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6 Can’t-Miss Dallas Museums
Dallas has a range of museums that offer visitors a chance to experience exceptional collections.
With artifacts, science, art and more, these museums have something for everyone.(Getty Images)
Whether you're searching for a place to bring the family or want to take a deeper look into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the museums in Dallas have you covered. U.S. News talked to local experts to learn which museums are the most important to see on your next trip to Dallas. Here's what they said.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
By far the most recommended museum in the city is The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas. The museum is in the former Texas School Book Depository building, where, from the sixth floor, Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963.
Along with news footage and artifacts, the museum has permanent exhibits, including "The Corner Window" – widely known as “sniper’s perch,” where three cartridge shells were found on the sixth floor – and "The Corner Staircase," a recreated crime scene where visitors will see a rifle identical to the one discovered by investigators.
"This museum gives you a chance to see living history right before your eyes," says Robert Case, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas.
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The museum is open Monday from noon to 6 p.m. and Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and students with an ID, and $13 for children 6 to 18. Admission is free for children 5 and younger.
Nasher Sculpture Center
Nasher Sculpture Center.(Courtesy of Tim Hursley)
Stroll through the contemporary sculptures on display in the Nasher Sculpture Center's 1.4-acre garden – an "urban oasis," as Mary Stamm, chief concierge at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, describes it. Or, experience the center's collection inside its 55,000-square-foot glass-walled building.
Located in the Dallas Arts District, the Nasher Sculpture Center has more than 300 sculptures by masters like Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. While exhibits rotate, long-term loaners include modern sculptures, such as Mac Whitney's towering steel "Chicota" and Isaac Witkin's bronze "Hawthorne Tree, Variation III."
The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for students with an ID. Children 12 and younger are free.
Dallas Museum of Art
Dallas Museum of Art.(Courtesy of the Dallas Museum of Art.)
From the ancient Egyptian coffin of Horankh to Vincent Van Gogh's "River Bank in Springtime," the massive Dallas Museum of Art's collection celebrates some 5,000 years' worth of culture and art history.
"The scope of work, heritage and cultural significance of the museum is extraordinary," Stamm says.
In total, the museum has more than 23,000 works of art from the ancient Americas, South Asia, Europe and Africa. For children, the museum has three dedicated spaces for hands-on learning. When you need a break, visit the DMA Cafe.
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The Dallas Museum of Art is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It's closed on Monday. Admission is free, but special exhibits and programs are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, $12 students with an ID and free for children 11 and younger.
Kimbell Art Museum
Kimbell Art Museum.(Courtesy of the Kimbell Art Museum/Robert LaPrelle)
Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum boasts a small, but carefully curated, collection from the third millennia B.C. through the mid-20th century. You'll see art from Asia, Europe, Africa and the ancient Americas, and Egyptian and classical antiquities. Inside Louis I. Kahn's modern building of vaulted spaces and natural light, visitors will find artifacts from the early Christian church, decorative art from Japan and wood sculptures from central Africa.
"You're going to leave learning something from it," says Frank Everet, W insider for the W Dallas – Victory. "You will not see those things represented anywhere else in Dallas."
Kimbell Art Museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday from noon to 8 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It's closed on Monday. Admission to the permanent collection is free. Some special exhibitions may have an admission fee of $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and students with an ID, and $14 for children 6 to 11. It's free for children age 5 and younger.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
A family favorite, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science encourages hands-on learning in its exhibits. That could include comparing the teeth of meat-eating dinosaurs to plant eaters in the T. Boone Pickens Life Then and Now Hall, or building a model skyscraper to weather a simulated earthquake in the Texas Instruments Engineering and Innovation Hall.
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The museum, located in Victory Park, spans five floors and includes 11 permanent exhibit halls that feature 3-D animation, interactive kiosks and games. Also, one of the most notable features is the 54-foot escalator that is glass-enclosed in a tubelike structure that extends outside the building.
The Perot Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The first Thursday of each month, the museum is open until 9 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults, $14 for seniors, $13 for those ages 2 to 17 and free for children younger than 2. For a limited time, you can buy tickets on the museum's website for a discount.
George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is a must-see for visitors who want "a phenomenal peek inside what it was like during the presidency of the nation's 43rd president," says Kevin Alderman, chief concierge of the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas.
On the campus of Southern Methodist University, the museum features exhibits dedicated to the service of the second President Bush. The exhibit "A Nation Under Attack" follows Bush after the events of 9/11 and includes artifacts like the bullhorn he used at ground zero after the attack. At "Life in the White House," visitors can take a glimpse at a replica of the Oval Office. And at the "Critical Decisions" exhibit, visitors get to decide how they would act as president when faced with a crisis. When you're finished saving the country, enjoy lunch at Cafe 43.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Ticket prices range depending on dates. From March 2 to Oct. 1, tickets are $19 for adults, $16 for seniors and students with an ID, $17 for teens 13 to 17 and $13 for children 5 to 12. There's a security check to enter the museum and library.
To experience more of what Dallas has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.