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Essential Element: Campus Gems

Signature Courses are unique to The University of Texas at Austin and should similarly highlight resources unique to this large research campus. The collections, tools, and artifacts at this Research I university can complement and enrich your course while making tangible connections for your students to your course content.

Below are just some of the gems of campus, along with the appropriate contact for setting up an organized visit or individual course experience. If you know of a campus gem that should be added here, please contact the First-Year Experience Office.

Featured Campus Gems

Art Galleries at Black Studies

Contact: Kendyll Gross, Education Coordinator

The Art Galleries at Black Studies at the University of Texas (AGBS) is a platform from which to unpack timely social issues, through the arts. From exhibitions celebrating contemporary creative expression to displays of archives and material culture, AGBS is the sole on-campus entity dedicated to showcasing narratives of Africa and the African Diaspora. Comprised of two galleries—The Christian-Green Gallery and the Idea Lab—AGBS spaces are premier destinations for anyone who seeks to connect with narratives that affect us all.

For the fall, AGBS will be opening its doors in late September and is also available to visit by appointment. Please contact Kendyll Gross if you are interested in scheduling a virtual tour or teaching experience around AGBS’ exhibitions or collections. Please also check out their latest online initiative, The Narrative.

Blanton Museum of Art

Contact: Siobhan McCusker, Museum Educator for University Audiences

Whether you would like to schedule an introductory class visit, design an in-depth class experience based on a particular exhibition, or if you have an uncommon and innovative idea for collaboration, the staff at the Blanton Museum of Art work closely with you to build strong and creative connections between your curriculum and original works of art. Download this handout for ideas, examples, and information about Blanton tours. Please allow three weeks advance notice for guided visits, and two business days for self-guided visits. Museum admission is free for current UT students, faculty, and staff. Faculty members may schedule a class visit online.

View an overview of the Blanton’s digital resources for university audiences.

Harry Ransom Center

Contact: Andrea Gustafson, Head of Instructional Services

The Harry Ransom Center (HRC) will work with you to create an instructional session that meets your goals for your students. Ransom Center educators can teach sessions introducing your students to online research and the role of archives or create a collaborative teaching session with primary sources linked to your syllabus. They can provide you with digital surrogates, design an asynchronous lesson, or teach collaboratively with you. Have questions? Send them an email. Want to request a class session? Complete this form.

The HRC also houses a massive online catalog of digitized material from the Ransom Center’s collections. The content represented here touches all of their major collecting areas and is an easy to navigate introduction to the center’s holdings.


Contact: Christine Gwillim, Landmarks Education Coordinator

Established in 2008, Landmarks is the public art program of The University of Texas at Austin. Founding director Andrée Bober leads the development of the collection and oversees a vibrant range of programs that support scholarship and learning. Its collection of more than forty modern and contemporary works includes commissions from some of the most admired and promising artists of our time. Believing that art fosters personal growth and human connection, Landmarks strives to provide inclusive experiences for all people. By creating equitable opportunities for meaningful engagement with public art, the program reflects the diverse communities it serves and celebrates our differences. Landmarks inspires thought and growth by making great art free and accessible to all.

Texas Performing Arts

Contact: Rachel Durkin Drga, Senior Associate Director

Texas Performing Arts provides engagement programs that connect UT faculty, students, touring artists, and the greater Central Texas community through a number of collaborations to contextualize the performing arts experience. Events include masterclasses, artist-directed symposia, workshops, post-performance Q&A’s, lectures, brown bag lunches, youth performances, and other events to offer insight on many different levels into skill, technique, and the creative process.

Racial Geography Tour

With the new digital Racial Geography Tour, take a self-guided exploration across the Forty Acres with African & African Diaspora Studies professor Edmund T. Gordon. Learn how racism, patriarchy, and the militarist nationalism of the New South are embodied in campus architecture and landscaping.

Both virtual tours and in-person tours are available.

More Campus Gems

Visual Arts Center

Contact: Clare Donnelly, Gallery Manager

  • The Visual Arts Center (VAC) is a 13,000 square-foot gallery situated in the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. Our mission is to provide a platform for artists, curators, and educators to experiment, test ideas, and take risks. Through our exhibitions and public programs, we aim to spark generative conversations about art and contemporary society. We believe art has the potential to unite, inform, and inspire us to take action toward creating a more just world. The VAC is always free and open to the public. You can find more information about our Fall 2021 exhibitions here.

Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

Contact: Amanda Melancon, Assistant Education Specialist

  • Nearly five months have passed since the COVID-19 pandemic forced closure of the LBJ Library’s doors, and the ongoing health crisis makes it impossible to know when we might reopen. The library’s staff has been hard at work on a number of initiatives to assure the institution continues to flourish despite unprecedented challenges. