On Sunday, September 20, 2015 from 10:00am to 5:00pm, Austin museums open their doors for a free city-wide celebration of art, culture, history, music, nature and science. More than forty museums in the greater Austin area will offer special programming, including guided tours, hands-on activities, and more, for visitors of all ages. You can download the Austin Museum Partnership app from Google Play and the App Store for access to Austin Museum Day events and other museum information all year long.
If you want to plan ahead, here’s a list of all the Austin Museum Day happenings:
Asian American Resource Center – 1-5pm
Take a journey through India though a special encore presentation of photographs by Rama Tiru including new works as well. Children are invited to participate in an exhibits-based Scavenger Hunt. Historical exhibit “Claiming America: Selected Stories of Asian Americans in U.S. History,” sculptures and international arts collections also on view.
Austin History Center – 12-6pm
Come see our newest exhibit “Making the Grade: Austin’s First Public Schools” and “Austin’s Majestic Palace: The Paramount Turns 100.” At 2:00, local author and musician Jesse Sublett will speak about his new book, “1960s Austin Gangsters.”
Austin Nature & Science Center – 12-2pm
The Austin Nature & Science Center’s program runs noon – 2 pm and our theme is Texas Natives! Get up close and personal with the creatures that share your backyard. Please join us and make us a stop on your route to other great Austin museums!
Austin Rock & Roll Car Museum – 10am-4pm
Rock & roll and cool car fans are invited to come see an amazing collection of vehicles and one-of-a-kind items.
Austin Tour Guide Association – 10am-4pm
Experience historic downtown Austin with free walking tours led by experienced, certified local guides from two locations:
– SW corner of Congress and 11th, across the street from the Capitol
– 5th St. next to the Susanna Dickinson-Hannig Museum
Blanton Museum of Art – 1-5pm
Be challenged and experience an Art Quest at the Blanton. Enjoy navigating through the galleries in new and unexpected ways where you can look, question, and create.
Brush Square Museums – 12-3pm
See the Cisco Kid exhibit and learn about the outlaw through an artistic exercise. Experience the Unity Project, featuring native Austinites’ oral histories, and add your recording of Austin life. Activities include personalized haiku, photos with museum subjects, and a walking tour hosted by the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places program.
Bullock Texas State History Museum – 12-3pm
Meet and greet characters from Texas’ past, get hands-on with Texas history through interactive family activities and art-making stations, enter to win a Bullock Museum family membership and much more!
Chateau Bellevue – 1-4pm
Step back in time and enjoy the Victorian splendor of Chateau Bellevue. This magnificent mansion in the middle of downtown Austin boasts some of the finest stained glass and mill work of the period. Docents will be available to give tours and light refreshments will be served.
City of Austin Cultural Arts Division – 12-3pm
Discover public art downtown! The crawl starts and ends at the Brush Square Museums and showcases the City’s Art in Public Places collection. Meet on the front lawn at 1:00 p.m. for an hour-long guided walking tour or grab a map and take a self-guided stroll.
The Contemporary Austin – 12-4pm
Wander through Texas’ natural ecosystems and meet the animal inhabitants of its wildest landscapes (including our very own Laguna Gloria!) at this Art-and-Nature event. Enjoy a lively performance of Jules Buck Jones’ Animal Facts Club Theater, get a handmade creature-themed coloring book, watch artist demonstrations, and grab a snack from a food truck!
DPS Museum – The Museum of the Texas Department of Public Safety – 12-4pm
Learn about road safety interactively by experiencing driving perils through special goggles, seeing rollover and crash convincers, and helping troopers inspect a big rig truck. See police cars, a police helicopter, drug dogs, SWAT, Crime Lab, horse/bike patrol, mobile command, emergency management, motorcycles and more. Junior trooper badges for kids.
Dougherty Arts Center – 12-4pm
Keep Austin unique, fun, and weird by joining in a site-specific art installation at the Dougherty Arts Center. Everyone is invited to enjoy our gallery, collaborate on a colorful and funky sculpture, participate in a Street Artist Development Workshop, practice printmaking, and play in our Pop-Up Maker Space.
