- A. J. Samuels
With museums that explore the history of “Cowtown,” display world-class art collections, and indulge visitor’s cowboy fantasies, Fort Worth rivals Dallas for the title of cultural center of DFW. Add a thriving local art scene and a number of dedicated specialty galleries, and the city appears to take the crown. Decide for yourself with our guide to the best museums and galleries in Fort Worth.
Kimbell Art Museum
Even casual art fans will appreciate the breadth of the Kimbell. From ancient art to 20th-century pieces, the Kimbell’s display is world-class. It contains Michelangelo’s first painting as well as works from Rembrandt, Picasso, and Monet, making it one of the country’s best small museums. Recognized as a prime example of modern architecture, the building itself has an open-floor plan and is filled with natural light. The Kimbell’s permanent collection is manageable in one visit, while high-profile traveling exhibits are worth returning for. Enjoy lunch at the museum’s well-prepared buffet of sandwiches, salads, and quiches, and sit in the manicured courtyard of one of the city’s best museums.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday: 10:00am to 5:00pm. Friday: 12:00pm to 8:00pm. Sunday: 12:00pm to 5:00pm
Admission: Permanent Collection is free. Special Exhibitions: $14-$18
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
If the hordes of people lining up at the Washington D.C. Bureau of Engraving and Printing — the only other location in the country — are any indication of quality, then Fort Worth’s branch is well worth visiting. Guided tours at this working facility take visitors through the history of currency manufacturing before arriving at the production floor. From a walkway above the floor, you can see millions of U.S. dollars being made. Exploring the facility where half of the nation’s currency is produced is exciting, and the descriptions of bill production and security are also stimulating. Avoid the crowds at the D.C. branch and discover the money process from Fort Worth instead.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 8:30am to 5:30pm
Sid Richardson Museum
The paintings of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell shaped the vision of America’s western frontier. Their epic scenes of cowboys on horses and Native Americans in battle line the walls of the Sid Richardson Museum and continue to fuel the collective imagination of 19th-century Texas for those who visit today. Containing legendary Texas oilman Sid Richardson’s private collection, the museum is a must-visit in downtown Fort Worth. Free admission and guided tours also entice visitors to the impressive western paintings.
Sid Richardson Museum, 309 Main St, Fort Worth, TX, USA +817 332 6554
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 9:00am to 5:00pm. Friday-Saturday: 9:00am to 8:00pm. Sunday: 12:00pm to 5:00pm
Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
Located in Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District, this museum celebrates Texas’s cowboy history, both past and present. Inductees to the hall of fame are nominated based on their exemplary western Texas lifestyle, meaning that championship rodeo cowboys appear next to legends like Willie Nelson, Nolan Ryan, and Tommy Lee Jones. Each inductee is given a booth filled with memorabilia and a recounting of their cowboy feats. For the cowboys of old, the museum also includes exhibits on historic wagons and the Chisholm Trail. Artifacts from Fort Worth’s herding history, as well as boots and hats from present day wranglers, will delight cowboy fans.
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 9:00am to 5:00pm. Friday-Saturday: 10:00am to 7:00pm. Sunday: 11:00am to 5:00pm
Cliff House Studio and Gallery
Retire to Fort Worth’s Eagle Mountain Lake to take in the city’s local art scene in a serene environment. Husband and wife Pamela Summers and Raymond Rains have turned Cliff House into their residence, workplace, and gallery, and have opened the space to visitors. Those interested in ceramics and glass art will appreciate Cliff House’s workshops, as well as their tours and open houses. Located on a beautiful grounds overlooking the Fort Worth Nature Center, the space is made for both viewing the pieces of the resident artists and perfecting your own craft. Pottery and glass workshops are an ideal retreat for groups looking to escape the hustle-and-bustle of the city.
American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum
American Airlines’ massive tribute to commercial aviation includes full aircraft engines, a flight simulator, and a intricately restored Douglas DC-3 airplane. Housed in a hanger near DFW airport, the museum makes for an entertaining stop on your way into or out of Fort Worth. Those with children in tow will appreciate the interactive exhibits and the thousands of square feet to wander through. The detailed history of commercial aviation remains exciting with massive artifacts on display. For a rainy day or extended airport layover, the C.R. Smith Museum is a convenient and interesting excursion.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 9:00am to 5:00pm
Log Cabin Village
Although “historical” villages are easy to balk at, Fort Worth’s Log Cabin Village avoids the gimmicks of similarly themed tourist traps by authentically displaying the Texas pioneer era. The “living history museum” is filled with preserved log cabins and furnishings. Costumed historical interpreters also staff the blacksmith shop and one-room schoolhouse, recreating such 19th-century tasks as metal-working and candle-making. Log Cabin Village is expectedly filled with grade schoolers on field trips, but families visiting the city, as well as those pinning for a glimpse into Texas of old, will be welcomed. The village avoids a dry treatment of history and succeeds at making pioneer days tangible.
Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 9:00am to 4:00pm. Saturday-Sunday: 1:00pm to 5:00pm.
Texas Civil War Museum
The Texas Civil War Museum provides an impartial and in-depth look into the nation’s bloody war. While the southern United States carry the reputation of romanticizing the loss of the Civil War, this museum holds both Union and Confederate artifacts and details each side’s history. The collection includes over 3,000 items, ranging from uniforms and weapons to amputation kits. Museum-goers will appreciate the layout, as exhibits are divided based on branches of the military — infantry, artillery, cavalry, and navy — as well as the medical and musical units. The highlight of the museum’s vast collection is General Grant’s coat and sword from the surrender at Appomattox Court House.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00am to 5:00pm