Briscoe Western Art Museum

Briscoe Western Art Museum

The Briscoe Western Art Museum, located on the San Antonio Riverwalk (in the old Hertzberg Circus Museum building), houses a collection spanning five centuries of Western history and art. But what I learned about this museum is how accessible they’ve made it for kids.

This museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the art, history, and culture of the American West. With a collection of over 7,000 artifacts, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and artifacts from the frontier, the Briscoe Western Art Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the Wild West.

Join us as we take a closer look at what this museum has to offer and why it’s worth a visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of the American West.

It’s fun to play cowboys in the backyard when you’re a kid. But imagine your child’s excitement over:

  • seeing a life-size replica of a stagecoach up close.
  • seeing where and how the money was locked up to deter stagecoach robbers.
  • touching a saddle like those the cowboys rode upon.
  • building a “campfire.”
  • seeing a windmill in action (indoors!).
  • hearing fascinating tales about life in the Old West.

Admission is absolutely affordable for families. Adult tickets are just $5 per person and kids 12 and are admitted for free. A family membership, available for $80, provides complimentary admission to the museum for two adults and two children (under 18) for a full year. That membership also includes invitations for two to all members-only events and public programs.

Background of the Briscoe Western Art Museum

The Briscoe Western Art Museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the art, history, and culture of the American West, from the early Spanish colonial period to the present day. The museum is housed in the historic former San Antonio Public Library building, which has been beautifully restored and renovated to create a modern and dynamic space for the display of Western art and artifacts.

Inside the museum, visitors can explore a wide range of galleries and exhibitions, featuring everything from paintings and sculptures to historic firearms, clothing, and other artifacts.

The collections include works by some of the most important Western artists of all time, including Frederic Remington, Charles M. Russell, and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as lesser-known but equally talented artists from the region. In addition to its permanent collections, the museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, highlighting different aspects of Western art and culture.

What to expect from a visit to the museum

A visit to the Briscoe Western Art Museum promises an immersive and educational experience that takes you on a journey through the American West. The museum’s exhibitions showcase the art, history, and culture of the region, highlighting its unique landscapes, people, and traditions.

The museum’s Lil’ Partners Program invites children to hear, play, touch, see, and explore the Old West with Buckaroo Bags and their Story Time Stampede. Buckaroo Bags, which can be checked out and used while touring the museum, contain games, tips, and fun activities to get kids to engage with the exhibits. Themes found in the bags include Campfire, Grub, Call of the Wild, and Trouble.

Story Time Stampede, offered at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month explores the American West, kid-style, through stories, art, and hands-on activities.

My son immediately wanted to know all about the siege at The Alamo as he looked at the miniature replica of that historic battle. And he became endlessly fascinated with the idea of chuck wagons traveling across America and the possible dangers bank stagecoach crews faced from would-be robbers, eager to snatch their cash.

Most kids learn best through play and the active engagement of their senses. At the Briscoe Western Art Museum, they’re transported to another place and time in history through fun activities, clever interactive exhibits and stories, and, most importantly, through the sense that their presence here is not just welcomed by encouraged.

Top exhibits to see at the museum

The Briscoe Western Art Museum is home to an impressive collection of art and artifacts that tell the story of the American West. With so much to see, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are some of the top exhibits to see at the museum:

Night of Artists

This annual exhibit features works by some of the best contemporary Western artists in the country. The pieces on display range from traditional landscapes to modern abstracts, but all capture the spirit of the West.


The Art of the Carved Saddle: This exhibit showcases some of the most beautiful and intricate saddles ever made. Each one is a work of art, with carved designs, silver accents, and other decorative elements.

Texas Cowboys

This exhibit explores the lives of cowboys in Texas, from the early days of the cattle drives to the modern era. You’ll see artifacts like spurs, branding irons, and lassos, as well as artwork depicting cowboy life.

Native Lifeways of the Plains and Plateau

This exhibit focuses on the Native American tribes that lived in the West, including the Comanche, Sioux, and Crow. You’ll see examples of their clothing, weapons, and other tools, as well as artwork that depicts their way of life.

The Contemporary West

This exhibit features works by modern artists who are inspired by the West. You’ll see paintings, sculptures, and other pieces that explore themes like freedom, individualism, and the beauty of the natural world.

Community outreach and educational programs

The Briscoe Western Art Museum is not only a place for visitors to experience the beauty and history of the American West but also a hub of community outreach and educational programs.
From school field trips to adult lectures and workshops, the museum offers a range of activities to engage and educate the public about the rich cultural and artistic traditions of the West.

The museum’s education department provides hands-on activities and interactive programs that encourage visitors of all ages to explore and learn about the art and artifacts on display. In addition, the museum partners with local schools to provide curriculum-based programs that align with state standards and enhance classroom learning.

The Briscoe also hosts special events and programs throughout the year, including free family days, summer camps, and art exhibits featuring the work of local and regional artists.

Special events and exhibits

The Briscoe Western Art Museum not only houses an impressive collection of Western art and artifacts, but it also hosts a variety of exciting events and exhibits throughout the year.
One of the museum’s most popular events is the annual Night of Artists exhibition and sale. This event features over 70 of the country’s top Western artists and allows visitors to view and purchase their works.

The museum also hosts a number of family-friendly events, including the Summer Film Series, which showcases classic Western films in the museum’s beautiful McNutt Sculpture Garden.
In addition to these events, the museum regularly rotates its exhibits to showcase different aspects of Western history and culture. Recent exhibits have included “Into A New West,” which explores the role of women and people of color in shaping the American West, and “The Art of Texas: 250 Years,” which celebrates the rich artistic heritage of Texas.

Final Word

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Briscoe Western Art Museum and the incredible history of the American West. The museum is a fantastic place to experience the unique culture and art of the Wild West. From the stunning artwork to the fascinating exhibits, there is something for everyone at the Briscoe. We highly recommend visiting the museum and immersing yourself in the rich history of the West. Thank you for reading, and we hope you get the opportunity to visit the museum soon!

Briscoe Western Art Museum
210 W Market St
San Antonio, TX 78205
(210) 299-4499


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