One of the many amazing things about Houston’s arts and culture scene is that there is plenty of it, but as we all know some options are a lot more popular to visit than others. If you’ve found yourself bored of visiting the same museums over and over again, or you really want to impress someone by taking them to a cool exhibit they’ve never seen before, this article is for you. Here are five unique or underrated Houston museums and art installations you should pay a visit to ASAP:
National Museum of Funeral History (415 Barren Springs Drive)
Whether you’re a history buff or someone who’s interested in all things macabre, the National Museum of Funeral History is an absolute must-visit. From an assortment of coffins, hearses and lessons on the history of embalming, mourning and cremating, this museum has everything you need to know about the various ways humans go about practicing death-related ceremonies. The museum is also host to fascinating exhibits on the death of popes, presidential funerals, Japanese funerals, jazz funerals of New Orleans and much more. Admission is $10, and check out their website for operating hours and more information
Art Car Museum (140 Heights Blvd)
If you’ve ever made your way over to the Heights, there’s a good chance you’ve driven past this wonder of a museum and thought about how cool the building, but even more so the car out front, looks. It’s no secret that car culture is an important staple of Houston, but did you know that art car culture has also been the source of decades worth of local joy? The Art Car Museum, founded by artists James and Ann Harithas, is a free museum open Wednesday through Sunday (by appointment only) that is home to various cars decorated in a variety of objects and designs related to different themes. In addition to the art cars, visitors can also view the current collection of photos and paintings on display as well as other decorated wheeled items like bicycles, roller skates and motorcycles.
The Orange Show (2401 Munger St.)
Visiting the Orange Show feels like stepping into another world that celebrates all things related to oranges. This huge folk art installation that pays tribute to the fruit is a stunningly unique maze-type structure made of found objects, brick, steel and concrete. Each piece of this monument was single-handedly hand-placed and painted by the late Jefferson Davis McKissack, a Houston postal worker, between 1956 and 1979. The Orange Show is home to a wishing well, stage, museum, pond, oasis, a gift shop and many other interesting areas to check out. The monument is open for tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and admission is $5.
Eclectic Menagerie Park (Take 288 South, exit W Bellfort Avenue)
A southern drive down 288 is always interesting because of this majestic collection of huge handmade metal sculptures at Texas Pipe and Supply Company’s Eclectic Menagerie Park. This assortment of huge steel creatures such as a giant spider, hippo, eagle, King Kong climbing a skyscraper and over 20 more are visible from the road, but take a friend with you so they can safely take pictures while you continue being a safe driver. Most of the pieces are created by local artist, contractor and designer Ron Lee along with light metals artist Mark Rankin.
Twilight Epiphany Skyspace (Suzanne Deal Booth Centennial Pavilion, 6100 Main St.)
Created by artist James Turrell, this beautiful installation gives visitors an opportunity to contemplate the absolute wonder that is the Earth and sky. Located on the Rice University campus and designed for music performances, around dawn and dusk every day (except Tuesdays) an LED light sequence is projected onto the ceiling that changes its color and compliments the changing light in the current sky. To plan your visit, find information on parking and learn more about the history of Twilight Epiphany visit their website.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons