High 10 museums in Austin for artwork, historical past and horror

Austin’s reside music, outside adventures and barbecue typically seize the headlines when guests come to city, leaving its museums to fly below the radar. However a number of worthy ones await, and very similar to the town itself, they’ve an artsy, offbeat aptitude.

Listed here are the town’s 10 finest museums. A number of are positioned conveniently on the College of Texas campus. Observe that many are closed on Sundays, Mondays and/or Tuesdays. 

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Blanton Museum of Artwork: finest for artwork general 

The Blanton homes the College of Texas’ artwork assortment, and it’s a whopper, with some 21,000 works unfold throughout quite a lot of genres. High marks go to the galleries of European work, prints and drawings and fashionable American and Latin American artwork, which embrace rooms dedicated to Latinx and Black artists.

Ellsworth Kelly’s luminous constructing set up, with its shiny coloured home windows subsequent door, is a sight to see. The Blanton is free on Thursdays.

 Be taught all about Lyndon Johnson, the thirty sixth president of the US, on the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, Texas ©Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum: finest for historical past lovers 

This museum, dedicated to the thirty sixth US president and Texan, fascinates. Step up beside a lifesize photograph of LBJ to get the “Johnson Therapy” – you may expertise what it was like when the tall and imposing president (he was 6ft 3in) leaned shut to emphasise some extent.

Close by, an animatronic LBJ regales guests along with his recorded tales. Different shows element the assassination of President Kennedy, Johnson’s subsequent position in pushing by Civil Rights laws, and the way the Vietnam Conflict led to his eventual downfall. Tickets are half worth on Tuesdays.

Harry Ransom Heart: finest for bibliophiles 

The Ransom Heart thrills literary followers with its trove of 42 million manuscripts, 5 million images and a million uncommon books. Take a look at the Gutenberg Bible (considered one of solely 5 full copies within the USA), Jack Kerouac’s journey journal, Albert Einstein’s unpublished notes on common relativity, and Gabriel García Márquez’s manuscripts and notebooks. Gadgets equivalent to a Seventeenth-century world map and the primary {photograph} ever taken (from 1826) are additionally right here. And it’s all free!

A children's playground at the Thinkery in Austin, Texas
A household journey to Austin ought to warrant a cease on the Thinkery © Lost_in_the_Midwest / Shutterstock

Thinkery: finest for teenagers 

Set in a giant, pink, box-like constructing, the Thinkery is designed to seize children’ consideration from the second they step inside. Fingers-on displays allow them to get soaked whereas studying about fluid dynamics, construct LED mild buildings and make and launch gliders within the Spark Store.

The superior outside play space gives logs to stability on, streams to splash in, and the three-story, net-strewn Climber to scale. Admission is free on Sundays from 3pm to 5pm.

Mexic-Arte Museum: finest for Latin tradition  

The mural-splashed Mexic-Arte Museum options a variety of works from Mexican and Mexican-American artists. The vivid everlasting assortment consists of carved wood masks, fashionable Latin American work, historic images and up to date artwork.

Exhibitions, which change each few months, typically concentrate on problems with social justice and immigrant rights. The museum is free on Sundays. 

Hullock Texas State Historical past Museum: finest for native historical past 

Large and glitzy, the Bullock Museum reveals off the Lone Star State’s historical past, from the time it was part of Mexico to the current, with high-tech interactive displays and enjoyable theatrics. The spotlight is the hull of La Belle, a French ship that sank off the Gulf Coast in 1686 and adjusted the course of Texas historical past.

Different shows delve into the Battle of the Alamo, the lives of Texas Comanches, the invention of oil and the well-known native music scene. Admission is free on the primary Sunday of every month.

Ladies & Their Work: finest for a fast browse 

Women & Their Work has been doing its factor for greater than 40 years. Pop into the ethereal, industrial-looking gallery set in a former furnishings retailer and you’ll certainly discover provocative works by ladies artists. The mediums fluctuate — you may see work, textiles, movies, drawings or found-object sculptures – however feminist beliefs stay on the core. Exhibitions change each few months.

The gallery additionally hosts dance performances, literary readings and art-making workshops. Admission is at all times free.

Museum of the Bizarre: finest for fright sights 

Pay the doorway payment within the present store of the museum, then step inside Austin’s model of a cupboard of curiosities. It’s extra of a cramped hallway of curiosities, actually, lined with shrunken heads, malformed mammals and wax figures of Hollywood monsters like Bigfoot and King Kong. The present stealer? The legendary Minnesota IceMan, a frozen prehistoric dude chilling below a block of ice. It’s good tacky enjoyable.

George Washington Carver Museum: finest freebie 

The Carver Museum celebrates Black historical past and tradition in its cool, compact house. Everlasting displays cowl freedmen’s communities in Texas and the historical past of Juneteenth (the vacation originated in Texas), whereas the Youngsters’s Gallery introduces well-known Black inventors, together with the museum’s namesake, who created the idea of crop rotation and developed 300 totally different makes use of for peanuts.

Better of all are the 2 artwork galleries that present rotating exhibitions – say, musician George Clinton’s spacey work or the works of road photographer Jamal Shabazz.   

Up to date Austin – Laguna Gloria: finest for outside artwork 

Monumental sculptures by big-name artists stand up amid the woodlands and gardens of Laguna Gloria, a beautiful artwork park on the shore of Lake Austin. Wander the meditative pathways and hearken to birdsong whereas gaping at Tom Friedman’s Wanting Up, a 33ft man fabricated from aluminum foil pans; Ai Weiwei’s Iron Tree Trunk, a lifeless ringer for a decomposed oak; and plenty of extra works. Laguna Gloria is a part of the Up to date Austin, which additionally operates the downtown Jones Heart, Austin’s fashionable artwork museum. Admission covers each websites, and so they’re free on Thursdays.