Top 10 Western Museums of 2011


1. Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum (Ignacio, Colorado): After more than 20 years of planning and building, this 52,000-square-foot wonder opened this past May 21, giving visitors insight into the tribe’s history and culture. This is not just a museum with permanent and temporary galleries. The 8½-acre site also features gardens, a corral and hiking trails.

2. Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center/Adams Museum & House (Deadwood, South Dakota): The Adams Museum & House has always made this Black Hills gold town a great place for history buffs, but this new research and cultural center, which opened this past June 16, should make Deadwood even better. The 17,000-square-foot brick building will be a great tool for historians. Meanwhile, the Adams Museum & House has opened one quadrant of its redesigned mezzanine exhibit, “Make Unci: Grandmother Earth.”

3 Houston Museum of Natural Science (Houston, Texas): A natural science museum might seem a strange place to learn the history of Texas, but “Texas! The Exhibition,” which celebrates the 150th anniversary of Texas independence, is not to be missed. Guest curator J.P. Bryan, a descendant of Stephen F. Austin and whose Torch Collection is the envy of collectors anywhere, has assembled a first-rate exhibition of Lone Star heritage and history. The exhibit ends September 5.

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