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Austin’s Treasures: 8 Major Art Museums to Explore!

If you are an avid traveler and are looking to explore Austin’s modern and contemporary art scene and its majestic Art museums, then you have tapped into the right article.

In this article, we talk about the magnificent Umlauf Sculpture Garden, the Mexic-Arte Museum, and other globally eminent contributions such as other Libraries and Art Galleries provided to the state to grace its Tourists and visitors. 

Top 10. Best Museums in Austin, Texas

Art Museums in Austin

Austin, Texas’s state capital, has an ever-changing, dynamic, yet diverse art culture that attracts both domestic and international artists and art aficionados from all over the globe.

Austin has a lot to offer people interested in the arts, from sculpture gardens and art schools to museums showcasing modern and contemporary art.

In the following article, we will look at some of the top museums existing throughout Austin, including art galleries and other lesser-known gems.

Art Museum, Texas
By: realfaketraveler, Pixabay. Copyright 2018.

1. Art Museums for Contemporary and Modern Art

There are numerous museums and art galleries in the state of Austin that cater to those who relish exploring the modern and contemporary art scene of the city.

Here, we are curating a list of a few such locations that you could visit on your holidays or solo dates.

Art on 5th, an Art Gallery in Austin TX for Contemporary Art or for Art Exibition

Texas University Art Museums in Austin

Some of the biggest university art museums in the country are located at the University of Texas at Austin. One of the largest university art museums is the Blanton Museum of Art.

The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin’s other significant university art museum, has collections of modern and contemporary art, Latin American art, prints, and drawings.

1. The Contemporary Austin

Originally known as the Museum of Art, The Contemporary Austin, which has two locations, including the Laguna Gloria on the shores of Lake Austin and the Jones Centre established in the downtown Austin area, is one of the most talked-about museums in the state.

The Contemporary Austin - Laguna Gloria || Exploring Austin, Texas

The Jones Centre is a new-age contemporary art museum that curates and presents ever-evolving contemporary art exhibitions and new pieces, as opposed to Laguna Gloria, which is a historic residence surrounded by huge gardens filled with native flora and sculptures. 

It also exhibits a sculpture garden that hosts outdoor gatherings, such as some small events or community affairs.

2. Blanton Museum of Art

Another museum worth exploring during your time at the campus of the University of Texas at Austin is the Blanton Museum of Art.

Along with seemingly breathtaking architecture, the museum also has a vast collection of art pieces, including a wide range of modern and contemporary works by artists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol.

blanton museum of art austin texas

Along with hosting shows from the museum’s permanent collection, the Blanton Museum of Art also showcases emerging contemporary artists and up-and-coming art styles.

Not only this, but the museum markets itself by occasionally sponsoring special exhibitions and events.

Private Events at the Austin Art Museums

Private event facilities for weddings, business celebrations, and other special occasions are also available at Austin’s art museums.

On the second floor of the Jones Centre, The Contemporary Austin offers a distinctive and opulent event venue with breathtaking views of downtown Austin from its rooftop terrace and floor-to-ceiling windows.

2. Outdoor Sculpture Spaces and Sculpture Gardens

1. Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum

Do not forget to visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum to enjoy the beauty and essence of art in a more natural setting.

This outdoor sculpture garden and museum is in the heart of Austin, and it features more than 50 sculptures by the late artist Charles Umlauf, as well as some great pieces by other artists.

The garden is a serene refuge where guests are able to enjoy art in a peaceful and picturesque setting.

Discover Austin: UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum - Episode 79

2. Waller Creek Conservancy

Yet another outdoor-based art haven worth exploring is the Waller Creek Conservancy, an open-to-the-public park that runs through downtown Austin.

In addition to several sculptures and installations by both local and globally recognized artists, the park offers other conveniences such as bike trails and walking paths for visitors to make it a more precious and memorable experience for them.

Waller Creek Conservancy Creek Show - Aerials-HD

3. Museum of Mexican Art and other Cultural Institutions

Austin’s multiple cultural museums reflect the city’s celebration of diversity and multiculturalism. Through art and history, visitors to these museums can learn about the many prominent cultures and perspectives around the state.

Not only this, but it also helps in generating awareness among the locals, as well as the tourists, about the many diversities inhabiting this beautiful town and its surrounding areas.

1. Mexic-Arte Museum

  • One of the most well-known cultural centers is the Mexic-Arte Museum, which focuses on preserving and promoting Mexican, Mexican-American, and Latino art and culture.
  • Other than its original collection of almost 5,000 textiles, paintings, and sculpture exhibits, the institution additionally provides a calendar of temporary displays and events.

2. The Asian American Resource Centre

Asian American Resource Center Promotional Video

It is well known for recognizing the contributions of Asian Americans to Austin and Texas.

3. The Bullock Texas State History Museum

It explores Texas history and culture through interactive displays, temporary exhibits, and artifacts.

4. The Mexican American Cultural Centre’s Exhibit of Latin American Art

The Mexican-American Cultural Centre (MACC) is a flourishing cultural organization that showcases Latinx and Mexican-American culture via history, art, and music.

The MACC contains a specially curated gallery section where regular displays of Latin American art, sculpture, photography, and other installations from the exhibits are displayed.

In addition to these, the facility also hosts events, workshops, and educational initiatives that emphasize Latinx culture.

4. History of the Texas Military, at the Military Forces Museum, Texas

For history buffs and military aficionados, there’s another very significant and well-talked-about location: the Texas Military Forces Museum.

Established on the grounds of Camp Mabry, the museum commemorates the nobility of the Texas Army and Air National Guard, the Texas State Guard, and the Texas National Guard.

