Austin Museum Day: 2015

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Exactly one year ago, I had marked Austin Museum Day 2015 on my calendar. I always enjoy this September Sunday when local museums and historical sites open their doors free-of-charge to visitors. This year I carefully planned my day ahead of time, bypassing the popular museums that I could visit any time. Instead I selected those places that are usually closed to the public or off the beaten track…

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The Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria

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The Contemporary at Laguna Gloria is located west of downtown Austin at the end of West 35th Street. When I last visited, this location was called the Austin Museum of Art (AMOA). A few years ago, AMOA merged with downtown’s Arthouse at the Jones Center to form a new entity, The Contemporary Austin. The Laguna Gloria site now focuses on outdoor sculpture and art installations and is home to The Art School.

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Harry Ransom Center

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The mission of the Harry Ransom Center is to “advance the study of the arts and humanities.”  Located on the west side of the University of Texas campus, the Ransom Center is primarily an archive and library. The first floor is open to the public and features  two small permanent exhibits: a Gutenberg Bible is on display, one of five complete copies in the US, and also the first photograph, taken in France in 1826 or 1827. Larger, rotating exhibits are assembled from the Center’s extensive collection. Two of my recent favorites have been Radical Transformation: Magnum Photos into the Digital Age and The King James Bible: Its History and Influence.

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Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum

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The Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum lies just east of Zilker Park and the Barton Springs Pool. In 1985, sculptor Charles Umlauf and his wife Angeline gifted this property and 168 sculptures to the City of Austin. Six years later, a garden and gallery building were built in the lower section. Their house on top of the hill has been restored and is available for private events. Both the house and his studio will be opened to the public in the near future.

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