The Austin Chronicle

Five Austin Museum Day Recommendations

By Wayne Alan Brenner, September 15, 2017, 10:00am, All Over Creation

With the Austin Museum Day celebration providing free admission at venues all across the city and beyond this Sunday, there are so many options to choose among – and only so many hours in a day. You can’t possibly visit all these places – right? – so we’re offering a few helpful Chronicle-y suggestions here:


1) Austin Nature & Science Center. We love this place, and not just because we’re a bunch of liberally biased, fact-believing, true-newsmongers. There’s so much to see and do and learn in this elegant and knowledge-rich retreat from the madding urban throng, and now Austin’s Art in Public Places has Steve Parker’s Tubascopes enhancing the Center’s woodsy goodness, and at the end of the sun-dappled day we, yeah, we might just wind up hugging a tree or two.

2) The Thinkery. Oh, don’t get us started on how Everything Good in This City Seems to Wind Up in Mueller (like that Alamo Drafthouse and Lick and L'oca d'oro and Torchy’s Tacos and H-E-B and so on – and a Kerbey Lane Cafe coming soon), but it’s true – and it’s especially true in the case of the Thinkery, with its family-friendly, interactive exhibitions of technology and more, with its community-promoting programs and ongoing celebration of what we’ve discovered about our world and what we can do with it. Never mind “Is our children learning?” Instead, ask “Is thinking fun?” Because, at the Thinkery, you’ll know the answer is a definite yes.

3) The Blanton Museum of Art. One of those art museums, the way it’s constructed, the manner in which its exhibitions are presented, you walk through those front doors and think to yourself, “Yeah, this is a museum” – in the best way possible. And the Blanton’s soaring vaults of graphic wonder are now alive with the fantastic paintings of “Epic Tales from Ancient India” – on loan from San Diego – and Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler’s homage to the movie Giant (and to the decaying remains of what it took to bring that story to a cinema-loving public), and that’s not even to mention the permanent collection and what awaits your eyes in the three more intimate of the expansive venue’s galleries. And that giant staircase wall with all the blue tiles, right? Teresita Fernández’s towering Stacked Waters, when you first walk in? That in itself is always worth the visit.


4) Elisabet Ney Museum. A restored art studio from the late 1800s – the earliest art studio in Texas, right there in Hyde Park. Filled, room after room, with the magnificent figurative sculpture of the brilliant Ney, who worked there until her death in 1907. With one room currently featuring new sculpture by Blue Genie’s Dana Younger. And with its lawn and grounds, this Sunday afternoon, bright with live music, and caricature artists, and art opportunities for you (and your kiddos, if you’ve got any) to get involved with.

5) Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It’s like you’re taking a day trip, but without the trip taking an entire day to get there – just a little ways down MoPac on a Sunday afternoon, and there you are, wandering Lady Bird’s vast fields of petal-forward xeriscaping and outdoor sculpture of all kinds, stretching your legs along the manicured paths of environmental stewardship and Spanish-inflected architecture, and remembering to exit (as a cactus-disguised Banksy might remind you) through the gift shop.

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