10 best Houston museums for art, history, nature and culture.

10 best Houston museums for art, history, nature and culture.

Whether you’re just visiting or you’re a local pondering how to spend a day off, you’d be remiss if you didn’t dig into Houston’s museum district. We’ve got a world-class museum scene—while the MFAH makes us an international destination, our science, history and nature museums make up some of the best attractions in Houston. From Main St to Binz St to W Alabama St, these are the ten best museums in Houston.


Asia Society Texas Center

Asia Society Texas Center engages the diversity of Houston through enriching programs and events within the pillars of arts and culture, business and policy, exhibitions, and education and community outreach. As one of the nation's most ethnically diverse cities, Houston is home to a rapidly growing Asian American population. Through a multi-disciplinary approach, Asia Society educates the greater community on relevant ideas and issues of our time, preparing future generations for stronger East-West understanding and interaction.


Tuesday - Friday, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Closed Mondays and major holidays

Free Hours: Admission to the building and Grand Hall exhibition is free.

Admission to the Sarofim Gallery is free for Asia Society members; $5 for nonmembers.


Buffalo Soldier National Museum

Come and visit the historical Buffalo Soldier National Museum and learn more about not only African-American history but American history as well. The goal of the BuffaloSoldier Museum is to interpret articulate collect display and preserve historical artifacts documents videos prints and other historical memorabilia which details the history of the brave men and women who overcame extreme adversity while gallantly fighting the great American wars. African Americans have served proudly in every great American war. In 1866 through an act of Congress legislation was adopted to create six all African American Army units. The units were identified as the 9th and 10th cavalry and the 38th 39th 40th and 41st infantry regiments. The four infantry regiments were later reorganized to form the 24th and 25th infantry regiments. These fighting men represented the first Black professional soldiers in a peacetime army. The recruits came from varied backgrounds including former slaves and veterans from service in the Civil War.


·         Monday - Friday, 10 am - 5 pm

Saturday , 10 am - 4 pm

Closed Sunday

·         General Admission: $10 per person; $5.00-Students/Seniors 62+ and Military W/ID: 5 and under Free


Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is a non-collecting institution dedicated to presenting the best and most exciting international national and regional art of the last 40 years. Founded in 1948 the Museum prides itself on presenting new art and documenting its role in modern life through exhibitions lectures original publications and a variety of educational programs and events. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston occupies the famous stainless steel building in the heart of the Houston Museum District. This highly recognizable building was designed for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston by award-winning architect Gunnar Birkerts and opened in 1972. The Museum Shop at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston offers a diverse selection of books periodicals and exhibition catalogues related to contemporary art as well as a wide array of unusual gifts including artist and designer-made jewelry and educational toys and games for children.


·         Tuesday - Wednesday, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm

Thursday, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm

Friday, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm

Saturday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Sunday, 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Closed Monday, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day

·         Free Hours: Always free!


Czech Center Museum Houston 

The Center was created to celebrate, share and promote the rich cultural abundance of a major Slavic ethnic group and their history. With a worldwide membership composed of members with multiple heritages, its museum and cultural center are considered essential resources for learning about one of our nation's diverse cultures and interwoven histories with others. The goal of the Center is to continue to offer presentations of non-biased, non-political and non-religious events, resulting in a blend of harmonious experiences for people of all ethnicities interested in the culture of a group of Slavs that settled in the central region of Europe and in particular their connection with the Austro-Hungarian Empire out of which multiple nations have derived.


·         Monday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Closed Sunday FREE last Monday of the month 12 - 4 pm

·         General Admission: $6.00 for a docent tour, $3.00 for children; Gift shop admission free


Houston Museum of African American Culture

The Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) explores stories inspired by themes of opportunity, empowerment, creativity, and innovation and cultural interrelationships through the lens of the African American experience. The Museum seeks to engage visitors of every race and background through discovery-driven learning and preserve African American history.


·         Sunday, Noon - 6:00 pm

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Thursday, 11:00 am - 8:00 pm

·         General Admission is $5, Youth (Ages 6-17) and Seniors (55 and older - $3 and children (5 and under) - Free. Free Hours: The museum is free every Thursday 6 pm - 8 pm


Houston Museum of Natural Science

The Houston Museum of Natural Science houses the Burke Baker Planetarium, Wortham Giant Screen Theatre, Cockrell Butterfly Center, and over a dozen permanent exhibit areas that examine astronomy, space, science, Native Americans, paleontology, energy, chemistry, gems and minerals, seashells, Texas wildlife, and more. In addition, the museum frequently presents traveling exhibitions on a variety of topics.

