The Austin, Texas population loves their local museums and galleries, and luckily Austin has many museums and galleries of various shapes, sizes, venues and collections. So, how do you discern the best Austin museums? True to Austin’s general collaborative nature, the Austin Museum Partnership was formed in 1998 to promote local museums to the public. Membership in this organization is diverse and includes art and science museums, historical museums and sites, nature preserves, botanical gardens, the University of Texas library and art repositories, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, a children’s museum, a museum about Texas music and the inimitable Texas State Capitol.
A GOOD PLACE TO START – AUSTIN MUSEUM DAY!
A good day to start exploring or rediscovering Austin’s myriad museums is on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2011, a day when the Austin Museum Partnership will sponsor special free tours, exhibits and activities at local member organizations. There will be free guided bus tours of Austin heritage, culture and environment, provided by the Austin Tour Guide Association. One route starts at the Bob Bullock Museum and another begins at Brush Square. The hop-on and hop-off tours run for about 45 minutes. The member Austin Texas Museums offer free admissions on Museum Day, with many special activities and events.
A FEW FAVORITE MUSEUMS
The Blanton Museum, one of the foremost university art collections in the country, is offering a tailgate pARTy in Faulkner Plaza on Museum Day. Festivities include games, music and a hands-on community art project. The Blanton is considered one of the university’s many prized possessions, along with The Harry Ransom Center, the Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas Press, UT Libraries, and the Michener Center for Writers.
The LBJ Presidential Library will host a musical concert and dance, featuring a Beatles Tribute Band – The Eggmen – from 1-3 p.m. on Sept. 25. Along with the energizing music from the 1960s, the museum’s featured exhibit is Left to Right: Radical Movements of the 1960s.
There are also other many other local museum goldmines. Check out the Austin Museum Partnership for more.
AUSTIN ART GALLERIES
Many of Austin’s best art galleries are part of Art Austin, an organization that promotes museums, galleries and alternative spaces of art. Gallery Shoal Creek, in central Austin, was established in 1965 and showcases fine regional, national and even international artists. Wally Workman Gallery is housed in a 100-year-old historic home on West 6th Street and currently features approximately fifty emerging artists. Flatbed Press and its galleries specialize in original lithographs, etchings, photogravures, woodcuts, and monotypes by contemporary American and foreign artists. Women and Their Work exhibits and promotes the work of women artists, mostly from Texas, and hosts over fifty events a year.
OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES – AUSTIN ART MUSEUMS
The Austin Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria offers a combination of history, art and nature on a 12-acre, tree-shaded estate along the shores of Lake Austin. The museum grounds include the 1916 grand home and gardens of Clara Driscoll. This home is listed on city, state and national registries of historic places. On Museum Day, from noon-4 p.m., they offer an Art Scavenger Hunt, a bubble-icious performance, and an opportunity to create nature-inspired art to take home!
Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum features over 200 pieces of art in a serene outdoor setting, complete with a wide variety of 20th century sculptures, waterfalls, small ponds, quaint bridges, songbirds, feisty squirrels, and, well, nature! The bronze sculptures are even waxed so visually impaired persons can touch and experience the art without harming the metal. On Museum Day, the Umlauf is hosting a SculptFest. There will be clay tables for adults and children, working artists, and art for sale, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The museum hosts many fun events throughout the year, usually with good food, drink and music in the sculpture garden. There’s even yoga in the sculpture garden during the week.
BELVEDERE AND NATURE
Belvedere on Hamilton Pool Road is proud to be home to many who support Austin art, museums and nature. Belvedere is an upscale community of custom homes on more than 443 acres, with 80 acres remaining as a nature preserve. Visit us on the web for more information at: www.belvedereaustin.com