The “Lone Star State offers enticing attractions all-year-round, with the spring months a particularly vibrant period for Texas’s diverse museum scene.
Across the length and breadth of Texas there are museums housing fascinating exhibits and artifacts spanning art, natural history, anthropology, science, and more. Many are located in the state’s major urban centres, but there are also a sprinkling in its more remote reaches. If you’re coming to Texas during springtime and would like to visit an exhibition during your stay, we’ve picked out 20 taking place over this spell that you may want to look out for.
The Language of Beauty in African Art
Presenting over two-hundred works of art – including masks, sculptures, and other prestige objects – this exhibition emphasises concepts of beauty through the languages and perspectives of indigenous African communities. By exploring the original words and local evaluations of beauty associated with traditional or historical works, visitors can discover both their meanings and functions—revealing how art informed and reflected life in sub-Saharan Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth / 3 April – 31 July 2022
Oppenheim: My Exhibition
Over 50 years, Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim produced witty, unconventional bodies of work that remain largely unknown in the U.S. From uncanny object constructions and geometric abstractions, to jewellery designs, public sculptures, and poetry, her diverse oeuvre is united by the singularity and force of her creative vision. The first major transatlantic retrospective on Oppenheim, this exhibition follows her reengagement with Surrealist ideas and development of a new visual vocabulary alongside post-war art movements such as Nouveau Réalisme and Pop; and the last two decades of her life, in which her interests in nature, abstraction, and enchantment combined to forge a novel new style.
The Menil Collection, Houston / 25 March – 18 September 2022
A Shared Conversation: Art & Language
This spring, The Grace Museum will open a series of new art exhibitions that highlight the powerful influence of language in historical and contemporary works of art. Among them will be this exhibition, showcasing artist books, portfolios and individual work from the museum’s permanent collection, as well as solo exhibitions by three diverse female artists who masterfully integrate words and printed books into their artwork through various methods of deconstruction, reconstruction and sculptural transformation. Featured artists in this series include Edward Ruscha, Dieter Roth, Jack Boynton, with solo gallery exhibitions by Simeen Farhat, Anna Mavromatis, and Cara Barer.
The Grace Museum, Abilene / Through Spring 2022
The Obama Portraits
From the moment of their unveiling in February 2018, the official portraits of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have become iconic. Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama have inspired unprecedented responses from the public. Now touring across the country, The Obama Portraits come to Houston this spring, giving visitors the chance to see these two paintings that present a striking contrast to the formality of earlier presidential portraits and images of first ladies. As a result, the exhibition serves to consider how portraiture has given visual form to ideas of power, identity, status, and legacy throughout history.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston / 3 April – 30 May 2022
Naudline Pierre: What Could Be Has Not Yet Appeared
The vividly hued paintings of American artist Naudline Pierre draw from fantasy and iconography to portray opaque, otherworldly narratives through depictions of supernatural beings entangled in complex scenes of struggle and intimacy. The first solo museum showcase of her works, this exhibition feature the debut of five of Pierre’s newly created paintings along with her 2019 works, Lest You Fall, all serving to consider the possibilities of speculation and fantasy in offering love, care, and routes for escape.
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas / Through 15 May 2022
Mental Health: Mind Matters
In 2014, the National Institute of Mental Health reported that there were an estimated 43.6 million adults in the U.S. with a mental illness — 18.1% of all adults. This exhibition uses hands-on immersive experiences and multimedia activities to provide a respectful, informative, engaging place where substantive learning, conversations, and social interactions can occur surrounding the topic of mental health. Visitors can explore how mental illness has been treated in the past, put yourselves in the shoes of people living with mental illness, and use full-body activities to learn about healthy recognition and expression of emotions.
