Five Museum Day adventures: porcupines, portraits and more to rekindle your love of learning – Arts

photo of John Anderson

There’s no bad day to go to a museum, but no better day than Austin Museum Day (September 18), the annual celebration of galleries, exhibits, cemeteries, parks and cultural institutions held by the Austin Museum Partnership. More than 30 spaces around the city and beyond (find the full list at are participating, but here are some sparks to rekindle the fire of curiosity.

Campus Scavenger Hunt

UT’s campus has the highest density of museums and galleries in the city: so rush between the Christian-Green Gallery, Blanton Museum of Art, Harry Ransom Center, Dolph Briscoe Center and Bullock Texas State History Museum, as well as epic works from the Landmarks program, to pick up a postcard and maybe win something special.

Learn to paint (and sculpt) faces

German-born sculptor Elisabet Ney’s Hyde Park studio, Formosa, is arguably the birthplace of fine portraiture in Texas, so what better place to meet and learn from local artists and educators, while browsing giant prints photographs of Cindy Elizabeth’s faces, only at Portraiture in the Park: Who are you after all?!

Noon-5 p.m. Elisabet Ney Museum, 304 E. 44th.

Meet the baby porcupines

The newly renovated “Small Wonders” exhibit at the Austin Nature and Science Center welcomes new little wonders: baby porcupines. Learn all about these spiky pals and many native Texas species, from bees to birds of prey.

Noon-5 p.m. Austin Nature and Science Center, 2389 Stratford.

Make an appointment with a 19th century doctor

Take a trip down memory lane at the Neill-Cochran House, one of Austin’s oldest residences. Let the old tunes of the Duck Creek String Band soothe you before a special exhibit on Civil War medical procedures, then clear the heat with old-fashioned ice cream and freshly squeezed lemonade.

11am-4pm. Neill-Cochran House Museum, 2310 San Gabriel.

Smell the roses of Benini

The 6,500 square foot Hill Country studio and museum of Italian artist Benini and his wife Lorraine is only accessible by appointment, but eventually the couple opens the doors every Saturday, with a special celebration for the Day museums. Discover the evolution of the painter, from his first figurative works to his geometric period, and his emblematic roses.

11am-6pm. Museo Benini, 3440 FM 2147 E., Marble Falls.

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