Seventeen of Houston's top cultural institutions will waive admission fees on Saturday for the 15th annual Museum District Day. CultureMap’s guide offers a quick rundown to schedule your day, which is filled with an array of events for kids and adults alike. Free shuttle buses will circle the Museum District, making 14 stops from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
"We suggest parking near the light rail to use a combination of METRO and our coach-sized shuttles," Houston Museum District executive director Laurette Cañizares says. "Definitely come early and try to plan your day in advance. Take the shuttle to one end of the museum circuit and work back, so you’re sure not to miss any of the events."
The Houston Museum District arranged some excellent food options to get crowds through the busy day. The No Borders food truck will serve its enchiladas outside of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. At The Menil Collection, a pop-up tent by Montrose-favorite Canopy will join the Good Dog hot dog truck for lunch.
"Keep in mind that 11 of the museums are free every day," Cañizares reminds those who can’t see it all. "Even the museums that aren’t free waive admission at least one day a week throughout the year.”
Opening on Museum District Day, The Menil Collection's presents Walter De Maria: Trilogies, offering the artist's first major museum exhibition in the United States. On view will be a series of paintings and a sculptural triptych, both from the early 1970s. De Maria will also debut his new Bel Air Trilogy, a trio of meticulously restored 1955 Chevy Bel Air automobiles. (Side note: In 1965, De Maria played drums in a precursor to the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed and John Cale.)
Just up the street, the Houston Center for Photography has three exhibitions — Pelle Cass: Selected People, Adrian Fernandez: Life Style and Learning Curve 5 — in addition to a special 25-percent discount on HCP memberships.
Be sure to catch the final week of Southern/Pacific, a group show at the Lawndale Art Center created by art communities in Houston, Marfa, and Portland, Ore. Step outside to see Famous Monsters, a massive mural by Houston artist Daniel Anguilu on the north exterior wall.
Next door, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft has it annual “Gathering of the Guilds,” where visitors can watch craft demonstrations and shop the Contemporary Handweavers Sale.
The Spirit of Modernism at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston looks at 73 new modern acquisitions — including works from renowned designer and sculptor Harry Bertoia. The museum’s provocative Helmut Newton show will be in its final week as well. Across the street at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, catch the final days of The Spectacular of Venacular.
And finally, stop by the Rice University Art Gallery to watch artist Ana Serrano create Salon of Beauty, an imaginary cardboard recreation of the artist’s colorful Los Angeles neighborhood.
In collaboration with the Jewish Community Center, the Rothko Chapel presents vocalist Galeet Dardashti at 11 a.m. The performance includes a lecture and demonstration on Mizrahi piyutim (liturgical poems), explaining their history and cultural significance for Jews living in the Muslim world.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum offers regular performances about the lives of African-American soldiers. At 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., the Czech Museum Center Houston will present a film on art, glass, and ceramics. At 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., three Holocaust survivors share their stories of tragedy and triumph at Holocaust Museum Houston.
Visit four floors of exhibition space at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Walk with dinosaurs, gaze at the unique mineral and gem collection, have a one-sided conversation with an Egyptian mummy, and sift though the artifacts of numerous Native American societies.
The Museum of Natural Science also serves as media headquarters, where Museum District Day participants can meet the KHOU-TV news anchors and — wait for it — the writers of CultureMap.
Share your extreme weather memories, as the John C. Freeman Weather Museum marks the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Carla and the 10th anniversary of Tropical Storm Allison. Learn how storms are named and even create your own name list for Atlantic weather phenomenon.
From 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the Children’s Museum of Houston offers hand-on lessons in electronics at the Inventors’ Workshop, boat-making at the Power Science Lab, a look inside the body with the “organ apron,” and drawing sessions at the Alexander Art Academy. At the nearby Health Museum, enjoy a 3D film, kids activities and special discounted admission to the exhibit Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination.
For art-oriented kids, try two Charlie Chaplin shorts — A Dog’s Life (1918) and A Day’s Pleasure (1919) — showing at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the MFAH’s Brown Auditorium. Lawndale will have snow globe-designing and sidewalk chalk drawing from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
... AND BREATHE
Immerse yourself in The Jung Center’s painting exhibition Inside-Outside, where you can create an original work of art to add to a community collage from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Afterwards, take a moment for contemplation at the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum.
From 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., catch the “Divine Rhythm and United Motion” of award-winning reggae/world music group D.R.U.M. on the front promenade of The Menil Collection. If you need to extend your cool down, join Living Well Therapies founder Henderson Smith at 3 p.m. for a Tai Chi session on the grounds of the nearby Rothko Chapel. Loose fitting, comfortable clothing is recommended.
Museum District Day runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Don't forget to enter the CultureMap Museum District Day contest while you're there.