10 FREE Education Centers & Museums in Austin, TX

If you’re visiting Austin for the first time or a seasoned local looking for a fun & free activity, Austin’s local museums offer a great experience without the cost. Check out the list below for some of the must-see free museums in Austin, TX.

Austin History Center

As the local history division of the Austin Public Library, the Austin History Center provides the public with information about the history, current events, and activities of Austin and Travis County. We collect and preserve information about local governments, businesses, residents, institutions, and neighborhoods so that generations to come will have access to our history.

The Austin History Center’s rich collections and expert staff support exhibits, programs, and research by the public in our Reading Room six days per week.

Website: https://library.austintexas.gov/ahc/about-us

Austin Nature & Science Center

Austin Nature & Science Center

Image via Cliff Currie

Established in 1960, the Austin Nature & Science Center’s (ANSC) mission is to provide hands-on educational exhibits and recreational activities that increase awareness and appreciation of the natural environment. Centrally located on the western edge of Zilker Park in the Zilker Nature Preserve, the ANSC offers indoor and outdoor exhibits and provides environmental science education programs to schools and the community in and around Austin. The site hosts homeschool groups, family events, environmentally focused camps, and adventure programs.

Website: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-nature-and-science-center

Austin Fire Museum

Image via austintexas.gov

Located in historic Central Fire Station No. 1, the Austin Fire Museum features 19th to 21st Century uniforms, photographs, and memorabilia from the firefighters of Austin. Operated by the Austin Fire Museum Hook & Ladder Society.

Website: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/austin-fire-museum

O. Henry Museum

O. Henry Museum

Image via F Rim

The O. Henry Museum is the former residence of William Sydney Porter, otherwise known as O. Henry, the short story writer who authored such classics as “The Gift of the Magi,” “The Ransom of Red Chief,” and “The Last Leaf.” The mission of the museum is to collect, preserve, and interpret artifacts and archival materials relative to Porter for literary, educational, and historical purposes. Through exhibits, programs, and tours, the museum focuses on Porter’s Austin years, during which he wrote his earliest stories. The museum is included in the National Register of Historic Places.

Website: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/about-o-henry-museum

Susanna Dickinson Museum

The 1869 home of Joseph and Susanna Dickinson Hannig was saved and deeded to the City of Austin in 2003. Joseph Hannig built this home in 1869 for his new wife, Susanna Dickinson. She survived the Battle of the Alamo and carried the news of its fall to Sam Houston, which ultimately led to Houston’s defeat of Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto and won independence for the Republic of Texas. For this deed, Susanna Dickinson became known as the “Messenger of the Alamo.” Her home was saved, restored and opened as a museum on March 2, 2010, Texas Independence Day.

Website: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/susanna-dickinson-museum

Elisabet Ney Museum

The Elisabet Ney Museum is the former studio and portrait collection created by 19th century sculptor Elisabet Ney. The museum offers a range of educational programs, exhibits, special events, workshops and lectures throughout the year.

The historic home and studio of Elisabet Ney, a wildly iconoclastic German sculptor who moved to Austin in 1882, The Elisabet Ney Museum enthusiastically celebrates her art, her history and her legacy through exhibitions and events for the whole family. The museum enjoys numerous historic designations and is a cornerstone of the Hyde Park National Register Historic Neighborhood.

Website: http://www.austintexas.gov/Elisabetney

George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center

The George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center is dedicated to the collection, preservation, research, interpretation and exhibition of historical and cultural materials reflecting all dimensions of experiences of persons of African descent living in Austin, Travis County, and in the United States. The museum is also a key source of information on the history and celebration of Juneteenth.

Website: http://www.austintexas.gov/carvermuseum

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC) is dedicated to the preservation, creation, presentation, and promotion of the cultural arts of Mexican Americans and Latino cultures.

Website: http://www.austintexas.gov/esbmacc

Texas DPS Historical Museum & Research Center

The Museum is an all-volunteer organization. The goal of the organization is to establish and maintain a museum and research center dedicated to all law enforcement personnel.

Website: http://www.txdpsmuseum.com/

The Texas Military Force Museum

The Texas Military Forces Museum is a museum about the history of Texas’ militia, volunteer forces and Texas Military Forces from 1823 to the present.

Website: http://texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org/

In addition to our list, there are a variety of free things to do in Austin and other great museums to check out. If you’re traveling as a group and need group transportation in the Austin, TX area – contact us today.

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