Dallas has a wide variety of museums that every resident and visitor must take the opportunity to explore.
#5 Nasher Sculpture Center
The Nasher is just across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art, right in the middle of the Arts District in Dallas. Basically, Raymond and Patsy Nasher donated their personal collection to create this museum and happen to be one of the most stunning collections of modern and contemporary sculpture in the world. It contains over 300 masterworks by Picasso, Rodin, and dozens of other world-renowned artists.
The museum is not only fabulous, it’s a beautiful space. The founders of the museum wanted the museum to feel natural and open, so there are pieces scattered around the immaculate gardens as well as indoors.
Exhibitions change two or three times per year and touch on drawing, photography, installation, and architecture, all through the lens of sculpture. It is definitely worth a visit.
#4 Perot Museum of Nature and Science
The first thing that you will probably notice about the Perot Museum is the eye-popping architecture. Designed by famed architect Thom Mayne, the building features a 54-foot, continuous-flow escalator contained in a glass-encased, tube-like structure. It’s actually really cool to look at.
The genesis of the museum is a merger of 3 museums in 2006: Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place, and The Dallas Children’s museum. In 2008, the 5 children of Ross Perot gave a $50 million gift to honor their parents, which allowed the ground to be broken on the current museum in late 2009. The museum as it stands today opened in December 2012.
Inside, five floors house 11 permanent exhibits where visitors can go on an interactive adventure, study ancient animal bones, peruse gems and minerals, and play around in a 3D animation lab.
What else can you do inside? You can experience a simulated earthquake, construct your “own” bird and then fly it using 3-D glasses, or feed terrarium animals. Needless to say, it covers a lot and will entertain adults and kids alike.
#3 Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum
In 1984, a group of 125 local Holocaust survivors founded the Dallas Holocaust Museum. Ever since the museum’s goal has been to educate visitors on the genocide and to promote human rights. There are three permanent exhibits—one focused on the Holocaust, another on human rights and the years following the Holocaust, and the last on how we deal with these issues in America today. Highlights include artifacts such as Nazi propaganda posters, and Holocaust survivors’ suitcases and belongings.
The current facility opened in September 2019 and sits between the West End and Victory Park. It brings to life the tragic history and consequences of the Holocaust, other genocides, and our own country’s journey for civil and human rights. It’s also one of only two Museums in the world that offers Dimensions in Testimony where visitors can interact with holographic images of Holocaust Survivors.
#2 The 6th-floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
This museum is located inside the former Texas School Book Depository building – the spot from where Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK (if you chose to believe that). The museum outlines the political climate of the 1960s and cumulates with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
The permanent exhibit includes news reports, photos, and footage, and you can stand in the sniper’s perch. From this perch, you can basically see that the laws of physics would have been broken for Oswald to have acted alone. Anyway, The Sixth Floor Museum is educational, emotional, and thought-provoking; there’s no other museum quite like it.
If you love exploring history (and conspiracy theories) this is the museum for you.
#1 Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art is one of the country’s largest art museums, housing more than 24,000 pieces of art that span continents, mediums, and centuries. The museum includes exhibits of African, American, Mediterranean, Asian, contemporary and European art. The DMA is particularly strong in European art from the 19th and 20th centuries, and decorative arts and design. The temporary exhibits that visit the museum range from site-specific contemporary installations to curations from the museum’s collection.
Established in 1903, the Dallas Museum of Art became the first-ever museum in America to offer free admission and free membership in 2012. With more than 22,000 works that span 5,000 years of history, this vibrant, diverse museum is easily one of the best in Texas. Apart from their permanent global collection which includes works by Pollock, O’Keeffe, Monet, and Van Gogh, the museum has tons of weekly activities and events, holding regular lectures, dramatic and dance presentations, concerts, and more. The DMA has long been the best museum in the city; don’t leave town without stopping here.
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