Last updated on Sunday, June 21, 2020.
Houston Art Exhibit Venues
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
The Menil Collection
Contemporary Art Museum, Houston
Discovery Green & Avenida Houston
Moody Center for the Arts
Lawndale Arts Center
Project Row Houses
Houston Museum of African American Culture
Blaffer Art Museum
Houston Center for Photography
Art League Houston
Station Museum of Contemporary Art
Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston
Art Car Museum
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft
Houston History & Science Exhibit Venues
Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Health Museum
Holocaust Museum Houston
Asia Society Texas Center
National Museum of Funeral History
The Bryan Museum
Lone Star Flight Museum
Houston Kids Exhibit Venues
Houston Museum of Natural Science
The Health Museum
Discovery Green & Avenida Houston
Lone Star Flight Museum
Whether exploring the world-class museums and installations that fill the Museum District, or venturing through thought-provoking displays found throughout the Greater Houston area, there is no shortage of exhibits that locals and visitors alike will find fascinating and engaging.
365 Houston has compiled a list of featured exhibits currently on display at museums and renowned destinations throughout the city of Houston, including free offerings that are always open to the public.
Museums and exhibit venues have been organized by prominence in both ticketed and free admission categories. They’re also listed by area of focus (art, history and science, and kid-specific) in the sidebar at the top of this page.
Current Ticketed Museum Exhibits in Houston
These current exhibits require a dedicated ticket—either included with general admission or as a separate ticket—at several of Houston’s flagship museums, including The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH), Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS), The Health Museum, Holocaust Museum Houston, and more.
Most museums offer free admission on certain days or during certain hours, though tickets to some exhibits are still required.
One of the Museum District’s crown jewels, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) routinely hosts some of the most prominent temporary exhibits in Houston each year. Joining the exhibits from the museum’s permanent collection, these curated crowd-pleasers consistently draw Houstonians and visitors alike.
- Francis Bacon: Late Paintings | Through Sunday, August 16, 2020 – From the Centre Pompidou in Paris, this exhibition includes an array of the artist’s monumental triptychs–among his most celebrated works–and other paintings from the last two decades of his production, from 1971 to 1991. Tickets are $23; $18 for 65+, military, students, and ages 13 to 18; free for ages 12 and under.
- Radical: Italian Design 1965-1985 | Through Monday, September 7, 2020 – Through furniture, lighting design, architectural models, paintings, and other objects, MFAH presents the first U.S. museum exhibition in nearly 50 years to survey Italy’s pivotal postwar movement in design history.
- Through an African Lens: Sub-Saharan Photography | Through Sunday, November 8, 2020 – This dynamic collection of photos spans from the 1950s to present, exploring the artistic styles and expression of contemporary photographers from Benin to Zimbabwe, who look to address themes of personal identity, cultural traditions, modern aspirations, and social and political issues.
- Glory of Spain: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library | Through Sunday, January 10, 2021 – Spanning more than 4,000 years of Hispanic art and culture, this exhibition highlights works from antiquity to the early 20th century out of Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Phillippines through paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, maps, porcelains and ceramics, and more. Tickets are $23; $18 for 65+, military, students, and ages 13 to 18; free for ages 12 and under.
Another must-see Museum District landmark, Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS) is best known for its amazing halls of Paleontology and Ancient Egypt exhibit, along with the Cockrell Butterfly Center, gem and minerals hall, planetarium, and more. You can often find discounted admission to HMNS by clicking here.
- Gaia – Earth by Luke Jerram | Through Tuesday, June 30, 2020 – Measuring 23 feet in diameter and featuring high-resolution, detailed NASA imagery, this digital sculpture suspends above the heads of museum visitors and invites viewers to consider the Overview Effect—the seldom-experienced phenomena of viewing the planet and its inhabitants as a whole, without political and geographical divisions.
- Stonehenge: Ancient Mysteries and Modern Discoveries | Through Monday, September 7, 2020 – Explore the ancient mysterious formation of these massive stones with a look at scientific research, hundreds of original artifacts (many of which make their U.S. debut), and modern discoveries. Tickets are $30; $21 for ages 3 to 11 and 62+; free for ages 2 and under.
