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28 Museums In Houston That Would Make You Fall In Love With The City

Harshmeet
Published May 20, 2016

Arts and Houston go hand in hand. A host of amazing museums and a population that recognizes and appreciates good art has meant that Houston has emerged as the center of art and culture in the United State of America. From free museums to the museums exclusively catering to the children, Houston’s museum circuit has covered all the bases extremely well. If you are visiting the city and wish to get a piece of the much-renowned local art scene, this list will help you out! Here is a list of 28 museums that will make you fall in love with Houston all over again:

Top 3 activities to book in Houston (and vicinity)

1. Children’s Museum of Houston

Childrens museum houston
Source: Wikipedia

There are some cities that offer so much to do for the adults and nothing for their kids. But thankfully Houston isn’t one of them! Rated as one of the best children’s museum in the entire United States, the Children’s Museum of Houston boasts of a number of interactive exhibits that keep kids busy by getting their minds to work. Well-suited for children aged 12 and below, the museum also offers free family nights every Thursday between 5 pm and 8 pm. Some of the exhibits that shouldn’t be missed include FlowWorks, Kidtropolis, Powerplay and Cyberchase. Tickets cost 12 USD each, for children and adults alike.

P.S. They also organize birthday parties, just in case you are interested!

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2. Houston Museum of Natural Science

Houston museum of natural science
Source: Wikipedia

If you are expecting a dull and geeky building for a science museum, you will be surprised, though for the better! Housed in an extremely beautiful building, the Houston Museum of Natural Science is amazing in more ways than one. Apart from some huge exhibits, including a dinosaur skeleton, the museum also exhibits the Hall of Ancient Egypt that houses recreated Egyptian temples and mummies, Lester and Sue Smith Gem Vault showcasing some breathtaking gems, and the Morian Hall of Paleontology, which is one of the largest of its kind in the US.

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3. Houston Space Center

Space center houston
Source: Wikipedia

Easily one of Houston’s most renowned global brands, the Houston Space Center takes you as close to the outer world as possible (unless you work for NASA itself!). The center gives you a feel of what it is like to work for NASA. This place offers an experience that only real astronauts can boast of. Some of the major attractions include the Independence Plaza, the chance to meet an astronaut, the Galileo shuttlecraft, and the science show. Don’t be surprised if your kid wants to be a space traveler by the end of your visit!

The tickets for adults cost 24.95 USD each.

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4. Houston Holocaust Museum

Houston holocaust museum
Source: Wikipedia

There isn’t a place in Houston that carries as strong a message as this museum. Aiming to make people aware about the destructive impact of hatred and discrimination in society, Houston Holocaust Museum brings to the open previously untold stories of survivors of the Holocaust. The exhibits include short films that tell the stories behind Hitler’s rise to power, discrimination in society, and much more. While children below the age of 6 enjoy free entry, the general admission costs 12 USD. The museum offers free entry every Thursday between 2 pm and 5 pm.

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5. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum of fine arts  houston
Source: Wikipedia

One of the best things about the MFAH is that it compels you to pay a visit time and again due to ever-changing exhibits. First things first – the museum offers free admission on Thursdays. Apart from the stunning artifacts on display, the underground tunnels are an added attraction. These take you to different buildings across the street. They also display art pieces from other cultures and places, including China, India, and Japan. The admission fee is 15 USD and parking is free.

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6. Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston

Contemporary arts museum  houston
Source: Wikipedia

This isn’t one of those museums that has historical artifacts on display. You won’t find hundred-year-old stories in this museum, but instead some of the most inspiring pieces of art. The big open space inside the museum wins the hearts of most visitors. A forum for visual arts, this museum also engages visitors through a number of education programs.

Did we tell you the best part? It is free!

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7. The Health Museum

The health museum
Source: Wikipedia

If you are interested in human sciences, there isn’t a better place for you in Houston than the Health Museum. Boasting a number of interactive exhibits, the Health Museum can be fun and educational at the same time. The general admission costs 8 USD for adults and 6 USD for seniors and children between the ages of 3 and 12. Some of the most interesting exhibits include a 22-foot-long (6.7-meter-long) backbone, an intestine that is longer than 27 feet (8.2 meters), and a bicycle being ridden by a skeleton! The museum has free car-parking.

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8. The Menil Collection

The menil collection
Source: Wikipedia

The ‘Menil Collection’ refers to the private art collection of Dominique de Menil and John de Menil. But this ‘collection’ is unlike any other private museum in the USA. Boasting more than 17,000 pieces of art, including sculptures, photographs, paintings, and books, the collection has preserved works of some of the best-known artists in the history of the United States. The museum is open to the public on Wednesdays between 11 am and 7 pm, and admission is free. The museum also holds special exhibitions from time to time, so make sure you check out their website before planning your visit.

