Thirty-six area museums participated in Sunday’s Austin Museum Day. I took advantage of this free admission day to visit several museums in East Austin…
The George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center
“collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits materials and artifacts which document the rich history of persons of African descent on a city, county, state, national and international level.” The Center is located in a relatively-new building (2005) near Kealing Middle School which reminds me of the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum with its soaring round entrance way. I especially enjoyed the wood carvings by Christopher O Adejumo and one of the permananent exhibits, Austin African American Families
, where I learned that some well-known Austin neighborhoods such as Clarksville
were founded by former slaves in the late 1800s.
The Texas Music Museum “explores and documents all the music that plays a role in the hearts of Texans.” Currently their main exhibit is “Contributions of East Austin African-American Musicians to Texas Music.” This museum is not very big and seems to be more focused on providing research and materials for other organizations. The walls are filled with posters containing photographs and short biographies of famous and not-so-famous musicians from around the state.
The French Legation Museum is thought to be the oldest surviving frame structure in Austin. It was built in 1841 by Alphonse Dubois, who was assigned as the charge d’ affaires to the newly-formed Republic of Texas. The house was barely completed when Sam Houston moved the capitol to Houston in 1842, and so Dubois moved to Houston as well.
The property was owned by the Robertson family for almost a hundred years, from 1848 to 1940, before being purchased by the State of Texas. The charming house and well-kept grounds are now under the care of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.