You may be surprised to find that Kerrville and the Texas Hill Country are full of museums and theaters exhibiting high culture and fine arts. The locations described below are just a few of the ones you should make a point to visit.
Museum of Western Art
Just a short five minute drive from Comanche Trace will take you to the last public project of the famed Southwestern architect, O’Neil Ford; the Museum of Western Art. There you will find life-sized bronze sculptures on the grounds around the building. The inside of the building is a work of art itself with a boveda ceiling and mesquite wood floors. The museum displays approximately 150 sculptures, 250 paintings, and several artifacts, all intent on bringing the West to life.
Kerr Arts & Cultural Center
The Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, located on the corner of Main Street (Hwy 27) and Earl Garrett in Kerrville, promotes the local artistic community through exhibits, education, and programs. Their exhibits change once a month and admission is always free! Some of their more notable, recurring exhibits are The Texas Furniture Makers Show, Southwest Gourd Fine Arts Show, and American Plains Arts.
The beautifully restored building known as the Cailloux Theater, with its limestone and marble edifice, soaring ceilings, central staircase, and towering interior pillars creates an ambiance that is perfect for the live theater and music being performed there. The theater regularly houses performances by the Symphony of the Hills, the Hill Country Youth Orchestra, and the Kerrville Dance Company, as well as performances by Kerrville’s Community Theater, Playhouse 2000. The Cailloux provides highquality performing arts without having to make the drive to San Antonio or Austin. Visit their website to see the variety of shows offered.
Hill Country Arts Foundation
As you take the scenic drive west on Highway 39 past Ingram, you will come to a surprisingly realistic replica of Stonehenge in Salisbury, England, known as Stonehenge II. When you see Stonehenge II, you have arrived at the Point Theater, home of the Hill Country Arts Foundation. The Point Theater is a 730-seat outdoor amphitheater offering high-quality theatrical productions for the whole family. Also onsite are the Duncan-McAshan Visual Arts Center, the Elizabeth Huth Coates Black Box Theater, and Stonehenge II. The DuncanMcAshan Visual Arts Center hosts classes and exhibitions year round and houses four art studios, a ceramic studio, an art library, and 1700 square feet of gallery space. The Elizabeth Huth Coates Black Box Theater serves as an indoor theater during the cooler months and a rehearsal space during the summer. The newest facility, Stonehenge II, acts as a unique venue for select plays from time to time.
National Museum of the Pacific War
Undoubtedly one of the great treasures of the Texas Hill Country; the National Museum of the Pacific War is the only museum in the nation dedicated entirely to the story of WWII in the Pacific, making it a world-class destination for any history buff. The Museum has more than 45,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space with over 900 artifacts, and 15 macro–artifacts on exhibit including a Japanese Midget Sub (the only one of its kind in the U.S.), a B–25 Bomber, FM-2 Wildcat Fighter, Japanese Kawanishi N1K “Rex” Float Plane (also the only one of its kind in the U.S.), Admiral’s Barge, and a PT boat (the only wooden PT boat in the U.S.). The interactive tour incorporating audio, video, imagery, commentary from actual veterans, computer interfaces, and sound effects of creaking ships and planes overhead really allows your imagination to visualize what it may have been like during the Pacific War. The museum sits on 6 acres composed of the George H.W. Bush Gallery, Admiral Nimitz Museum, Pacific Combat Zone, Memorial Courtyard, Japanese Garden of Peace, and the Plaza of the Presidents. The Pacific Combat Zone lets you step onto a Japanese island beachhead complete with tall bamboo and palm trees and equipped with Japanese weaponry and entrenchments, as well as U.S. and Japanese vehicles used in the Asiatic–Pacific Campaign. On certain weekends throughout the year the Combat Zone is home to the museum’s living history program where there is a pyrotechnics display of gun fighting, tank fire, explosions, as well as a flame thrower. There is so much more to see than what is written here. Go to their website to learn more and get directions for your next outing.
The Rockbox Theater, located on Hwy 16 just off of the historic main road in Fredericksburg, is a highly regarded venue to enjoy nostalgic live music and hilarious skits. They specialize in shows that celebrate 50’s and 60’s rock, musical theater, and tribute artists. Go online to check out their calendar. Outstanding entertainment at a very reasonable price, Rockbox Theater is a must for your itinerary!
Now that you know what the Hill Country has to offer in terms of art and culture, take some time to experience it for yourself! Check out our Points of Interest Map on our Kerrville & the Texas Hill Country page for more exciting destinations.