Dallas Museums: Perfect for Art Lovers, History Buffs and Parents

Visiting a museum is always a unique experience, as each one has its own distinct characteristics, style, and of course, content. Choose from many different types of museums in Dallas that fit your group's interests and time limits. If you want to spend an entire day in one of Dallas' museums, visit the popular Dallas Museum of Art, which features many permanent collections, as well as international exhibits. Traveling with the kids? No problem! Take them to the interactive Museum of Nature and Science which features an IMAX theater and a children's museum perfect for kids between the ages of 2 and 6. If you're traveling with a history buff, you can't miss the magnificent Sixth Floor Museum, which documents the Kennedy assassination. Other historical museums include the African American Museum, the Holocaust Museum, the Old Red Museum and the Museum of the American Railroad. Many Dallas-area museums offer free admission year-round or on specific days of the month to fit every travelers' budget. If you need help making a selection, our 10Best list highlights the top spots to visit in Dallas.

10 Meadows Museum of Art
In March 2001, the Meadows Museum of Art opened its doors and became one of the leading art museums in Dallas, Texas. It is located on the Southern Methodist University campus, and its massive, 66,000-square-foot facility houses one of the most extensive accumulations of Spanish art outside of Spain. It includes masterpieces from over 1,000 years of Spanish history and features notable artists like Murillo, El Greco and Goya. Checking exhibition schedules ahead of time is advisable. (214-768-2516)

9 Old Red Museum
This exquisite Romanesque revival-style structure, first erected in the 1890's, offers a unique look at Dallas history. The museum's mission to educate and inspire visitors on the "rich and varied cultural, economic, political and social history of the Dallas County Area" comes to life as you wander among turrets, ornate gargoyles and stunning walls of red sandstone and grey granite. Be sure to check the schedule for detailed exhibit info before you visit! (214-745-1100, 214-886-1644)

8 Dallas Firefighters Museum
From horse-drawn steam pumps dating to 1884 to modern motor-powered equipment, this museum's holdings present a fascinating glimpse into history. The museum houses valuable firefighting equipment and chronicles the history of battling blazes. The facility is also located in a 1907 fire station, which adds a nice note of authenticity. Spend part of a pleasant afternoon observing the displays, and don't forget to check out the souvenir merchandise available. (214-821-1500)

7 Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance
This downtown museum focuses on preserving the memory of the Holocaust, as well as teaching the moral and ethical responses to prejudice and hate. It features self-guided audio tours and a wide variety of memorabilia from the Holocaust. It was founded by a group of local Holocaust survivors who are sometimes available to answer questions and give personal accounts of their experiences in concentration camps. (214-741-7500)

6 African American Museum
Boasting fascinating exhibits like "Face of the Rising Sun," this is one of the leading art museums in Dallas, Texas. The African American Museum affords a truly enlightening experience, and its multi-million-dollar facilities make up one of Fair Park's newer complexes. Permanent exhibits highlight the lives of African Americans via historical and cultural representations, while rotating exhibits expound upon important themes, people and movements. The museum also houses the United States' largest folk art collection. (214-565-9026, 877-852-3292)

5 Crow Collection of Asian Art
Travel the globe for free at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, where more than 500 artworks dating from 3500 BC to the early 20th century serve as portals into the captivating cultures of China, Japan, India and Southeast Asia. Lovely and serene, the two-level museum showcases the private collection of founders Trammell and Margaret Crow, enabling visitors to wander amongst ancient Chinese jades, Buddhist sculpture, Japanese screen paintings, delicate fans and intricately carved Indian architecture. (214-979-6430)

4 Nasher Sculpture Center
Located just across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center is a carefully-planned indoor/outdoor museum in downtown Dallas. The fabulous collection features many works by greats like Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi, Max Ernst, Willem de Kooning, Alberto Giacometti, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Joan MirĂ³ —- and the list goes on and on. This is a perfect outing for art lovers of all ages. (214-242-5100, 214-242-5118)

3 Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, located at historic Dealey Plaza in the former Texas School Book Depository building, examines the life, times, death and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. Its impressive collection includes nearly 400 photographs, interviews, artifacts, interpretive displays and award-winning videos that chronicle the historic chain of events preceding his assassination on November 22, 1963. After a contemplative walk-through, you'll want to be sure to visit the museum store for keepsakes. (214-747-6660, 888-485-4854)

2 Museum of Nature & Science
Chock full of amazing artifacts and exhibits, the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas mesmerizes visitors as it allows them to explore geology, natural history, space, the human body and more. Along with informative exhibits and interactive displays, the facility features an IMAX theater and a planetarium, where dramatic, beautifully-rendered shows bring the wonders of the world closer. The children's museum within the MNS ensures that young folks are happily engaged, as well. (214-428-5555)

1 Dallas Museum of Art
Located in Downtown Dallas, the Dallas Museum of Art features a broad collection of art that embraces everything from modern sculptures to classic European paintings. It also has many international exhibits, such as the Ancient American Art collection that features masks from the Olmec culture. If classic art is more your thing, check out Impressionist works by masters like Edouard Manet and Paul Gauguin. (214-922-1200, 214-922-1803)

Born and raised in Dallas, Denise Brandenberg has been a self-proclaimed “Dallas Ambassador” for out-of-town friends and colleagues for years. Denise started her career as an advertising agency copywriter, recruiter, and manager of online forums for an international meeting planning association. She ventured off on her own a few years ago, to start an adventurous career as a freelance writer and marketing consultant. Denise’s other work can be found at Global Road Warrior, USA Today, Chron.com, The Motley Fool, LovetoKnow, The Meeting Professional, and several other online publications.

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Maps and Directions

Meadows Museum of Art 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: Knox-Henderson
Old Red Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: Architecture, Historic Sites, History Museums, Museums
African American Museum 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: Fair Park
Crow Collection of Asian Art 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Free Attractions, Museums
Neighborhood: Downtown
Nasher Sculpture Center 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: Downtown
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza 10Best List Arrow
Type: History Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: West End
Museum of Nature & Science 10Best List Arrow
Type: Children's Museums, Family Friendly, IMAX Theaters, Museums, Planetarium / Observatory, Science Museums
Neighborhood: Fair Park
Dallas Museum of Art 10Best List Arrow
Type: Art Museums, Museums
Neighborhood: Downtown