Bullock Texas State History Museum, Austin / 7 April – 31 July 2022
Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs
Some 3,200 years, Ancient Egypt was ruled by the third pharaoh of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt – and the most celebrated builder in the country’s storied history – Ramses the Great. Transporting you across the sands of the Sahara Desert, this multisensory museum experience provides visitors with a window into the life and accomplishments of the pharaoh, bringing you face-to-face with over 180 priceless artifacts, including Egyptian treasures and one-of-a-kind relics. Among them are items such as sarcophagi, animal mummies, jewellery, royal masks, amulets, and ornate golden treasures of the tomb.
Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston / Through 23 May 2022
Most famous for being the site of the assassination of President Kennedy in November 1963, the Texas School Book Depository building’s story began as a warehouse at the turn of the 20th century. It evolved into an administrative site for Dallas County and, finally, a museum that preserves the memory of the assassination, the legacy of President Kennedy, and their effects on the city of Dallas and the country. Made up of 33 objects, this exhibition presents architectural elements from the building that explore its 120-year history, marking the passage of time from its founding to its present, and by doing so, considering its future.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Dallas / Through 3 July 2022
One Night in Miami: From Photo to Film
After his victory over Sonny Liston for the heavyweight boxing championship in February 1964, a young Muhammed Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) celebrated with friends and supporters at Hampton House, a Miami motel that served as a gathering place for Black entertainers and celebrities. There, Ali was joined by his friends Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke, and football player Jim Brown, among others. The gathering inspired the 2013 play, “One Night in Miami,” which was adapted into an award-winning movie in 2020. This exhibition features a selection of rare images from famed photojournalists Bob Gomel and Flip Schulke taken that night, as well as equipment from both photographers and related ephemera.
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum, Austin / Through 8 May 2022
Oscar Muñoz: Invisibilia
Since the late 1980s, Colombian artist Oscar Muñoz has sought to reinvent the medium of photography through non-traditional materials and techniques. Philosophical at their core, Muñoz’s artworks frequently use ephemeral materials like light, water, fire, and dust to illustrate the fragility of an image as a metaphor for the fragility of life. In his first retrospective in the US, this exhibition spans five decades of Muñoz’s radical career and includes approximately 40 of his most evocative works, in which he combines photographic processes with drawing, printmaking, installation, video, sculpture, and interactive elements.
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin / Through 5 June 2022
The Doolittle Raid
After the infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII, the Americans devised a plan to strike cities in the Japanese home islands. The North American B-25 Mitchell bomber proved to be the most suitable aircraft, and Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle volunteered to lead the strike. The Doolittle Raiders attacked targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Nagoya and Kobe, with all 80 Raiders going on to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross, while Doolittle received the Medal of Honor. This permanent exhibition portrays a B-25 ready for take-off from the deck of a Navy aircraft carrier, as well as a mural depicting other aircraft warming their engines in preparation for flight.
National Museum of the Pacific War, Fredericksburg / Permanent
¡Printing the Revolution!: The Rise and Impact of Chicano Graphics, 1965 to Now
Explore Chicano graphics from the 1960s alongside artworks that showcase how artists have since advanced innovative printmaking practices for social justice in this fascinating exhibition. For the first time, see historic civil rights era prints next to works by contemporary printmakers that revise notions of identity, spur political activism, teach new understandings of U.S. and international history, and reflect the need for social change. The exhibit includes artworks ranging from screen-prints and installation art to augmented reality and shareable graphics.
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Forth Worth / Through 8 May 2022
Women Painting Women
Featuring approximately 50 evocative portraits of women that span the late 1960s to the present day, this thematic exhibition recognises female perspectives that some believe have been underrepresented in the history of post-war figuration. Painting is the focus of the exhibition, as traditionally it has been considered a privileged medium for portraiture, with all of the works featured placing women—their bodies, gestures, and individuality—at the forefront. The exhibition comprises four themes: The Body, Nature Personified, Color as Portrait, and Selfhood. Through these themes, the artists conceive new ways to activate and elaborate on the portrayal of women.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth / 15 May – 25 September 2022
Dinosaur Train: The Traveling Exhibit
Join a curious Tyrannosaurus Rex named Buddy who travels the world to discover everything there is to know about dinosaurs at this travelling exhibition. Based on the Dinosaur Train TV series, the exhibition embraces the fascination kids have with both dinosaurs and trains. Visitors can hop on the Dinosaur Train and travel to all three time periods during the Age of Dinosaurs, interact with real and replica fossils, and learn about the characteristics of herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores, plus how dinosaurs are classified into these groups.