- State of Water: Our Most Valuable Resource by Brad Temkin | Temporarily on view in 2020 – Award-winning photographer and Chicago native, Brad Temkin showcases the designs and architecture behind water systems we use every day, tracing the journey of our most valuable resource from tunnel to tap. Included with general admission.
- Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Temporarily on view in 2020 – Returning for its 55th year, the world-renowned exhibition features stunning photography of animal behavior, spectacular species and breathtaking diversity of the natural world. This year’s iteration is culled from over 48,000 entries from professionals and amateurs across 100 countries.
In the Museum District, the Health Museum is a Smithsonian-affiliate kid-friendly staple that invites museum-goers to consider the human body in all of its capabilities and the ways we can keep it healthy, thanks in part to marvelous advances in medical science. Please note that as of Sunday, June 21, 2020, The Health Museum remains closed to the public.
- Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World | Temporarily on view in 2020 – Created by Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., this exhibit examines the origins of pathogens, how they spread, and the ways to address them in a world where humans, animals, and the environment have deep, intricate connections. Included with museum admission. Tickets are $10; $8 for ages 3 to 12 and 65+; free for ages 2 and under.
Through a reflective journey of the events in Europe in the 1930s and 40s, Holocaust Museum Houston (HMH) provides an educational experience that promotes responsible individual behavior, cultivates civility, and pursues social justice by exploring human rights and the horrors of hatred, prejudice, and apathy.
- The Book Smugglers: Partisans, Poets, and the Race to Save Jewish Treasures from the Nazis | Through Sunday, August 16, 2020 – Consisting of approximately 100 artifacts and reproductions on display, this exhibition tells the true story of how ghetto residents rescued thousands of rare books and manuscripts by hiding them on their persons, burying them in bunkers and smuggling them across borders. Ultimately, it asks the viewer the underlying question, “Would you risk your life to save a book?”. Tickets are $15; $10 for 65+, military; free for students and ages 18 and under.
One of twelve Asia Society locations in the country, the Asia Society Texas Center in the Museum District hosts public programs and exhibitions to increase knowledge of Asia, enhance dialogue, and generate new ideas across the fields of art and culture, business, and education.
- Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form: Works by Miya Ando | Through Sunday, June 28, 2020 – Inspired by the important Buddhist text known as the Heart Sutra, artist Miya Ando exhibits a site-specific work that responds to the unique Asia Society Texas Center building, with references to elemental materials such as metal, light, water, and wood. Tickets are $8; $5 for students and ages 65+; free for ages 12 and under.
- Eternal Offerings: Chinese Ritual Bronzes | Through Sunday, November 29, 2020 – Displaying stunning objects dating from the Shang to the Han Dynasties (1600 BCE to 220 CE), this exhibition explores the ritual significance or ancient Chinese bronzes, and the advanced techniques in form and ornamentation. Tickets are $8; $5 for students and ages 65+; free for ages 12 and under.
Located in the historic Galveston Orphans Home, The Bryan Collection is one of the world’s largest collections of historical artwork, artifacts, documents, and exhibits relating to the American West and Texas.
- Destination Moon | Through Tuesday, June 30, 2020 – From ancient civilizations to lunar legends that are woven through pop culture, the moon has long been a source of fascination for humankind. This exhibit explores that captivation, as well as the tremendous efforts from biomedical professionals (also known as “space doctors”) that helped to ensure a successful mission to the lunar surface. Tickets are $14; $12 for 65+ and military; $10 for students; $5 for ages 6 to 12; free for ages under 6.
- The Lost Bird Project | Through March 2021 – On the grounds of the museum, these large bronze sculptures of the Passenger Pigeon, Heath Hen, Carolina Parakeet, Great Auk, Labrador Duck and, most recently, the Eskimo Curlew chronicle these North American birds that have been driven to extinction in modern times.
Next to Ellington International Airport, Lone Star Flight Museum (LSFM) is home to more than 40 displays of significant flying vehicles, hundreds of artifacts related to the history of flight, and flying simulators. In additional, the Texas Aviation Hall of Fame pays tribute to the contributions of native Texans, including Howard Hughes and former President George H.W. Bush.
- 1945: World War II’s Last Year in Pictures | Temporarily on view in 2020 – In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of World War II, LSFM presents a photography exhibit featuring forty iconic images from the last year of World War II, capturing the reality, sacrifice, and raw emotion of the men and women who fought to preserve freedom on a global basis. Tickets are $14.95; $12.95 for ages 12 to 17 and 65+; $9.95 for ages 4 to 11; free for ages 3 and under.
- Fight to the Finish – 1945: The Final Year | Temporarily on view in 2020 – Explore the final year of World War II, in which the Allied forces took to the air to bring a close to hostilities. Witness wartime images, personal accounts and wartime artifacts that bring the conflict to reality, while the accompanying Art of Persuasion exhibition features twenty original posters that sought to rally wartime support, encourage participation in the efforts, and highlight consequences of non-support.
In North Houston, the National Museum of Funeral History (NMFH) houses the country’s largest collection of funeral service artifacts and features renowned exhibits on one of man’s oldest cultural customs. Visitors to NMFH can discover the mourning rituals of ancient civilizations, see up-close the authentic items used in the funerals of U.S. presidents and popes, and explore the rich heritage of the industry that cares for the dead.
- Icons in Ash | Temporarily on view in 2020 – NMFH further explores ways to memorialize loved ones with Icons In Ash, an exhibit of contemporary fine artist Heide Hatry’s memorial portraits, crafted from the cremated remains of the deceased subjects. Tickets are $10; $9 for ages 55+ and military; $7 for ages 6 to 11; free for ages 5 and under.
Houston is home to many renowned institutions like the Menil Collection, Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston (CAMH), Moody Center for the Arts, and more where you can explore current exhibits for free, with opportunities to donate to the institutions.
The Menil Collection is a uniquely beloved art museum and campus housing the permanent collection started by John and Dominique de Menil. The main building anchors a campus that also features the Rothko Chapel, Byzantine Fresco Chapel, and Menil Drawing Institute. Two further buildings are dedicated to single artists (Cy Twombly and Dan Flavin) and another to year-long installation projects.
Admission to the Menil Collection and its buildings on campus is free and open to the public. Please note as of Sunday, June 21, 2020, the Menil Collection is temporarily closed to the public.
- Wall Drawing Series: Jorinde Voigt at Menil Drawing Institute | Temporarily on view in 2020 | FREE – Commissioned as a site-specific installation at the Drawing Institute, Jorinde Voigt’s epic new work responds to the vegetation and natural resources endemic to Houston and the Gulf Coast region.
- Photography and the Surreal Imagination | Temporarily on view in 2020 | FREE – Highlighting artists from Man Ray to Lorna Simpson, this exhibition explores the way photography allows surrealist artists to reshape, question, and disturb the way we see the world.
- Think of Them as Spaces: Brice Marden’s Drawings at Menil Drawing Institute | Through Sunday, October 11, 2020 | FREE – The New York artist gained distinction in the 1960s, investigating color, abstract and intuitive gestures, and the studied imprecision of calligraphic line. In this exhibition, Marden’s work asks the viewer to explore it in two dimensions, from what’s drawn and the spaces in between.
Located across the street from the MFAH campus, the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (CAMH) hosts ever-rotating exhibitions that its curators deem the most exciting international, national, and regional art of our time. Housed in a striking stainless steel building, the museum has two galleries. Admission is always free. Donations at the door are welcomed, but not required. Please note as of Sunday, June 21, 2020, the Contemporary Arts Museum is temporarily closed to the public.
- Garrett Bradley: American Rhapsody | On view in 2020 | FREE – The first solo museum presentation of the New Orleans-based artist and filmmaker, CAMH will exhibit new and recent films and videos by the artist, addressing themes such as race, class, familial relationships, social justice, southern culture, and the history of film in the United States.
- Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses | On view in 2020 | FREE – Revolving around the legacy of the late Houston legend, DJ Screw, this interdisciplinary exhibition examines the creative process of DJ Screw, his contribution to rap, and assembles a field of artists that appropriate mash-up, collage, and slow down time to emphasize how remixing of “sampled” materials is a radical aesthetic act utilized by both artists and musicians.
