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A Taste of East Texas

Museums Aplenty

Houston’s Museum District is an unusual concentration of 19 museums in four walkable zones. The Metrorail is a clean, convenient and inexpensive ($1.25 each way) means of going from downtown to the Museum District.

I focused on the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. It can take several hours to sample fully its large collection in two main gallery buildings, which are connected by an underground tunnel of changing lights that is an art installation in itself.

“We are an encyclopedic museum,” said senior docent Kem Schultz. “For being a young museum and starting so late in the game, we have some good pieces.”

Those pieces include one of only two Rembrandts in Texas, “Portrait of a Young Woman.” “It is one of our great treasures,” said Schultz.

The collections run the gamut from Asian, African, Islamic, Native American, pre-Columbian, modern and contemporary art to antiquities of Egypt, Greece and Rome, Impressionist masterpieces and American art and sculpture.

The Cullen Sculpture Garden across the street is a tree-shaded oasis with works by Louise Bourgeois, Henri Matisse and Auguste Rodin among others.

Among the other museums in the district are the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Health Museum, the Houston Museum of African American Culture, the Holocaust Museum Houston and the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum. The Houston Zoo is also in the district.

Houston also has a vibrant theater scene, with the 17-block downtown theater district boasting nearly 13,000 seats for live performances, with venues such as the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, the Wortham Theater Center and the Alley Theatre, the only Texas theater to have won a Tony Award for best regional theater.