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Enjoy Free Admission & Activities at 40 Cultural Institutions on Austin Museum Day

Before you join this city-wide celebration of culture this Sunday, take a look at our picks for lesser-known spots to explore

Austin Museum Day
Laguna Gloria (photo by Brian Fitzsimmons)

One of our favorite occasions is back on Sunday, September 17 where you can explore a wide array of exhibits, artifacts, displays, artists talks, performances and more! the 26th Annual Austin Museum Day invites everyone to celebrate art, history, music, nature, science, and more when forty museums in the greater Austin region open their doors with free admission and an abundant agenda of activities.

Photo courtesy of the UMLAUF

Organized by the Austin Museum Partnership, this special city-wide celebration of culture offers a vast selection of experiences that can be enjoyed by individuals of all generations.

Brush up on Texas history at the Bullock Museum or enjoy a stroll through the neighboring Blanton Museum of Art, or stop by the LBJ Presidential Library while you’re on the UT Austin campus. For some fresh air and sunshine, take a stroll through the gorgeous gardens at Laguna Gloria on the shores of Lake Austin or at the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum near Zilker Park. You can also experience what life was like in Central Texas back in the 1800s at Pioneer Farms.

Elisabet Ney Museum (photo by Holly Cowart)

Best Bets for New-to-You Museum Experiences

While you can certainly enjoy Austin’s most popular museums on Austin Museum Day, we also think of this as a perfect time to go explore some of the lesser-known local cultural institutions in the area. Most of the museums will have special programming and guided tours of their exhibits. Check out a full list of participating museums on the Austin Museum Partnership website. Below, we’re sharing five notable new-to-you museums to keep in mind as you plan your day.

Historic Chateau Bellevue – Austin’s Women’s Club

Explore the hidden gem of Downtown Austin from 1 – 4 p.m. Enjoy a tour of the historic Chateau Bellevue, home of the Austin Woman’s Club, and learn about the people and stories that make up the history of this beautiful and fascinating 1874 era building. Check out the incredible Romanesque architecture, beautiful stained-glass windows and ornate hand-carved woodwork.

Historic Millett’s Opera House

Tour three floors of Historic Millett’s Opera House (110 E. 9th St.) from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The art collection, which is exhibited and curated, totals in 117 pieces.

Elisabet Ney Museum

From 12 – 5 p.m. you can visit the Elisabet Ney Museum for their “Re-Imagining the Ney: Draw your Own Path” activity. Learn the many facets of drawing through this family event. Local artist collective, Atelier Dojo, will be here to give a live sketching demonstration using Elisabet Ney’s sculptures as models. There will also be a ton of hands-on art projects led by local artists and educators that will inspire you to draw your own path.

Flower Hill Foundation

The Flower Hill Foundation invites visitors to the 1.38 acres of Texas wildscape and the Richmond Kelley Smoot historic home from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. for short tours. View the display of future restoration plans and a meet with the collections team.

Museo Benini

Located in just outside of Marble Falls, Museo Benini, one of 300 single artist museums in the world, will be open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. with paintings and sculptures by Italian artist Benini on display. Walking trails on the 35 acre ranch lead to 48 sculptures by artists from here and abroad.

No matter what museums you choose to visit on Sunday, we hope you have a wonderful time exploring!