Tuesday, September 9, 2014


8 Family Museums to see on Austin Museum Day - {FREE ADMISSION} ~ September 21, 2014

The Austin Museum Partnership is proud to host the 17th annual Austin Museum Day on Sunday, September 21, 2014. Area museums open their doors to the public for FREE in an effort of re-discovery of all the amazing institutions we have here in Austin.

I love this initiative and wish it was a week-long, not just a day!!  Having only one day and so many museums to choose from, I wanted to provide you with a few ideas of what museums your family might enjoy best.

Here are 8 Family Museums to Visit for Free for Austin Museum Day:

Austin's Childrens Museum, Thinkery has been open for less than a year and has quickly become one of the best children's museums in Texas.  With tons of hands-on activities, like making your own airplane and flying it or creating music out of water, there is never a dull visit to this museum.  On Austin Museum Day, Thinkery will have all of its regular displays available as well as special activities all day in Innovators’ Workshop, Spark Shop, & Kitchen Lab. Here is our experience there.

Sunday Hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: 1830 Simond Ave. 

Bullock Texas State History Museum
One of our families' favorite Austin museums, the Bullock Texas State History Museum is a vast collection of rotating Texas artifacts.  Every time we visit, we see something new on display.  The museum also houses an IMAX theatre and an interactive theatre.  This Sunday, the museum will discover the wide variety of symbols that represent the state with hands-on activities perfect for ages 5 and up, art making, performances, and more!

Sunday Hours: 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Location: 1800 N Congress Ave.

Elisabet Nay Museum
The historic Elisabet Ney Museum is the former studio and portrait collection created by 19th century sculptor Elisabet Ney.  This Sunday, they will host Portraiture in the Park. Have a free caricature, make a cyanotype portrait, create masks of your friends and family, have a portrait bust made of you in the photo booth, write word portraits, watch stone portrait carving, and much more.  Feel free to picnic. Food and dessert trucks will be on site.

Sunday Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: 304 E. 44th Street

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Take a walk in the beautiful gardens the Wildflower Center has blooming. The new Luci and Ian Family Garden is now open for little ones as well. Discover nature art, hear a story, and go on a scavenger hunt. Enjoy a BIG Tic-Tac-Toe game along with bubbles and Hula Hoops in the play lawn.  Here is our experience there.

Sunday Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: 4801 La Crosse Avenue

Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms
Take a step back in time at the Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms in Northeast Austin.  Five individual settlements with working docents provide families with hands-on experiences that really show what life was like in the past.   The living-history park and museum has new exhibits and displays, historical reenactments and family fun. On Sunday, there will be Artisans, food, much more.

Sunday Hours: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: 10621 Pioneer Farms Dr

Texas Department of Public Safety Historical Museum
This fun museum is a treasure trove of historical DPS vehicles and artifacts, one my son really enjoyed. It's not as well known as most of the museums in town, so I wanted to highlight it for Austin Museum Day.  Learn about the Four Alerts and how DPS locates, rescues, and identifies missing persons. Interact with Forensic Artists, crime lab scientists, law enforcement officers, communications officers and emergency managers. See current and retired DPS vehicles, police dogs and the new mounted patrol. They will also conduct an informational scavenger hunt.

Sunday Hours: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location: 5805 N Lamar

Texas Military Forces Museum
One of my son's favorite museums in town, the Texas Military Forces Museum is full of military history & vehicles.  He loves the collection of tanks. On this Sunday, they will have specialists on hand who will demonstrate leather working, Vietnam era weapons, Civil War uniforms and equipment and a plastic model activity. Here is our experience there. 

Sunday Hours: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Location: 2200 W. 35th Street

LBJ Presidential Library
At the LBJ Presidential Library you can experience the 1960s with Sixty from the’60s, featuring 60 icons of that era. See original lyrics written by Bob Dylan, a Telstar satellite, a dress worn by Jacqueline Kennedy, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s communications headset, a boxing glove worn and signed by Muhammad Ali, and an original Peanuts comic strip – just to name a few items. Special activities and refreshments from 2-4 p.m., including free gelato for each visitor!

Sunday Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: 2313 Red River

There are so much more than just these 8 - I wish it lasted for a full week.  Check out many of the historical walking tours, such as the Capitol, the grounds of University of Texas, and the Oakwood Cemetery.  For a full listing of all the Museums participating in Austin Museum Day, click here

And here's something cool for those on Instagram: Participate in the Austin Museum Day Instagram contest for a chance to win great prizes. The contest is open 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 21.
To play:
1. Follow @TxHistComm and @austinmuseums on Instagram (link below)
2. Take a photograph at one of the participating Austin Museum Day institutions
3. Post it to your Instagram (make sure your profile is public!)
4. Tag the participating institution and #museumday2014
Multiple submissions are allowed. Contest closes at 9 p.m. on Sunday, September 21; submissions posted after 9 p.m. will not be included.

A total of 3 winners – 1st through 3rd places—will be selected by a panel of judges that include staff from Texas Historical Commission and Austin Museum Partnership. Prizes to be announced.

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