Plaque-readers, history buffs and diorama-enthusiasts of Austin, you’re in luck. Sunday, Sept. 18 is the 19th annual Austin Museum Day, with more than 35 area museums offering free admission and special activities to encourage interest in local exhibits and the arts. No matter how fast you walk, there’s just no way to visit every museum, center and gallery on the list in one day — here are our picks for what’s worth your time.
This one’s a no-brainer. Downtown Austin’s Bullock is the flagship history museum in the state, with three floors of exhibits covering nearly everything you’d care to learn about Texas history. Special Museum Day activities include costumed interpreters and art projects for kids offered from 12-3 p.m. Spend the money you would have on admission on IMAX tickets instead.
You owe it to yourself to check out the only museum with a planetarium in the Austin area, even if it means venturing to the north side of town. Though, not the future Austin planetarium we’ve been hoping for. In addition to its regular schedule of planetarium shows, the museum will host live science demos and other activities from 1-5 p.m.
It’s anybody’s guess how long Dougherty Arts Center has left in its current form. Art installations and live music await you on Museum Day at this quiet gallery and theatre near the south shore of Lady Bird Lake, along with printmaking and painting workshops for all ages.
Kids (and their parents) will love this community-funded museum’s new Pokemon exhibit and selection of playable vintage arcade games. Whether you remember the 70s, 80s or 90s, this museum has the toys to bring you back.
Aspiring paleontologists will finally get the scoop during Identification Day at the Texas Memorial Museum on the University of Texas campus. From 1-5 p.m. on Museum Day, scientists will provide identifications of artifacts like rocks, fossils, and bones, sure to settle a few arguments about whether that rock from the backyard is really a dinosaur egg.
The Austin Children’s Museum has a shiny new space and name, but the mission is the same: Get kids thinking about science and technology. On Museum Day, planned events at the Thinkery include a Japanese fabric arts workshop and a variety of activities in Space 8, the museum’s “maker lab” which features soldering, sewing, 3D printing and general tinkering for children ages 8 and up.