Sculptor David Adickes placed giant busts of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Sam Houston, and Stephen Austin along Interstate 10. If nothing else, the sculptures – adorned with “A Tribute to American Statesmanship” across their base — provide commuters a distraction during their rush hour drives. The park is officially named American Statesmanship Park.
The Art Car Museum is a contemporary art museum that celebrates the post-modern age of car-culture. The museum features a collection of stock cars and lowriders that artists have remolded and customized to their choosing. The museum, nicknamed the Garage Mahal, opened in February 1988.
From the late 1960s until he died in the 1980s, John Milkovisch covered his house on Malone Street with crushed been cans. The house — today affectionately know as the Beer Can House — opened in 2008 as a folk art museum. For a small fee, visitors can tour the house and learn more about more about Milkovisch’s passion. From the late 1960s until he died in the 1980s, John Milkovisch covered his house on Malone Street with crushed been cans. The house — today affectionately know as the Beer Can House — opened in 2008 as a folk art museum. For a small fee, visitors can tour the house and learn more about more about Milkovisch’s passion. “They say every man should leave something to be remembered by. At least I accomplished that goal,” one Milkovisch quote painted on an interior wall reads.
The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site commemorates the location of the Battle of San Jacinto. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960, the park is located off the Houston Ship Channel in unincorporated Harris County and is home to the San Jacinto Monument and the USS Texas, a New York-class battleship that launched on May 18, 1912, and served until it was decommissioned on April 21, 1948.
Established in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is one of the 10 largest art museums. The museum is home to an encyclopedic collection of more than 65,000 works dating from antiquity to the present. The main campus comprises the Audrey Jones Beck Building, designed by Rafael Moneo and opened in 2000; the Caroline Wiess Law Building, originally designed by William Ward Watkin, with extensions by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe completed in 1958 and 1974; and the Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden, designed by Isamu Noguchi and opened in 1986. Additional spaces include a repertory cinema, two libraries, public archives, and facilities for conservation and storage.
The 445-acre Hermann Park is one of the most visited public areas in all of Houston. The park sits in the middle of Texas Medical Center, Rice University and the Museum District. The park is named for George H. Hermann, who gave the land to the city in 1914.
The National Museum of Funeral History contains a collection of artifacts and relics that aim to “educate the public and preserve the heritage of death care.” The 35,000-square-foot museum opened in 1992 and is home to “the country’s largest collection of funeral service artifacts and features renowned exhibits on one of man’s oldest cultural customs,” according to its website. The museum features a wide array of caskets and hearses, which one might expect to see at a funeral museum. But, the well-researched exhibits go much deeper, ranging from a look at celebrities’ deaths to the history of embalming to the mourning customs of the 19th century.
The Houston Police Department museum is located in the lobby of HPD headquarters at 1200 Travis. The museum features displays and a memorial wall honoring the officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. Displays include artifacts from the Honor Guard, SWAT, Mounted Patrol, badges, uniforms and other equipment police used over the years.
A legacy of the philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, the Menil Collection opened in 1987. The museum presents regular rotations of artworks from its growing permanent collection, organizes special exhibitions and programs throughout the year, publishes scholarly books, and conducts research into the conservation of modern and contemporary art. The Menil Collection’s main museum building, the first building in the United States designed by Renzo Piano, anchors a park-like 30-acre campus, which also includes the Cy Twombly Gallery, a site- specific Dan Flavin installation, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel — now a venue for long-term installations by contemporary artists — and outdoor sculpture.
The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is located at at William P. Hobby Airport and housed in the original art deco building which served as the first purpose-built terminal for passenger flight in Houston. The museum features collections focusing on civil aviation history in Space City. It is operated by the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society (HAHS), a non-profit organization.
There are no launch pads at Johnson Space Center, but the center is home to the space agency’s mission control and astronaut training facilities. It was here that people on the ground oversaw space missions, including the Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs. While the space center has a bit of a tourist trap feel to it, it’s not a bad destination for anyone interested in history or space travel. While here, be sure to check out the Saturn V rocket on display in Rocket Park. These massive rockets propelled Apollo astronauts from Cape Canaveral, Fla., into space on their way to the moon. In 2012, NASA also relocated Space Shuttle Explorer (now known as Space Shuttle Independence), a shuttle replica, to the space center.