About 40 museums participated in this year’s Austin Museum Day, an annual afternoon of free admissions and family-friendly activities. As usual, I tried to see museums that I’ve never visited, but that list keeps getting shorter and shorter. My strategy was to start downtown and then head eastward.
I began at the Austin History Center on Guadalupe Street. Although I’ve been here many times (since admission is always free), I had not seen their newest exhibits: Finding Refuge in Austin: 1848-1980 and Austin at Mid-Century: Photographs by Dewey Mears. I enjoyed both exhibits, learning about early immigrants as well as mid-twentieth century architecture in our fair city.
Next I headed to the Mexic-Arte Museum, one of my favorites. I went to see their Diego y Frida exhibit (which was interesting), but was thrilled to find out that their Community Altars are already on display (through November 26). I’ll write a separate blog entry about these altars in the near future.
I stopped by Women & Their Work on Lavaca Street. I hadn’t visited this gallery recently, but I know a woman who now works there. The Red Dot Art Spree, their annual fundraiser, was in progress.
I can now check off the Austin Toy Museum from my list of museums-not-yet-visited. This former store front on Cesar Chavez was packed with both toys and children. There’s lots to see in this small space. I plan to return sometime when it’s not so crowded.
Although the French Legation Museum was listed on the day’s schedule, their gates were locked and Closed for Restoration signs were posted. Rats. I had wanted to tour the historic house, which dates from 1841. I didn’t see any mention of this closure in the newspaper or on social media, and I was not the only visitor peering through the gates. Since then, I’ve learned that the Texas Historical Commission is taking over management of the entire site.
I continued a few blocks north to the Texas Music Museum on East 11th Street. Not much had changed since I visited a few years ago. The museum owns some music-related memorabilia and a large collection of wall posters tell the stories of local and Texas musicians.
My last stop of the afternoon was Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms. I hadn’t been there in many, many years. Children were enjoying various old-time activities such as carriage rides, candle dipping, and leather stamping. I wandered around the historic buildings in the village and visited the cotton planter’s farm. It was a relaxing way to finish my 2017 Austin Museum Day.
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