Mayborn Museum Complex, Waco / 1 May 2022
Towers of Tomorrow
Visitors can marvel at the breathtaking precision and architectural detail of twenty of the world’s most iconic skyscrapers and towers replicated by toy brick Legos at this engaging and interactive exhibition. The astonishing replicas span North America, Asia and Australia and were constructed by Ryan McNaught, one of less than two-dozen LEGO certified professionals in the world. Towers featured in the exhibit include the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the CN Tower in Toronto, and the Empire State Building in New York City.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas / Through 21 April 2022
Phil Collins Collection Preview – Supplies for War
Located on the site of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, visitors to the Alamo this spring can enjoy a selection of priceless artifacts gifted to the State of Texas by musician and historian, Phil Collins. Containing more than 400 items, the collection focuses on the types of supplies that were used during the Texas Revolution. Among them are a receipt for a horse from William B. Travis to John B. Johnson dated 20 January 1836, a letter from Stephen F. Austin to Adjunct General Hall and Colonel Grayson requesting reinforcements dated 4 November 1835, and a Mexican light cavalry officer’s sword and scabbard.
The Alamo, San Antonio / Through 24 April 2022
Witness science fiction turn into science fact in this all-new spring exhibition. Exploring how popular culture has influenced technological advances through a series of immersive experiences and interactive displays, the exhibition encourages visitors to consider how innovative thinking, inspired by the stories and movies we love, has led to technological advances that revolutionise the way we live and work. Highlights include the chance to take control of a Mars rover to complete a mission, live 3D printing demonstrations, and seeing what phones might look like in 2030.
Space Center Houston / Through 1 May 2022
SaddleUP: Texas Ranching Tradition
Using the photography of Texas-based fine art photographer and educator Joe Vitone, this exhibition portrays two distinct areas, both containing “tough people living on a tough land doing a tough job”. In Jeff Davis County, ranchers, cowboys, and their families work the arid semi-desert of far West Texas, where rainfall is rare and the soil only grudgingly produces grass and brush for livestock to eat. In contrast, Lavaca County ranchers work the Southern Texas Plains landscape where post oak, elm, and pecan trees provide shade and cover from the weather, and grass is more abundant on more fertile soil. However, ranchers in both areas struggle with drought, fire, cattle ticks, and finding enough hired help. In these two diverse landscapes, such hardships and trials are part of the ranching life.
National Ranching Heritage Center, Lubbock / Through 4 September 2023
Wendy Red Star: A Scratch on the Earth
A member of the Apsáalooke (Crow) Tribe, Portland artist Wendy Red Star works across disciplines to explore the intersections of Native American ideologies and colonialist structures, both historically and in contemporary society. Featuring 40 works spanning photography, textiles, and film and sound installations, this exhibition focuses on the period after 1880 when U.S. government policy prioritised keeping Crow people on the reservation. The importance of family, the Indigenous roots of feminism, Crow mythology, and the history of the Montana landscape are among the subjects that she brings to life in the exhibition, as well as exploring how boundaries between cultural, racial, social, and gender lines are reinforced in America, and how these lines blur across time and place.
San Antonio Museum of Art / Through 8 May 2022
Pop Culture Gallery
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is home to a vast assortment of artifacts, documents and works of art detailing the history of its legendary namesake – an investigative law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction. Among the museum’s permanent exhibitions is The Pop Culture Gallery, which showcases how the Texas Rangers have been represented in popular culture over the years, through radio, television, film and more. The gallery primarily features artifacts from popular TV and radio programmes such as The Lone Ranger and Walker, Texas Ranger.
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco / Permanent