Destination Texas: Texas Military Forces Museum offers free lesson on war history

The Texas Military Museum exhibits the chronicles and bravery of Texas military history, including its involvement in World Wars I and II and the Vietnam War.

To make the experience even more enriching for the visitors, the institution showcases some military vehicles and pieces of equipment outside the museum.

5. The Blanton Museum of Art

Arguably, some of the most prominent European art pieces were curated by the Blanton Museum of Art.

The Blanton Museum of Art is regarded as one of the largest university art museums in the US; it not only features some globally renowned artists but also houses a large collection of foreign artworks.

The Blanton Museum of Art

The museum’s European painting collection dates from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries and includes works by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Claude Monet, among others.

Furthermore, the gallery has a remarkable collection of contemporary and modern artwork, including works by Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

6. Art Schools and Research Centers

Austin’s multiple cultural museums reflect the city’s celebration of diversity and multiculturalism.

Among the most well-known is the Mexic-Arte Museum, with an emphasis on preserving and promoting Mexican, Mexican-American, and Latino art and culture.

Besides contributing to its collection of almost 5,000 textiles, paintings, and sculptures, the museum provides a calendar for special events and exhibitions.

The Asian American Resource Centre, which recognizes the achievements of Asian Americans in Austin and Texas, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum, which explores Texas history and culture through engaging exhibitions and relics, are two more cultural institutions in Austin.

7. Harry Ransom Centre

One of the most cherished research facilities is the Harry Ransom Centre. The institution includes a library as well as a museum housing some of the most valuable cultural treasures found globally.

The institution houses a substantial collection of manuscripts, rare books, and pieces of art that showcase the achievements of people from all over the world in the fields of literature, art, and culture.

The institution also includes an art school offering skill training and other courses for artists of all capacities.

Inside the Harry Ransom Center

8. President Johnson at the LBJ Presidential Library and Art Museum

Established on the grounds of the University of Texas at Austin is the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, which is completely dedicated to the life and accomplishments of President Lydon Baines Johnson, who served from 1963 to 1969.

The museum not only showcases the personal and public documents related to the late President and his associates but also features some very interesting and entertaining exhibits that cover major events during Johnson’s presidency, such as the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement.

The museum’s collections also include artifacts and records from Johnson’s personal and professional lives.

Virtual Walk-through: The LBJ Presidential Library's Great Hall

The Unknown and Hidden Gems of Austin, Texas

Other than the well-known numerous art galleries and museums, Austin has a few unexpected jewels worth exploring.

An unexpected gem is the Elisabet Ney Museum, which recognizes the works of German-born sculptor Elisabet Ney, who moved to Austin in the late 1800s.

She maintains a sculpture collection in the museum, which also hosts exhibitions of other artists’ work.

Special Events at Austin’s Art Museums

Alongside their existing collections and seasonal exhibits, Austin’s art museums host a range of distinctive events throughout the year.

The Blanton Museum of Art hosts a series of “Third Thursday” programs, including live musical performances, interactive art projects, and museum tours.

The Texas Military Forces Museum’s annual Open House event includes a military vehicle display, reenactments, and live music.

Throughout the year, the MACC conducts a variety of affairs, such as dance recitals, movie premieres, and cultural fairs.

Global Contributions to the Art Museums of Austin

Texas History and Art Museum
By: 1778011, Pixabay. Copyright 2019.

Austin’s art museums have had a tremendous impact on the art world.

These museums provide major contributions to the worldwide art scene by showcasing the work of globally renowned artists from across the world, preserving cultural objects, and encouraging intercultural interaction, leading to the emergence of great art pieces.

The following are a few instances of the global contributions that have been made to Austin’s art scene and its museums:

  • The Blanton Museum of Art houses one of the nation’s greatest and most significant collections of Latin American art.
  • The museum’s collection includes about 2,500 works of art from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
  • Works by widely recognized Latin American painters like Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Remedios Varo are included in Blanton’s collection, which serves as an arena for showcasing Latin American art.
  • The Harry Ransom Centre, a prominent research library and museum, houses an extensive inventory of unique books, manuscripts, and cultural relics from throughout the world.
  • The museum’s archive includes manuscripts written by some of history’s best-known writers, including James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, and Samuel Beckett.
  • Furthermore, the center houses significant international bundles of photographic work, video content, and performing arts material.
  • The world’s finest museum of contemporary art Contemporary Austin has a worldwide outlook. The museum’s exhibitions contain works by contemporary artists from throughout the world, allowing both emerging and established artists a platform to display their work to a global demographic of people.
  • The Contemporary Austin also offers residencies to international artists and creators, facilitating cross-cultural engagement.
  • The Mexic-Arte Museum is dedicated to conserving and improving Mexican and Latin American art and culture.
  • The museum puts on exhibits featuring works by contemporary and traditional artists from Mexico and other Latin American countries, providing them with an opportunity to present their work on a global scale.
  • The museum also supports cultural events, educational projects, and workshops that promote intercultural conversation and understanding.


Finally, to sum it all up, Austin’s art museums provide a wide and intriguing look into the world of modern art, ranging from brief exhibits and exclusive venues for events to secluded sculpture gardens and enormous university campuses housing the greatest art museums, along with libraries filled up with unique and historical manuscripts and written as well as recorded content.

You name it, they have it! Which makes it all the more exciting to explore the intellectual side of Austin’s numerous museums and art scenes.

Regardless of whether you are an art fan or searching for a one-of-a-kind cultural encounter, Austin’s art museums are well worth seeing.

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