Austin History Center

In my continuing quest to visit Austin’s many museums, last week I walked up to the Austin History Center, on the corner of Guadalupe and 8th Streets. I was surprised to learn that the Center is actually the local history division of the Austin Public Library. Built in 1933, this was originally the main library building, but became the Austin History Center in 1983 after the much-larger central library was opened next door.

The Center houses over a million items including photographs, maps, and recordings related to the history of our city. Items can be requested from the closed stacks and viewed in the Reading Room. A Mayors’ Room contains photographs of Austin’s mayors. Meeting rooms and a Reception Room are available for use by non-profit groups.
Two exhibits are currently on display: 
  • Sounding Together: 100 Years of the Austin Symphony  traces the history of the Austin Symphony Orchestra from 1911 to 2011. This exhibit has been on display since last fall. While I was browsing the displays, three women (maybe from the Women’s Symphony League?) were discussing what to do with the photos and artifacts when the exhibit ends next month. Their conversation was almost as interesting as the exhibit itself.

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