The Museum also maintains two satellite facilities: The George Observatory in Fort Bend County which houses one of the largest telescopes in the country that is available for public viewing; and The Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land which has exhibits on dinosaurs, mineralogy, exotic live insects, and more.


·         Monday - Sunday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

·         Permanent Exhibits

o    Adult Ticket: $25 (ages 12 and up)

o    Child Ticket: $15 (ages 3-11)

o    Children ages 2 and under: FREE

o    College Students with ID: $15

o    Seniors (62+): $15

o    Military (with ID): $8

o    Groups (10+): $8

o    School Groups: $3.50

o    Members Pricing:

o    Member Adult: FREE

o    Member Child: FREE


Lawndale Art Center 

Lawndale Art Center is one of the only institutions in Houston that is dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art with an emphasis on work by regional artists. Located at the edge of Downtown in the Museum District, the organization utilizes its accessible location to present exhibitions, performances, lectures, film screenings, andevents, and offers an annual residency program to further the creative exchange of ideas among Houston's diverse communities. In all programming and activities, Lawndale strives to extend the center's outreach.

Lawndale includes four museum-quality galleries, three artist studios, and an outdoor sculpture garden that facilitate its role as a vital cultural resource for Houston. A board Programming Committee made up of area artists and arts professionals meet twice per year to consider proposals and select artists and exhibitions for presentation.


·         Wednesday, Noon - 6:00 pm

Thursday, Noon - 8:00 pm

Friday, Noon - 6:00 pm

Saturday - Sunday, Noon - 5:00 pm

Closed Monday & Tuesday


Rothko Chapel 

The mission of the Rothko Chapel is to inspire people to action through art and contemplation, to nurture reverence for the highest aspirations of humanity, and to provide a forum to explore matters of worldwide concern.

The Rothko Chapel, founded by Houston philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, was dedicated in 1971 as an intimate sanctuary available to people of every belief. A tranquil meditative environment inspired by the mural canvases of American painter Mark Rothko, the Chapel welcomes over 60,000 visitors each year - people of every faith and from all parts of the world. On the plaza, Barnett Newman's majestic sculpture "Broken Obelisk" stands in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Rothko Chapel is an independent institution, a sacred place open to all people, every day. In 2001, the Chapel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, an honor awarded before the institution was fifty years old. The Chapel has two vocations: contemplation and action. Action takes the form of supporting human rights, particularly in its 50 plus public programs per year and thus the Chapel has become a rallying place for all people concerned with peace, freedom, and social justice throughout the world.


·         Monday-Sunday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Open every day of the year from 10 am - 6 pm.

·         Free Hours: Always free


The Menil Collection 

The Menil Collection opened in 1987 to preserve and exhibit the art collection of John and Dominique de Menil. Considered one of the most important privately assembled collections of the twentieth century, The Menil Collection houses approximately 17000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and rare books. Masterpieces from antiquity, the Byzantine and medieval worlds the tribal cultures of Africa, Oceania, the American Pacific Northwest, and the twentieth century are particularly well represented. Among the highlights of the museum are its Surrealist holdings, widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost collections of its kind. The Menil Collection displays selections from its permanent collection and regularly offers special exhibitions and programs to the public.


·         Wednesday - Sunday, 11:00 am - 7:00 pm

Closed Monday and Tuesday

·         Free Hours: Always free!


The Museum of Fine Arts 

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston is one of the largest art museums in America with more than 300,000 square feet of space devoted to the display of art. The collection contains over 63,000 works of art. There are two major museum buildings: the Caroline Wiess Law Building and the Audrey Jones Beck Building. There are two facilities for the Glassell School of Art: the Studio School of Art for adults, and the Glassell Junior School. There are two house museums that exhibit decorative arts: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, and Rienzi. MFAH also features The Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, and 18 acres of public gardens.

For more information about MFAH go to mfah.org. To learn more about exhibitions now on view at the MFAH go to mfah.org/exhibitions. For a complete calendar of events and activities at the MFAH go to mfah.org/calendar.


·         Tuesday - Wednesday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Thursday, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm

Friday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm

Sunday, 12:15 pm - 7:00 pm

Monday: Closed (Except Monday Holidays). Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

·         General Admission: MFAH Members-FREE Adult-$15 ($14 Online); Senior (65+) $10 ($9 Online); Youth (13-18) $7.50 ($6.50 Online); Child (12 & younger) FREE; Military (ID Required) $10; Student (ID Required) $7.50 Ticketed exhibitions require an additional admission charge. Free Hours: FREE THURSDAY 10 am - 9 pm

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