Elisabet Ney Museum – 12-5pm
The historic Elisabet Ney Museum will host Portraiture in the Park! Come get a free caricature, create masks of your friends and family, get portraits in our photo booths, write an homage to your pals, watch stone portrait carving, make a clay bust, and much more. Feel free to picnic. Food and dessert trucks will be on site.
Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center – 10am-5pm
View the two new exhibits, which opened on September 12th:
Sam Z. Coronado Gallery – Cosmic Vida, Sept 12 – November 28
Cosmic Vida Through the artwork that is shared during this exhibit passion, hurt, love and heritage provides the viewers a visual articulation of emotions. The paintings share the social importance of art and culture. The exhibit is curated by Raul Valdez and includes the work of Jerry Garcia, Ernesto Cuevas, Jr., Adriana Maria Garcia, Cardie Garcia, and Miguel Cortinas.
Community Gallery – Art In Austin: The Amate and Tule Project, September 12 – October 12
Curated by Jose Irigoyen and Wayne Stevens. This word means “paper made from bark” in the Nahuatl language and is the name given to Amate paper, a traditional Mexican craft. It was also used for civil and ceremonial clothing, for writing codices, as bracelets, and as cut paper on which symbols of the gods were painted.
French Legation Museum – 10am-5pm
Celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the oldest house in Austin, built in 1841 by the French diplomat to the Republic of Texas. Enjoy tours along with games and hands-on activities on the lawn. We encourage you to bring a picnic and find a cool spot under the oaks.
George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center and the Carver Genealogy Center – 12-4pm
Join us in continuing to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Juneteenth. The museum will present a special viewing of the recently unveiled Juneteenth Monument. The day will be filled with special readings, refreshments, and crafts.
German -Texan Heritage Society – 11am-4pm
Tour the German Free School, the first Austin school chartered by Texas Legislature and constructed in 1857. See historical displays and films, meet Joseph Hannig, Austin businessman and German immigrant husband of Alamo survivor, Susanna Dickinson, and hear German festival music.
Harry Ransom Center – 12-5pm
Enjoy the exhibition, Frank Reaugh: Landscapes of Texas and the American West, and view the Gutenberg Bible and First Photograph. Free docent-led tours of the exhibition start at noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.
Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms – 10am-5pm
Step back in time to when Texas’ frontier spirit was really kicking. New exhibits and sites to explore for the whole family. Farm animals, historical demonstrations and much more in an historical adventure park.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – 9am-5pm
Come and play with us at the center. Discover nature, art, hear a story, and go on a scavenger hunt at the center. Enjoy bubbles and games on the play lawn.
Landmarks – 11am & 1pm
Join Landmarks for an hour-long, docent-led walking tour of a selection of modern and contemporary works in the public art collection at UT Austin. Everyone is welcome to tours that start at 11:00 and 1:00 at Joel Perlman’s Square Tilt, near the entrance to the Perry-Castañeda Library.
LBJ Presidential Library – 9am-5pm
Come to enjoy “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!” The exhibit, curated by the GRAMMY Museum® and Fab Four Exhibits, explores The Beatles’ impact on American culture, fashion, art, advertising, media and music from 1964-1966. Enjoy performances from the McCallum Fine Arts Academy, a 2015 Grammy Signature School.
Mexic-Arte Museum – 12-5pm
Join us for a Piñata-Making Workshop in the Mexic-Arte Museum main gallery. Artist-in-Residence Monica Lejarazu will be hosting a piñata-making workshop while preparing a giant float for the annual Viva la Vida Festival Parade on October 31. Monica will teach attendees how to create and decorate their own smaller piñata.
Neill-Cochran House Museum – 12-5pm
Neill-Cochran House Museum invites guests to visit with Civil War-era reenactors and churn ice cream under the shade of our 160 year-old porch. Staff will offer tours of the historic house and dependency, and young patrons are encouraged to join us for games on the lawn.
Pump Project – 12-5pm
Join us at Pump Project, a non-profit, East Austin art space that provides working studios and gallery facilities to emerging and established artists. At Pump Project artists come together to work, experiment and exhibit, actively enriching the community through new ideas, innovative projects and the creative spirit.