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9. C.G. Jung Educational Center

C.g. jung educational center

The C.G. Jung Educational Center strives to explore and spread the ideas of human psychology, spirituality, and arts. The center organizes various educational programs to enlighten people about the various aspects of personal growth and their spiritual calling. The lecture series provides good food for thought and helps you see through many difficult situations. The center also has a well-equipped library that has a great collection of books on similar topics. Visit this place to nourish your soul and mind.

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10. Art Car Museum, Houston

Art car museum  houston
Source: Wikipedia

This quirky private museum makes for an interesting visit if you go there without any prior research. The innovative exhibits are much appreciated by car and art lovers alike. If you are going there expecting a huge collection of flashy or vintage cars, you will be disappointed. The best way to enjoy this place is to have no expectations at all. Please note that this place remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. It has free entry.

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11. John C. Freeman Weather Museum

John c. freeman weather museum

This museum aims to take the science behind the different weather phenomenon straight to the people. An ideal place for school kids, the John C. Freeman Weather Museum is located in Houston’s museum district. Some of the exhibits include satellite and radar images of hurricanes and cyclones and a live weather studio. The museum is, however, currently being relocated to a new place.

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12. Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Bayou bend collection and gardens
Source: Wikipedia

Home to some of the most exquisite pieces of decorative art in the country, Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens’ collection dates back to 1620! The former home of Ima Hogg, a well-known local philanthropist, the Bayou Bend takes you back to the colonial era and the ancient American craftsmanship. This place has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, thus underlining its significance. There are 28 period rooms, each one housed with some breathtaking pieces of art. Once the flowers bloom in the garden, the place takes on a different vibe altogether!

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13. 1940 Air Terminal Museum

1940 air terminal museum
Source: Wikipedia

An indispensable part of Houston’s history, the 1940 Air Terminal Museum is an ideal place for all those who love getting deeper into aviation and its related aspects. Situated right next to the local airport, the museum exhibits a number of old artifacts related to civil aviation and other memorabilia. The museum is mostly run with the help of volunteers.

It may fail to wow you from the exterior, but this museum holds history like no other place in Houston.

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14. Blaffer Art Museum

Blaffer art museum
Source: Wikipedia

A winner of several national and international awards, the Blaffer Art Museum boasts some thought-provoking pieces of art, to say the least. It is famous for the frequent exhibitions it hosts on a variety of subjects. This huge museum runs a number of educational programs aimed at spreading the ideas of arts and history. Free admission further adds to the charm of this museum. If you wish to see artworks made by university students or up-and-coming artists, this is the place to visit.

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15. Station Museum of Contemporary Art

Station museum of contemporary art

Try to visit this museum on a Thursday; it’s free! A private museum in Houston, the Station Museum of Contemporary Art aims to enhance the public knowledge and awareness when it comes to local culture and art. This lesser-known place is a hub for dark humor and doesn’t hold back from taking a shot at the big guns! If you are confused what we mean, just pay a visit to this place to explore on your own; you won’t regret it!

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16. USS Texas Museum Ship

Uss texas museum ship
Source: Wikipedia

One of the most famous landmarks in the whole of Houston, this battleship has a long and proud history. After playing a pivotal role in the two world wars, the Battleship Texas was turned into a museum and placed in the heart of Houston. At the time of its induction into the navy, this battleship exemplified the engineering prowess of the USA and kept other nations in awe. Visit this out-of-the-box museum to catch a glimpse of the proud US history.

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17. National Museum of Funeral History

National museum of funeral history

A one-of-its-kind museum, the National Museum of Funeral History is based on an unusual topic – death care. Boasting the largest collection of funeral service items and related artifacts, this museum is also known for its tradition of celebrating the lives and deaths of the Popes. The museum has special ties with the Vatican and highlights all the ceremonies that surround papal funerals. Visit this place to hear some of the most interesting funeral stories of former presidents, celebrities and the who’s who of the USA. The general admission fee for adults is 10 USD.

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18. Lawndale Art Center

Lawndale art center

The Lawndale Art Center aims to highlight the astounding works of the best local artists. Exhibiting some breathtaking contemporary works of art, the Lawndale Art Center is famous for its varied opening nights. It is not like a conventional sophisticated museum, rather, it gives you a personal feel. If you visit the place on an opening night, you might just witness a DJ and free beers being offered! Don’t miss out on the artwork on the outside wall of the building.

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19. The Houston Museum of African American Culture

The houston museum of african american culture

The Houston Museum of African American Culture aims to highlight the works of black artists, and there are quite a lot of them! This small museum can give you goosebumps through many of its exhibits. The diversity of exhibits is what makes the place attractive for locals and visitors alike. They also organize regular lectures, which are attended by large numbers of people. If you are thinking this place is only visited by black people, you couldn’t be more wrong!

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20. The Heritage Society

The heritage society

The only outdoor interactive museum in Houston, the Heritage Society has nine historic structures as exhibits. Each of these buildings holds fascinating stories of its own. With many a historic artifact on display, the Heritage Society spellbinds visitors in many ways. Come to this place to understand how Houston became the city that it is today. The exhibits on offer keep on changing, so you would be advised to visit their website before planning your trip.