Located in historic Third Ward, Project Row Houses is comprised of a city block containing 39 structures that highlight its community-based mission of supporting people, ideas, and causes while encouraging artists to extend their practice into a social context. Project Row Houses host artists during bi-annual events called Artist Rounds, in which they’re invited to utilize the structures to engage and preserve the community. Admission is free and open to the public. Please note as of Sunday, June 21, 2020, Project Row Houses is temporarily closed to the public.
- Round 51: Local Impact II | Through Sunday, September 13, 2020 – Six Houston artists have created installations for the latest Artist Round, elevating the myriad of social justice conversations taking place around the city. While the museum is temporarily closed, visitors can experience a Virtual Exhibition of the Artist Round on the Project Row Houses website.
Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) in the Museum District
In the heart of the Museum District, the Houston Museum of African American Culture engages visitors of every race and background with rotating art exhibitions, film screenings, tours, educational programming and more, that help explore and preserve the materials and intellectual culture of African and African Americans in Houston, the state of Texas, the southwest region, and the African Diaspora. Admission to HMAAC is always free, though donations are welcomed but not required.
While it’s far from a museum, Discovery Green and the adjacent Avenida Houston are well known for their interactive, striking, and compelling public art installations. The park’s art installations are always free to the public.
- No current temporary exhibits on display, though guests are welcome to visit permanent works at the park.
On the campus of Rice University, Moody Center for the Arts is a state-of-the-art architectural beauty, hosting multiple immersive exhibitions throughout the year, as well as workshops, classes, and special events. Admission is always free and open to the public.
- Summer Window Series: It Takes a Village by Ganzeer | Through Saturday, July 25, 2020 | FREE – Adorning the windows of the museum’s west wall that faces College Way, this site-specific exhibition by Egyptian-born artist Ganzeer presents large-scale hands in bright colors and different shapes that appear to hold up the museum, serving as a metaphor for people coming together during a time of social isolation, anger and despair, encouraging viewers to find new ways of connecting and supporting each other.
- Off the Wall: Harold Mendez | Through Monday, August 24, 2020 | FREE – The inaugural artist for Rice Public Art’s new Off the Wall series, Harold Mendez’s site specific Field (Encounter) draws from photographic archives to explore forgotten histories of the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries.
- Platform: Kameelah Janan Rasheed | Through Tuesday, September 1, 2020 | FREE – The text-based installation by the Brooklyn-based artist, perhaps, there is no sequel, is inspired by the groundbreaking work of Fluxus artist Benjamin Patterson. Rasheed provides text instructions outlined on cards and dispersed throughout strategic locations across campus, encouraging the participation of viewers who can expand on, amplify, and reinterpret her words.
From its home in Midtown, Lawndale Art Center focuses on emerging, up-and-coming local and regional artists, giving them exposure in its four galleries, garden, and the massive 3,200-square-foot wall on the building’s northeast-facing wall. Admission is free.
- Virginia Lee Montgomery: Sky Loop | Through Saturday, August 8, 2020 | FREE – Exploring a new artistic direction, Virginia Lee Montgomery introduces a multi-disciplinary project that presents a rigorous and metaphysical analysis of Hurrican Harvey. The filmmaker utilizes archival footage, footage shot of Harvey as she weathered the storm with her mother, and footage shot from her studio and alongside Buffalo Bayou.
- Shawne Major: Folie à Deux | Through Saturday, August 8, 2020 | FREE – The mixed-media collages of Shawne Major reflect the “interior world of intensely codependent relationships” with colorful overlapping layers of objects that include ropes, holiday lights, and charger cables among other materials.
On the University of Houston campus in Third Ward, Blaffer Art Museum offers free exhibits, publications, and public programming for a participatory experience in understanding the force of contemporary art. Please note as of Sunday, June 21, 2020, the Blaffer Art Museum is temporarily closed to the public.
- No temporary exhibitions are currently on view.
Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH) in Midtown
Opened in 2015, the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH) features five stages that host 100 to 329 attendees across various spaces for performing arts productions, gallery exhibitions, rehearsal studios, and more. MATCH serves many of the smaller performing arts companies, local artists, and cultural arts organizations in the city, as well as playing host to traveling performers, musicians, artists, and theater groups.
