Austin Museums

Austin museums offer something for everyone, and thanks to their overall quality, they are much more than just good rainy day attractions. Many visitors to the Texas Capital start out at the Austin History Center as this museum at the Austin Public Library offers fantastic insight into the city's history. After getting a lesson on history about the Texas Capital, Austin visitors can wander over to the Bob Bullock Museum and take a look at the history of Texas itself. Highlights at the Austin History Center include a vast collection of photographs and sketches, and over at the Bob Bullock Museum, there is an impressive special-effects theater that puts on various films relating to all things Texas.

Both the Austin History Center and the Bob Bullock Museum can be found in Downtown Austin and are easy to pair together on a same-day itinerary. If time allows, cultural enthusiasts who are hanging out in the Downtown District can also head over to the Capitol for a look or check out the pieces that are on display at the Austin Museum of Art. The latter actually offers two locations. One can be found Downtown, while the other is located in West Austin on the banks of Lake Austin.

The Downtown version of the Austin Museum of Art hosts the majority of the museum's collection, and this collection leans more towards the contemporary side of things. The effort is to deliver exhibitions that cater to the general public, with works including paintings, sculptures, and any other number of things. The exhibits tend to be very unique at the Austin Museum of Art, especially at the Downtown version, and the rates are more than reasonable at both. Following along the art trail, other Austin museums that are worth keeping in mind are the Elisabet Ney Museum and the Mexic-Arte Museum. There's also the Blanton Museum of Art, which can be found at the University of Texas at Austin.

Elisabet Ney was born in Germany in 1833. After coming to the United States, she settled in the Austin area and became a celebrated sculptor. Ney was also a Texas art pioneer, and after she died in 1907, friends purchased her former Austin home and studio and turned into a museum. The museum celebrates Elisabet Ney's life, and various works from the renowned sculptor are on display. The Mexic-Arte Museum is a small museum with a collection that includes interesting photos from the Mexican Revolution, while the Blanton Museum of Art (pictured) is known for having one of the best university art collections in the country.

Some of the Austin museums are more ideal for families than others. These include the Texas Memorial Museum and the Austin Children's Museum. The Texas Memorial Museum opened way back in 1936, and its original purpose was to guard the state's cultural and natural treasures. Over time, the aim shifted to the natural sciences. Biology, entomology, geology, and paleontology are among the disciplines that are covered. Jars full of curious specimens are on display at the Texas Memorial Museum, and rare is the visitor who isn't impressed by the pterosaur skeleton in the main hall. This dinosaur skeleton was discovered in Texas's Big Bend National Park in 1971 and dates back some 65 million years.

Over at the Children's Museum, interactive exhibits of all kinds cater to kids, teens, and adults. The various exhibits are spread out over 12,500 square feet, and they include a miniature model of the Rising Star Ranch and a "Global City" area where kids can learn about the world they live in. As is true at many of the Austin museums, the rates at the Children's Museum are more than reasonable. At the Texas Memorial Museum, you don't have to pay a penny to get in. Donations are welcome.

These are just some of the museums in Austin Texas that are worth adding to your agenda, and there are plenty more to consider. Music lovers, for example, might make it a point to visit the Texas Music Museum while in town. The Texas Music Museum takes a look at the lives and stories of the state's most famous musicians, as well as musical tendencies from other parts of the world, such as the Czech Republic. History and architecture buffs are bound to enjoy a stop at the Neill Cochran House. It dates back to 1855 and is one of the most significant historical residences in the Austin area.

Image: Emery Photography, Inc.

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