In these hellish summer months, moving from one air-conditioned space to another is a fact of life. Walk through the open air when the open air would make the Human Torch sweat? No thanks.

Few indoor attractions are as spacious, and climate controlled, as museums. Learning? In summer? See, that’s how they get ya.

If you’re looking to beat the heat or just soak up some culture during another season,  Austin’s roster of museums is deep. Here’s a guide to many of the notable institutions in the community. Check their websites for the most updated hours and admission information.

Austin History Center

Did you see the word “learning” and say, “You’re speaking my language, pal”? The Austin History Center is the historical research arm of the Austin Public Library, and it is the place you want if you’re looking for a little research. So, less “big pictures on walls” and more “sitting in a reading room and examining documents and photos from Austin’s past.” Austin History Center is in the old Central Library building. Review the rules online before you come.

Where: 810 Guadalupe St.

Austin Museum of Popular Culture

Want to know how Austin became known as the land of live music and laidback cool? Focusing on 1965 to the present, Austin Museum of Popular Culture chronicles Austin’s “alternate route to peace, love and happiness,” according to its website. Artifacts include posters from venues like Armadillo World Headquarters and a strand of Elvis Presley’s hair. Formerly known as the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, it was founded in 2004 and called South Lamar Boulevard home for years. AUSPop, as it’s dubbed itself, then briefly relocated to the site of Threadgill’s on North Lamar (RIP); it’s now seeking a new physical location. The collection is currently in storage and AUSPop is occasionally presenting virtual exhibitions, according to the museum’s website.


Austin Nature & Science Center

Austin Nature & Science Center has fun exhibits about animals and plants.

A museum in a park? It’s gotta be all about the flora and the fauna. Austin Nature & Science Center is nestled at the edge of Zilker Park. Since 1960, the museum has taught Austinites about bees, owls, butterflies, water, native trees and more. Find science-y fun like an outdoor dino pit exhibit and a human sundial.

Where: 2389 Stratford Drive

Blanton Museum of Art

Those aren't just walls. The cascading blues of Teresita Fernández's "Stacked Waters" greet visitors to the Blanton Museum of Art.

When you think “art museum in Austin,” you probably think of the Blanton Museum of Art. At least I do; I once lived in a dorm next to the University of Texas facility. In addition to au courant special exhibits, the Blanton is home to permanent collections of modern, European and Latin American art. Plus, it doesn’t get more iconic than Teresita Fernández’s “Stacked Waters,” the blue wall installation in the museum’s atrium, or Ellsworth Kelly’s “Austin,” the colorful, chapel-like structure that’s quickly become synonymous with art in the city. Admission is free to all on Thursday.

Where: 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.


More:Blanton Museum of Art to be 1st major U.S. museum with dedicated sound art space

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