Art Car Museum near Washington Avenue
A Houston tradition for over thirty years, the Art Car Parade sends jaw-dropping cars, bikes, skaters, and motorized creatures rolling down the streets of Downtown and Allen Parkway. Founded by Ann and James Harithas, the Art Car Museum continues the spirit of the popular parade by providing exhibit space for artworks on view temporarily, as well as some of the remolded vehicles that dazzle in the yearly spectacle.
- Daniel Kramer: Giddy Up!! A Decade of Documenting the Houston Rodeo | On view through Summer 2020 (by appointment only) | FREE – Participating in FotoFest 2020, the Art Car Museum presents an exhibition of award-winning photographer Daniel Kramer’s work detailing various aspects of the Houston Rodeo since 2007.
Located next to CAMH, the Jung Center offers more than 200 classes each year on topics including relationships, ethics, religious studies, expressive arts, writing, mediation and more. In addition, Jung Center also features a free art gallery with rotating exhibits from emerging and established local, regional, and national artists. Please note as of Sunday, June 21, 2020, the Jung Center is temporarily closed to the public.
Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) is one of the only museums in the country dedicated to the art of making things by hand. In addition to checking out its exhibits, visitors to HCCC can witness artists-in-residence from around the country as they create original art from materials like clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood or found/recycled materials. Admission is free. Please note as of Sunday, June 21, 2020, the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is temporarily closed to the public.
- No temporary exhibitions are currently on view.
Since 1981, Houston Center for Photography (HCP) in Montrose has hosted ongoing exhibits of renowned artists, up-and-coming photographers, and students that take part in classes or workshops offered at the small visual artists’ organization. Admission is free and open to the public. Please note as of Sunday, June 21, 2020, the Houston Center for Photography is temporarily closed to the public.
- No temporary exhibitions are currently on view.
Located in Midtown, Station Museum of Contemporary Art has spent two decades hosting local, national, and international exhibitions that seek to broaden public awareness of the cultural, political, economic, and personal dimensions of art. Admission is free and open to the public.
- No Man’s Land | Temporarily on view in 2020 | FREE – This group exhibition features work from artists around the world, reflecting on the legacy of colonialism and intervention, particularly how it relates to migration and diaspora. In addition, it examines how many of today’s refugee crises, whether driven by conflict, climate or economic opportunity, can be traced back to colonial imposition.
One of the city’s oldest non-profit art organizations and a staple for contemporary visual art exhibitions and community classes, Art League Houston embraces contemporary approaches offering modern curatorial programming, community-building through art education, and outreach to the under-served communities. Admission is free and open to the public. Please note as of Sunday, June 21, 2020, Art League Houston is temporarily closed to the public, though the current exhibitions can be viewed in a digital format on their website.
- The Writing on the Wall by Alice Leora Briggs | Through Saturday, June 27, 2020 | FREE – This exhibition displays recent works from the Tuscon-based artist that address immigration and border politics in the city of Juárez, featuring visual artwork created by Briggs in conjunction with her projects with Juárez reporter and photojournalist Julián Cardona.
- Hatsubon by Tomiko Jones | Through Saturday, June 27, 2020 | FREE – A memorial to the artist’s father, this body of work examines cultural customs, design, and materials through the ritual ceremony of hatsubon, which marks the first anniversary of a loved one’s death.
- Where We Are by Micaela Cadungog, Veronica Gaona, and Jamie Robertson | Through Saturday, June 27, 2020 | FREE – These Houston-based artists explore the ways they use their physical body as part of their creative practice—highlighting intersections of identity, race, gender and place, while emphasizing both personal and share collective experiences.
Since 1976, Archway Gallery has been Texas’ oldest artist-owned gallery, presenting monthly exhibitsuseum of sculpture, pottery, and paintings across a wide range of media and styles. Admission is free and open to the public.
- Fusion 2 by Robert L. Straight | Through Tuesday, July 1, 2020 | FREE – Brightly colored sculptures made of glass, wood, and other materials through different metal processes such as welding, forging and casting highlight this exhibition from process-oriented artist Robert L. Straight. While the gallery has limited hours, this exhibition can also be viewed virtually on the Archway Gallery website.
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