Best of Houston

The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Museums

Houston's Museum District is a favorite destination for both locals and tourists. But choice museum offerings aren't limited to that one location. And while we have several world-class museums (the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Menil Collection leap immediately to mind), those aren't the only ones on our Houston's Top 10 Museums list. We looked at programming, offerings and settings in choosing our favorites. And for at least one museum on the list, being smaller translated into being better. See who made the list and who didn't.

10.Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts 6815 Cypresswood Drive, Spring, 281-376-6322

The thing we like best about Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts is its dedication to local artists and collectors. Many of its exhibits are based on the private holdings of local residents. Currently on display is "Northwest Houston Collects: Selections from the Home of Ginger and Fred Palumbo," an exhibit of paintings by two Texas artists, Emma Lou Powell and Diana Powell, grandmother and mother respectively of collector Ginger Palumbo.

Also on exhibit is "Wetlands Portfolio: Photography of Joel K. Barr," with a selection of images by Barr, a professor at nearby Lone Star College. "Wetlands Portfolio" is part of the Lone Star College System Faculty exhibition series.

9. Children's Museum of Houston 1500 Binz, 713-522-1138

Lots of museums have a strict "do not touch" policy. Children's Museum of Houston has just the opposite, encouraging kids to touch, handle and manipulate almost everything on display. There are standing exhibits such as the EcoStation (an indoor/outdoor environmental gallery with a native plant garden, pond, woodlands and pavillion) and a Cum Yah Gullah village (a kid-sized village capturing the Gullah customs, language, storytelling, music and food). Touring exhibitions have included art from children's books and miniature car collections. There's a full schedule of performances, guided activities and weekly themed celebrations.

8. Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston University of Houston, 4800 Calhoun, 713-743-9521

The Blaffer Art Museum is dedicated to contemporary art. The most recent exhibit, "Tony Feher," is a survey covering 20 years of work by the American sculptor with 60 important works on display. The Blaffer staff does a great job of programming events and lectures to deepen the viewers' appreciation of the works. There have been performances and film screenings in conjunction with "Tony Feher." Coming up are solo exhibits by Andy Coolquitt and Pamela Fraser.

7. Holocaust Museum of Houston 5401 Caroline, 713-942-8000

Not all of the museums on our Top 10 list are art museums. The Holocaust Museum of Houston is a hybrid of sorts, presenting a standing history exhibit and seasonal art exhibits. In the permanent exhibition "Bearing Witness: A Community Remembers" artifacts, photographs and film footage document life in pre-war Europe, the Holocaust and its aftermath. Among the items on display are a 1942 Holocaust-era railcar and a 1942 Danish rescue boat. Art exhibits bring the story of the Holocaust to life in a different way, with paintings, drawings and sculpture by survivors, their children and others inspired by the Nazi's "Final Solution." Past shows include exhibits by Samuel Bak and Hans Molzberger.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez