Street Address
University of Texas at Austin 2400 Trinity
Austin, TX 78705
Mailing Address
2400 Trinity, UT@ Austin
Austin, TX 78705
phone: 512-232-5654
fax: 512-471-4794
Free admission
Museum Type(s)
Dr. Ed Theriot, Director
phone: 512-471-1604
Margaret Fischer, Director of Museum Operations
phone: 512-471-1604
R. Brent Lyles, Director of Public Programs
phone: 512-471-1604
David Cannatella, Curator of Herpetology
phone: 512-232-4862
Dean Hendrickson, Curator of Ichthyology
phone: 512-471-9774


The Museum draws an average of 65,000 attendees a year -- half are schoolchildren. Educational programs are based on the Museum's 5.7 million cultural history objects and natural history specimens.


Mission Statement: To serve the citizens of Texas through research and education on its combined natural and cultural heritage, specifically by collecting, conserving, studying and exhibiting the unique and irreplaceable natural and cultural artifacts of the state of Texas. TMM was founded by the State Legislature in 1936 to commemorate the Texas Centennial. Administrative responsibilities for the Museum were transferred to the University of Texas in 1959. The Museum functions as an Organized Research Unit within the College of Natural Sciences. As an instructional department, TMM offers Museum Studies courses and independent study opportunities to students. In addition, TMM has access to the University faculty, many of whom consult and lecture for the Museum.

Artifacts Collections

Collections of over 5 million objects provide a vast natural and cultural history resource for the state of Texas and an asset for interdisciplinary programming.

Historical collections focus on Texas and American history, primarily from the mid-19th and 20th centuries. Holdings include objects from the Texas Republic and statehood period; tools and equipment related to ranching, farming, woodworking, bootmaking, surveying, and early medicine; domestic utensils; small furnishings, lighting devices, toys, and textiles; men's, women's, and children's costumes; WWI and WWII firearms, uniforms, and memorabilia; drawings, watercolors, and photographs; U. S. patent models; Greek and Roman coins; Renaissance medallions and gem casts; and 15th- to 20th-century firearms.

Anthropological collections include a wide range of North American ethnographic artifacts with strengths in the Plains and Southwest regions; Latin American textiles, masks, and folk toys; South American collections from the Andes and tropic rainforests; and African and Pacific/Oceania collections.

Archeological collections center on MesoAmerican ceramics and lithics and Andean ceramics and textiles.

Texas Natural History Collections (TNHC)

The vertebrate natural history collections are research collections consisting of voucher specimens and their data. Ancillary materials such as tape recordings, tissues, and special preparations are also part of the collections.

Fish, reptile, and amphibian collections consist primarily of wet collections while bird and mammal collections are primarily dry mounted skins and skeletons.

Approximate holdings are: 25,025 lots of fish (nearly 500,000 individuals; Texas examples represent over 180 counties); 55,000 reptiles and amphibians (75% of Texas counties are represented) ; 7,000 mammals ; 3,500 birds

Invertebrate collections (over 600,000 specimens) include major early Texas pinned

Research Collections

Collections include 5.7 million cultural history objects and natural history specimens. Wildlife exhibits depict Texas animals, birds and reptiles in their native habitats. A special exhibit of Texas fishes highlights specimens from the Museum's collections

Educational Programs

Our public programming efforts include collaborations with other informal-learning institutions. The Museum is the annual host to Austin Science Fun Day, a regional science fair teaming local science professionals, university departments, and amateur science groups with area classrooms to create science displays – the fair draws nearly 5,000 visitors, mostly families. Other efforts include participation in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s annual “Wildlife Expo,” which draws over 45,000 visitors, and an upcoming partnership with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Austin to bring their clients to the Museum. The Museum also co-hosts a monthly lecture series with the UT-Austin Department of Geological Sciences, which is open to the public and draws about 500 attendees per lecture. All public programs are available free of charge.

Our educational programming is based on the Museum’s renowned collection of 5.7 million cultural objects and natural history specimens. For families, we created online games and collections-oriented events such as Identification Days, weekend Family Dinosaur Days, and Summer Discovery Days. These activities encourage parents to become active learners along with their children. For teachers, we tie our public program information to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills statewide curriculum standards, and help the teachers with tours in Spanish or English, lesson plans, curriculum guides, and downloadable classroom activities.


TMM publishes occasional bulletins and monographs, primarily of TMM collection and associated research, which include the following: Bulletin Series, Pearce-Sellards Series, Speleological Monographs, Conservation Notes, Museum Notes, and miscellaneous papers, TMM also publishes a quarterly newsletter, " The Mustang."