Republic of Texas Museum – 12-4pm
Experience life and culture during the Republic of Texas era. Come play in Grannie’s Backyard and kitchen, dress in frontier clothes for a trip in our covered wagon, and see displays of Texas Patriots, including Sam Houston and Big Foot Wallace. See the Philip Dimmitt Exhibit and much more, including refreshments.
Save Austin’s Cemeteries – 9am-noon
Meet historic Austin residents and hear their fascinating stories at Oakwood Cemetery which dates to 1839. Save Austin’s Cemeteries volunteers will conduct tours at 9 am, 10 am, and 11 am and answer questions. Come and learn how Oakwood preserves the living history of our community.
South Austin Popular Culture Center – 1-6pm
SouthPop collects, conserves, and exhibits vintage posters and ephemera related to the Austin live music scene, from the 1960s to today. Creating a dialogue between cultural tradition and counter-culture, based around Austin’s live music history and its impact, SouthPop maintains a collection that provides an immersive survey of this cultural movement and keeps it weird.
Texas Capitol Visitors Center – 12-5pm
Explore the “Making Headlines: Texans During the Civil War” exhibit. See the bible that stopped a bullet and saved Sam Houston Jr.’s life, the only military medal created by the Confederacy, and orders for the last war engagement. Test your knowledge with the Civil War Headline Quiz on your smartphone or tablet.
Texas Medical Association History of Medicine Gallery – 1-4pm
“Cutting Edge” traces the history of surgery with vintage instruments. Learn about why surgery became vital to modern medicine over treatment. Americans experience seven surgeries on average and compare yours with today’s top inpatient and outpatients lists. Only open the weekend of Austin Museum Day.
Texas Memorial Museum – 1-5pm
Texas Memorial Museum will be hosting Identification Day. University scientists and experts from Central Texas will be on hand to identify natural objects such as fossils, bones, rocks and prehistoric archaeological materials. Don’t miss this unique event.
Texas Military Forces Museum – 10am-4pm
Texas Military Forces Museum tells the story of Texas forces from the Alamo to Afghanistan, from 1823 to present day. We showcase artifacts, weapons, vehicles, uniforms, and equipment including a running Sherman tank. We will have specialists demonstrating leather working, weapons, Civil War memorabilia, and a plastic model make and take section.
Texas Museum of Science & Technology (TXMOST) – 11am-6pm
Come see Austin’s first Planetarium for free! The newly opened Texas Museum of Science & Technology (TXMOST for short) has been exhibiting BODY WORLDS, the Cycle of Life, since mid-March, but now will also have a brand new Planetarium!
Texas Music Museum – 12-5pm
Come enjoy rare and interesting artifacts, videos, and music, as well as four current exhibits: Tejano Orquestas and the Great Tejana Singers, Tejano Conjunto, East Austin African American Musicians, and East Austin Mexican American Musicians.
Texas State Capitol – 12-3:30pm
The Capitol Art Tour shows the capitol through the eyes of its artists, featuring works created between 1880 and 1965. The tour includes thirteen artists depicting Texas life and culture on display throughout the Capitol. The half hour-long tour departs from the South Entrance at 2:00 and 3:00.
The Thinkery – 10am-5pm
Join us for a day full of family fun and learning! The entire Thinkery will have hands-on learning and activities and content appropriate for visitors with children of all ages. Come visit the space where science smiles!
Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum – 10am-4pm
Mingle with Texas Society of Sculptors during SculptFest. Watch live sculpture demonstrations, make art in the clay corner, and enjoy local music. Tour the UMLAUF collection and view UMLAUF Prize winners Ryan Hawk and Gracelee Lawrence’s site-specific exhibition of video and sculpture selected by juror Suzanne Deal Booth.
The Williamson Museum – 1-4pm
It is 1923 and District Attorney Dan Moody is about to do the unthinkable—take on the Klu Klux Klan. Explore this new traveling exhibit and visit the original courtroom. Kids can create the latest fashion of the 1920s by making their own boater hats.
Women & Their Work – 10am-4pm
The 20th Annual Red Dot Art Spree features over 150 artists from Texas and beyond. This inclusive exhibition has something for everyone. We’ve got paintings, photographs, prints, drawings and sculpture. For families who visit on Austin Museum Day we’ll have a special game of “I SPY.”