35 Museums to Visit with Free Entry on Austin Museum Day

Enjoy dozens of Austin-area museums for free in a celebration of art, culture, history, music, nature, science, and play on September 18, 2022, otherwise known as Austin Museum Day.

Austin Museum Day is presented by The Austin Museum Partnership (AMP), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that promotes and facilitates collaboration within the museum community for the benefit of Austin museums and the community at large. AMP has coordinated Austin Museum Day since 1998.

austin museum day
Photo Credit: AMP

Museum Day Events

This year encourages attendees to a Campus Crawl Scavenger Hunt and an Instagram Photo Contest!

Campus Crawl Scavenger Hunt

Create, examine, and explore with some of Austin’s finest museums and galleries during the Campus Crawl! Grab a postcard from any of these six participating museums and galleries: Christian-Green Gallery, Landmarks, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Harry Ransom Center, the Dolph Briscoe Center, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum, and journey through various art and history exhibitions on UT Austin’s campus for a uniquely Austin scavenger hunt.

Instagram Photo Contest

Participate in the Austin Museum Day Instagram Photo Contest for a chance to win great prizes donated by The Austin Museum Partnership (AMP)’s member institutions!

  1. Follow @austinmuseums on Instagram
  2. Take a photograph (or 2 or more!) at any of the participating Austin Museum Day institutions
  3. Post it to your Instagram (your profile must be public!)
  4. Tag the participating organization with the following hashtags: #AustinMuseumDay2022 and #AMDPhotoContest

Museums with Free Entry on Austin Museum Day

Art Galleries at Black Studies

Swing by the Christian-Green Gallery to create a print inspired by the current exhibition dedicated to artist Melvin Edwards! Come engage with the artwork and take away your creative piece. This site is a stop on the UT Campus Crawl.

Austin History Center

Along with two new exhibits, AMP will have activities for kids and families including Zine and printmaking, refreshments, a “Preservation Station” to who you how to preserve your family’s history, and more!

Austin Museum of Popular Culture

Come learn about Austin’s music history from the cultural anthropologists who lived it.

Austin Nature and Science Center

What’s the buzz at the Austin Nature & Science Center this Fall? Learn about our European honey bees while checking out the inner workings of a living hive! AMP will have bee-themed crafts and activities and guided hikes through the Zilker Nature Preserve.

Blanton Museum of Art

Pick a self-guided activity and spend quality time with artwork in Blanton’s collection or the special exhibition “Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America”. The museum entrance faces Brazos St. This site is a stop on the UT Campus Crawl.

Briscoe Center for American History

Visit us to see a sample of the Briscoe Center’s vast collections documenting American history. On display now: stunning large-format photographs in the exhibit “Present/Past: The Robert Polidori Photographic Archive.” This site is a stop on the UT Campus Crawl.

Brush Square Museums

Brush Square Museums will be sharing hands-on history activities at the Susanna Dickinson Museum including spinning, crochet, and a lacing activity for children. The O. Henry Museum will have word games for the whole family with Texas-themed prizes. Enjoy a day of free fun at Brush Square. Don’t leave empty handed-take your project with you!

Bullock Texas State History Museum

Commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month at Austin Museum Day and explore Texas cultures through engaging conversations and hands-on activities. This year, Austin Museum Day will celebrate Canary Islanders and their descendants in Texas. From 10 am – 2 pm, special family programs combine art creation, activity stations, and in-gallery discovery centers. This site is a stop on the UT Campus Crawl.

Chateau Bellevue, Home of the Austin Woman’s Club

Come explore the hidden gem of Downtown Austin! Enjoy a tour of the historic Chateau Bellevue given by one of our wonderful docents, and learn about the people and stories that make up the history of this beautiful and fascinating building built in 1874! Check out the incredible Romanesque architecture, beautiful stained-glass windows, and ornate hand-carved woodwork! Please enter through the entrance at 708 San Antonio Street or through the parking lot elevator on Nueces Street between 7th & 8th Streets; free parking lot on Nueces St.

