Until I visited the Briscoe Western Art Museum, I never knew that the 100th meridian, the longitude that follows the eastern edge of the Texas Panhandle, was considered the starting point of the West or the American frontier. I always thought that all of the land west of the Mississippi River claimed that title. That’s what visiting a museum will do for you. You’ll come away with things you never knew before your visit.
The Briscoe Western Art Museum, named for former Governor Dolph Briscoe and his wife, Janey, is yet another feather in San Antonio’s cap, or rather its headdress. The three-story, 58,000-square foot museum captures the essence of the West through educational exhibits, paintings and sculptures.
The 1930s Art Deco building that originally housed the San Antonio Library until 1968 and the Hertzberg Circus Museum until 2005 has been renovated and expanded by San Antonio’s own Lake | Flato Architects, who took full advantage of the museum’s stunning River Walk location. The buffalo reliefs along the outside of the museum make you think that the building was always destined to house all-things Western.
Don’t miss the McNutt Courtyard and Sculpture Garden, a lovely respite from downtown’s hustle and bustle. The three-story Guenther Pavilion, which overlooks the courtyard, is available for parties and events.
The Briscoe’s Lil Partners program offers fun, hands-on activities that explore different Western themes. On the second Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., the museum is continuing its relationship with the San Antonio Public Library by offering storytelling that ties into the museum’s vast collection. For adults, the museum offers a wide variety of special programs and events.
On Saturday, Oct. 4, and Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, the museum will host the Yanaguana Indian Arts Market from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. More than 20 of the country’s most respected Native American artists will showcase and sell their work. If you can’t make it to the market, the museum’s gift store offers a wide variety of Western-themed items throughout the year.
The museum, located at 210 W. Market Street, is open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Fridays through Sundays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. It is closed on Mondays. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for military, students with an I.D. and seniors, age 65 and older. Children ages 12 and under are not charged admission.
For even more ideas of fun things to do and see in San Antonio, visit Barnes & Noble, The Twig, Whole Foods, Half Price Books on Broadway, Costco, Sam’s and Hudson News to purchase “100 Things To Do in San Antonio Before You Die” by yours truly. Gracias. ¡Viva San Antonio!