Five Adventures for Museum Day

Porcupines, portraits, and plenty more to rekindle your love of learning


photo by John Anderson

There's no bad day to go to a museum, but no better day than Austin Museum Day (Sept. 18), the annual celebration of galleries, exhibitions, cemeteries, parks, and cultural institutions organized by the Austin Museum Partnership. Over 30 spaces around the city and beyond (find the full list at austinmuseums.org) take part, but here's a few sparks to rekindle the fire of curiosity.

Campus Crawl Scavenger Hunt

The UT campus has the highest density of museums and galleries in the city: So scurry between the Christian-Green Gallery, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Harry Ransom Center, the Dolph Briscoe Center, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum, plus any of the epic works in the Landmarks program, to pick up a postcard and maybe win something special.

Learn How to Paint (and Sculpt) Faces

Germany-born sculptor Elisabet Ney's Hyde Park workshop, Formosa, is arguably the birthplace of fine art portraiture in Texas, so where better to meet and learn from local artists and educators, while walking through giant prints of Cindy Elizabeth's photographs of faces, than at Portraiture in the Park: Who Are You Anyways?!

Noon-5pm. Elisabet Ney Museum, 304 E. 44th. theney.org

Meet Baby Porcupines

The freshly renovated "Small Wonders" exhibit at the Austin Nature and Science Center gets some new small wonders: baby porcupines. Learn all about these spiky pals and many of Texas' native species, from bees to birds of prey.

Noon-5pm. Austin Nature & Science Center, 2389 Stratford. austintexas.gov/ansc

Schedule an Appointment With a 19th-Century Doctor

Take a trip back to the past at the Neill-Cochran House, one of Austin's oldest residences. Let the old-timey tunes of the Duck Creek String Band soothe you before a special exhibition of Civil War medical procedures, and then take the heat away with old-fashioned ice cream and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

11am-4pm. Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel. nchmuseum.org

Smell Benini’s Roses

The 6,500-square-foot Hill Country studio and museum of Italian artist Benini and his wife, Lorraine, has only been accessible by appointment, but finally the couple is opening the doors every Saturday, with a special celebration for Museum Day. Experience the painter's evolution, from his representational early works to his Geometric period, and his iconic roses.

11am-6pm. Museo Benini, 3440 FM 2147 E., Marble Falls. museobenini.com

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