Texas may be big, but don’t let that stop you from finding the true hidden gems throughout. The Lone Star State hosts a vast array of museums, some of which are rather unusual. If you find yourself craving a spontaneous yet fulfilling outing, look no further.
The Sixth Floor Museum At Dealey Plaza
The Sixth Floor Museum At Dealey Plaza is undoubtedly worth visiting, as it has paid homage to JFK since 1989. Visitors can delve into news footage, evidentiary ideas, and artifacts in the accurately recreated space behind the conspiracy theories. Analyze the scale model of Dealey Plaza created by the FBI or take an audio tour narrated by Pierce Allman, the first reporter to broadcast on that fateful day of the assassination.
Created in Waco in 1885 by pharmacist Charles Alderton, Dr. Pepper is the oldest soft drink in America. A swing by this quirky museum will leave you well versed in the conception of this popular soda. Appreciate the architecture of the Kellum-Rotan building from the 1800s, check out the original bottling plant from 1906, and explore the journey that resulted in Dr. Pepper and other soda brands. Don’t forget to try the famous Dr. Pepper floats; they do not disappoint!
Dr Pepper Museum, 300 S 5th St, Waco, TX, USA +1 254 757 1025
The Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches
The Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches in Lockhart appeared following an instance involving a ladder, a broken clock tower, and horologist Gene Galbraith. The museum is a haven for people seeking to discover the inner workings of clocks. This diamond in the rough is located amid quaint antique shops and tantalizing barbecue joints. Home to the oldest American-made clock, the museum is responsible for the Tower Clock Initiative — a movement dedicated to restoring clocks in public buildings. Knowledgeable guides are on hand to reveal the hidden mysteries entangled with the clocks’ histories.
The National Museum of Funeral History
The saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’ can certainly be applied to The National Museum of Funeral History. Founded in 1992, this place honors those who are in the funeral services industry. A major highlight includes the Papal exhibit, which museum members cultivated through working extensively alongside the Vatican. This museum hosts the largest collection of Ghana fantasy coffins outside of West Africa, an extensive collection of handcrafted hearses, and a multitude of other exhibits. Preconceived notions aside, a visit to this place is a good day spent above ground.
The Menil Collection
The Menil Collection is a true gem in Houston and has served as a safe haven for art and culture lovers since 1987. Privately owned art collections are accessible to the public, and admission is free. Architect Renzo Piano is responsible for designing the building and conceived the varying shades of natural sunlight that dance in the rooms. This atypical museum was founded on the notion that art is a key component to the human experience. For those interested in an artistic anthropological journey or just need a breather from the treadmill of life, a trip to the Menil will satisfy.
The Menil Collection, 1533 Sul Ross St, Houston, TX, USA +1 713 525 9400
Texas Prison Museum
Huntsville’s Texas Prison Museum may be small, but don’t let that be a deterrent. Since 1989, this museum has provided visitors with a cohesive account of Texas’s unique prison history. Exhibits stem from the prerogatives of both inmates and prison workers, offering an objective overview of the inner workings of Texas prisons. Staff members are former prison employees who answer questions from a personal standpoint. Highlights include the history of the Prison Rodeo, inmate artwork, and gritty details about how the notorious Bonnie and Clyde were put to an end.
Texas Prison Museum, 491 TX-75, Huntsville, TX, USA +1 936 295 2155
Frontier Times Museum
Situated in Bandera, The Frontier Times Museum is a contemporary cabinet of curiosity. J. Marvin Hunter founded this museum during the Great Depression in order to preserve Bandera’s rich history. With walls formed from fossilized brain coral and chunks of crystal, this building has stories to tell from dinosaur times. From displays of rodeo champions to Western hats, the Frontier Times Museum encapsulates American cowboy and ranching traditions. Marvin never shunned donations, so expect to be intrigued by a few hidden gems. Experience live traditional cowboy music, poetry, and storytelling every second Sunday of the month.
Frontier Times Museum, 510 13th St, Bandera, TX, USA +1 830 796 3864
Waco Mammoth National Monument
What began as a quest for arrowheads and fossils evolved into a momentous discovery for Texas. The Waco Mammoth National Monument is a paleontological site and museum that is nothing short of extraordinary. With 24 Columbian mammoth fossils from the Pleistocene Epoch, this National Park System member cannot be overlooked. Visualize mammoths roaming around a bygone Texas while gazing at the excavations and mammal remains. The vivacious guides are commended on their capability to set the scene, ensuring that this notable historical discovery is at the forefront of every visitor’s mind.
The Grace Museum
The Grace Museum houses an art, a history, and a children’s museum — all in one building. Thanks to impressive restoration efforts, this former European-style hotel from 1901 is home to the museum. Visitors can explore photography exhibits, historical home renderings, private American and Texan art collections, and more. The real gem is the library, which holds books about works in the museum. If stargazing, ranch history, vintage quilts, or swing dancing interest you, make sure to check out the free museum events.
The Grace Museum, 102 Cypress St, Abilene, TX, USA +1 325 673 4587
Corpus Christi is home to the USS Lexington, a former US Navy aircraft carrier from World War II. This ship is sensory overload for maritime, naval, and aviation enthusiasts alike. It became a museum in 1992, not long after the carrier was decommissioned. Step aboard to witness a collection of twenty aircraft, anchor machinery, and a scale model gallery and to be in close proximity to the ship engines. An abundance of photo opportunities are to be had across the decks. Be careful; the flight simulator is not for the fainthearted.
USS Lexington, 2914 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX, USA +1 800 523 9539
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