of the past 50 years. Formerly known as the South Austin Museum Of Popular Culture and founded in 2004, most of the original board of organizers for the museum were in some way connected either as employees, poster artists or musicians at the Armadillo World Headquarters, which was in an old Quonset hut located on Barton Springs and South First behind the current location of Threadgill's South. The South Austin Popular Culture Center not only showcases artists of the pasts, but also current Austin artists. Over 40 exhibitions have been presented at the Museum featuring work by Austin artists and painters such as cartoonists Jack Jaxon and Gilbert Shelton, photographer Allan Pogue, poster and visual artists Michael Priest, Bill Narum, Guy Juke, Henry Gonzalez, Danny Garrett, Kerry Awn, Powell St. John, Jesse Taylor, Bob Daddy-O Wade and the originator of the icon Armadillo images associated with the "cosmic cowboy" era of Austin in the sixties and seventies, Jim Franklin. There is also a memorial wall that spans the length of the property that honors deceased artists, writers and performers, philanthropists and others who have been important to Austin’s culture. The launch of almost all exhibits is paired with an opening party with live music on the outdoor stage in the back parking lot that starts at the magical time of 7:09 PM.
Texas Memorial Museum is part of the Texas Natural Science Center at the University of Texas and admission is always free. Texas Memorial Museum has exhibits featuring dinosaurs and fossils, Texas wildlife and gems and minerals. Texas Memorial Museum also has a working Paleontology Lab where visitors can observe and ask questions as scientists work with real fossils. Exhibits of dinosaur fossils found in Texas include the largest flying creature ever found, the Texas Pterosaur, with a wingspan of nearly 40 feet, and the 30-foot Mosasaur that swam the shallow sea that once covered most of the state. The Texas Memorial Museum also has a gift shop with lots of fun and interesting gifts for kids.
The Texas Military Forces Museum is a free military museum located at Camp Mabry. The Museum focuses on Texas Military Forces from 1823 and the first militia musters in Stephen F. Austin's Colony to the present day in 5 different main exhibits, each of which highlights different parts of the Texas Military Forces story.
Free Capitol tours are conducted daily beginning in the Capitol South Foyer and concluding in the Capitol Extension. This tour features the Capitol, Texas history, and the Texas legislature. Tours are generally 45 minutes in length and are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Saturday from 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM and on Sunday from Noon to 3:30 PM. These tours are conducted daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Easter.
Established in 1851, the Texas State Cemetery is the final resting place of Governors, Senators, Legislators, Congressmen, Judges and other legendary Texans who have made the state what it is today. It is located just blocks east of the Capitol and is still in use today. Guided tours are offered with reservations.
Located right off of Zilker Park, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum features sculpture by 20th century American sculptor Charles Umlauf and other contemporary sculptors. It offers classes and workshops to the public, and is open Wednesday through Sunday. Open on Monday and Tuesdays from 10 - 4:30 pm for tour groups of 15 people or more. It is also available for weddings and other private facility rentals.