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21. Rothko Chapel

Rothko chapel
Source: Wikipedia

Apart from what you would expect from a regular chapel, at Rothko Chapel you will find picturesque interiors that represent an inspirational work of modern art. The compound also exhibits paintings by Mark Rothko, a famous American postwar artist. This place is also a part of the National Register of Historic Places. Visit Rothko Chapel to witness a site where art and religion come together.

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22. The Printing Museum

The printing museum

People usually take a free and independent press for granted without going any deeper into the issue. The Printing Museum in Houston strives to bring to the fore the documents and tools that tell you the story of the evolution of written communication and how it changed human lives forever. The museum takes you on a journey that begins with ancient civilizations, such as Mesopotamia, and ends at the modern world You will journey through many significant events in history, such as the American Revolution and the Civil War. The general admission fee is 8 USD.

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23. Rice Gallery

Rice gallery
Source: Houmuse

This university museum believes in creating stuff rather than exhibiting it! The museum throws an open invitation to contemporary artists about five times a year to come and produce new works of art on site. The organization funds the entire process on behalf of the artists and gives them a huge platform to showcase their skills and talent. With over 40,000 visitors coming to the gallery annually, this offers an unparalleled chance for budding artists to make it big in the art scene in Houston.

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24. Houston Center for Photography

Houston center for photography
Source: Hcponline

Showcasing some of the best photographs taken in the country, the Houston Center for Photography is a treat for the visitors’ eyes. Works from some of the best-known photographers of the 20th century are on display here. And, right next to them, are works from budding professionals in the art of photography. If you are looking for some expert advice on photography, the lectures and classes organized here can be of great help. Also on offer is a packed library containing books about photography and all its related aspects. Need more reasons to visit? Admission is free!

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25. Czech Center Museum, Houston

Czech center museum  houston

This relatively unknown museum is not like any other museum in the city. Designed to celebrate the rich culture of the Slavic ethnic group and its history, the Czech Center Museum enjoys a worldwide membership. The entry ticket includes a mandatory private tour that makes you understand the significance of all the artifacts on display here. This place is strictly non-political and non-religious. For all curious souls out there, this is the place to find something new, ancient, and refreshing, all at the same time. They also allow photography inside their premises, so you know where to go the next time you wish to click some out-of-the-box selfies!

P.S. It also serves as a venue for wedding receptions, just in case you are interested!

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26. Buffalo Soldiers National Museum

Buffalo soldiers national museum

African-American soldiers, who have played a great part in preserving the USA’s honor over the decades, often find themselves neglected in the country’s history books and museums. But not at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, which is the only museum in the country dedicated to showcasing the legacies of African-American soldiers. It is the largest repository of its kind in the entire world. Some of the most interesting and significant videos, documents, and other artifacts related to African-American soldiers are preserved here for the general public to relish. A short movie about the Buffalo Soldiers is one of the major highlights of the museum. The staff at the museum is extremely courteous and eager to show you around the place. Visit here to get a taste of a relatively unexplored part of American history.

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27. Asia Society Texas Center

Asia society texas center

This place showcases the strong connections between Americans and Asia over the years. A number of public programs, aimed at enhancing dialogues and the exchange of knowledge, are held at the society, making it an interesting place to visit. This peaceful place is an ideal spot if you wish to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life and dwell in nature. They also have a café serving a number of delectable Asian cuisines. Here’s a pro tip – Don’t underestimate the crowds at this museum. Come early or you might be disappointed!

Since they keep on holding different lecture series, it is worth getting membership to get discounted tickets and free admission to the exhibitions!

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28. Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden

Lillie and hugh roy cullen sculpture garden
Source: Wikipedia

This sculpture garden can give some of the better-known museums in Houston a real run for their money! Located at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden is a perfect place to visit with your friends for some great photographs! A lush green park and a generous number of outdoor chairs and benches make this place extremely visitor-friendly. Sculptures are made from different materials, including bronze, glass, and stone. Visit this place for some of the best abstract pieces of art that you can find in Houston.

Live the city of Houston through its museums

People may talk about museums facing shortage of crowds or people losing interest in museums and exhibitions globally, but none of that holds true when it comes to Houston. This long and thriving list of museums (non-exhaustive) is a delight for any art-lover, knowledge-seeker, science enthusiast, fan of nature, and more, coming to the city. Houston is one of those cities that offers you much more than you can probably handle! Whenever you think you have explored the entire city of Houston, something new will come to your notice. By the time you complete this list, you will likely have another list of places to visit in Houston; that’s the magic of this city!

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Houston museum of natural science
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Harshmeet is an engineer by education, a quizzer by hobby and a freelance writer by profession. He likes to read as much as he likes to write (helps in making his articles more substance & less...Read more

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