City of Austin Art in Public Places

Did you know that the City of Austin’s ‘Art in Public Places’ collection has over 300 pieces? Many of those artworks are accessible by the public 24 hours a day—a museum without walls! Explore these sites in person by taking a self-guided tour.

The Contemporary Austin

Join the opening weekend of their fall exhibition! They will have artmaking, performances, and refreshments at both museum locations: Stop by the Jones Center to see the 7-artist exhibition IN A DREAM YOU SAW A WAY TO SURVIVE AND YOU WERE FULL OF JOY, dig into the newly opened Learning Lounge, and catch a performance in the Community Room. Then head up to the rooftop for some art activities and lawn games. At Laguna Gloria, see a brand new work of art by one of the exhibiting artists, Clare Rojas, and make nature-themed work of art to take home. Enjoy a visit from some local wildlife, learn about the rest of the art on view at the sculpture park, and hang out on the grass with refreshments and games.

Dougherty Arts Center

The Dougherty Arts Center opens its doors for Austin Museum Day 2022! Come visit the Julia C. Butridge gallery and take part in fun and interactive art experiences during this free event. Help celebrate art, culture, history, music, nature, and science in Austin in a city-wide tour sponsored by Austin Museum Partnership.

Elisabet Ney Museum

Come explore the many ways to produce portraits using crayons, paint, clay, words, rocks, music, pieces of metal, and found objects! The Elisabet Ney Museum will celebrate Elisabet’s passion for portraiture through this afternoon event. Visitors will also be able to check out Cindy Elizabeth’s giant portrait photographs on view of the museum’s historic landscape!

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

Celebrate Latinx Heritage Month at the ESB Mexican American Cultural Center! (ESB MACC). Visit the exhibit of local Chicano art in the Main Gallery (upstairs). In the Community Gallery (downstairs) you can learn about the Phase 2 expansion of our Center and participate in fun youth-oriented activities. You can imagine what your artwork would look like in our future gallery, learn what architects do when designing a building expansion like ours, and give feedback on what kinds of programs you want to see in our future building!

Flower Hill Foundation

Come visit the oldest extant homestead in Austin! Built in 1877, Flower Hill was established as the family home of the Smoots, a family of civil servants that founded many of today’s Austin institutions including the Central Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Seminary, the Austin American newspaper (predecessor to the Austin American-Statesman). Countless students have been educated by UT professors and high school teachers who lived at Flower Hill. Tour guides will be on-site to talk about the history of the family and the site as well as plans for the site’s future redevelopment.

French Legation State Historic Site

Explore the homestead of Austin’s oldest residence at the French Legation State Historic Site! Catch a free guided tour. Visitor Parking Lot located at 900 East 9th Street. Street parking around the site is free on Sunday.

Galaxy Art & Entertainment Gallery

Visit the Galaxy Art & Entertainment Gallery this Museum Day to check out a wide variety of pop culture and sci-fi memorabilia. For an extra fee, from 1-6 pm actress Sussana Malak, featured in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett will be on-site signing autographs.

Harry Ransom Center

View the exhibitions “The Writers: Photographs by Laura Wilson” and “Stories to Tell” featuring displays about the early career of actor Robert DeNiro and recent acquisitions.” Join docent tours of the exhibitions at 1 pm and 2 pm. This site is a stop on the UT Campus Crawl.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Featuring nearly 900 native plant species and miles of trails, there’s plenty to explore at UT’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Landmarks, The Public Art Program at The University of Texas, Austin

On Austin Museum Day, Landmarks (UT’s public art program) will participate in a Campus Crawl showcasing art on the Forty Acres. Visit Clock Knot to get your stamp and to join a 30-minute guided tour of select Landmarks works. Prefer to explore at your own pace? Visit Landmarks’ app for a variety of self-guided tour options. This site is a stop on the UT Campus Crawl.

LBJ Presidential Library

Say cheese! Visit the LBJ Presidential Library & Museum on Austin Museum Day, September 18th, and leave as a White House photographer in the making. From 10 AM to 1 PM, kids can grab one of our Fuji Instax Instant cameras to explore the museum and experience the legacy of LBJ through photography. Children will use their photos to create memory books, families will take home a priceless keepsake to enjoy for years to come! Plus, they’ll have free giveaways for adults. See the LBJ Library through the lens of your kids. Special thanks to Precision Camera for partnering with AMP.

