Museums offer fresh alternative

For entertainment, we have all flourished the beach, or as close as Galveston can get to a beach. We have frequented the bars – some of us a few too many times. A lot of us most likely even made the trek to the Big H for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. But, if you are looking for a fresh way to spend your day, try nostalgic fun at any of the wonderful museums in the area.

If you don’t mind the journey into downtown Houston, then you have your pick of what museum interests you the most. Houston is practically a cultural landmine when it comes to museums, with collections stemming from every topic under the rainbow.

There is the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, The Holocaust Museum, The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston Museum of Natural Science, The Health Museum, and even The Children’s Museum. Some of the museums are free to public on most days of the week. Simply visit to learn more about these and the other 10 museums in Houston.

If you are looking for a real cultural treat, head to The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH) before May 6 to see “The Masterpieces of French Painting.” This collection of art is normally featured in New York’s Metropolitan Museum; however, due to museum renovation at The Met, the paintings were moved to Houston. This is a grand opportunity because Houston is the exhibit’s only stop in the United States.

“Never before in the history of The Met have we agreed to lend so many of our treasures, some of which are leaving the building for the first – and most probably, the last time,” said Philippe de Montebello, director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in a statement on the museum’s Web site.

The exhibit features over 135 works by amazing French artists including Monet, Degas. Renoir, Van Gogh, Matisse, and Picasso. Seeing these paintings from these renowned artists is truly an opportunity to enhance your appreciation for art.

Tickets for this particular exhibit are discounted to $8 on Thursdays. Make sure you buy them in advance online because they do sell out quickly. If you can’t swing $8 after the gas it costs to drive there, the MFAH has free admission on every Thursday to their other regular exhibits, which are just as culturally enlightening.

For those who wish to stay local, don’t forget about The Prison Museum. It may not be Van Gogh, but it is still very interesting to see the art that the prisoners have come up with. Their creativity in producing contraband items, relieving boredom and planning escapes is very surprising.

Since Huntsville is a prison town, it only makes sense to have a basic understanding of the prison system, its history and the daily life for the inmates serving their time. For instance, did you know that for about 40 years the prisoners took part in a rodeo? And did you know that executions were stopped in Texas for a period of close to 20 years before they resumed again in the 80’s?

The Prison Museum is filled with informative exhibits that can change the way you think about your freedom. Like their website says, “The Texas Prison Museum offers an intriguing glimpse into the lives of the state’s least-loved citizens.”

The museum is open every day of the week. Admission is only $3 for students. Visit for more information.

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