Math Happens Foundation

Come interact with some fun math at the Math Room at the Austin Nature and Science Center (12 pm – 3 pm), play a classic math game or puzzle from the late 1800s at Neill-Cochran House Museum (11 am – 2 pm), or explore historic ship navigation at the Bullock Texas State History Museum (10 am – 2 pm). All ages!

Mexic-Arte Museum

The Mexic-Arte Museum invites you to participate in Austin’s Annual Museum Day, where we will conduct a printmaking workshop led by local artist Luis Santiago. Join us from 1:00 PM-4:00 PM to learn more about the medium and create your design!

Neill-Cochran House Museum

This year celebrate Austin Museum Day at the Neill-Cochran House Museum with Civil War Reenacts, Victorian Ladies, a sewing demonstration, local artists, crafts and lawn games, and everyone’s favorite fresh squeezed lemonade and homemade ice cream. Our shaded front lawn will be the perfect place to meet and learn about the Civil War and Victorian Eras. Feeling hungry? Bring a blanket and enjoy lunch in the shade of our beautiful 100-year-old pecan tree.

Pioneer Farms

Guided history tours, artisans at work, and new hands-on exhibits will allow visitors to step back in time and experience Texas during the 1800s. Six history sites feature log cabins, longhorn cattle, a century-old dance hall, and a historic greenbelt that put Austin on the map as the capital of the Republic of Texas. Engage Lone Star history like no place else in Texas, for visitors of all ages.

Save Austin’s Cemeteries and Oakwood Chapel

Visit for walking tours of Oakwood Cemetery and view the exhibit “To Emancipate” at the Oakwood Chapel.

Texas Capitol Visitors Center

Enjoy a new interactive digital component with additional photographs and video from the Texas Governor’s Mansion exhibit on display at the Capitol Visitors Center (CVC). Then take home a Governor’s Mansion activity booklet from the CVC. Located in the castle-like structure on the southeast corner of the Capitol Grounds.

Texas Military Forces Museum

Visit the Texas Military Forces Museum to learn about the history of the military forces of the State of Texas from 1823 to the present day. We have 26,000 square feet of exhibit space with everything from tanks to utensils and all the artifacts in between. They will have a couple of special “hands-on” activities in honor of Austin Museum Day.

Texas Music Museum

Stay tuned for more info about Museum Day at the Texas Music Museum!

Texas State Capitol

Join a guided or self-guided tour of the Capitol and learn about the history of Texas and the seat of state government. Gaze upon historical works of art and climb the monumental stairs. Explore the 22 acres of the Capitol Grounds, a relaxing place to experience nature in downtown Austin. Tours will be given periodically from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Texas State Cemetery

Come take a self-guided tour of the Texas State Cemetery. Discover the lives of the diverse men and women who have helped make the state of Texas the place it is today. Visit monuments on the grounds and reflect on the sacrifices made by Texans during times of war and peace.

Thinkery

Join Thinkery for some STEAM-based fun! All ages are welcome to visit and explore interactive gallery spaces — including our newest addition, Notion Of Motion. Check out their social media pages and website for updates!

UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum

Enjoy a free day at the museum filled with family-friendly crafts, tours, and more!

The Williamson Museum

The Circus is coming to The Williamson Museum! Stop by on Sunday, September 18th from 1 pm-3 pm to see our new Barbette exhibit detailing the life and career of this female impersonator and world-renowned aerialist. There will be hands-on crafts, demonstrators, and circus snacks. See you under the big top!

Women & Their Work

Rachel Wolfson Smith’s The Future Is Behind Us blurs past, present, and future needs for beauty and connection into a celebration of nature to answer that calling. Smith’s signature drawings break into new art forms that unite light, plants, and emotional needs. Explore the gallery and create your nature drawing.

Featured Image Credit: @kmjefferson on Instagram

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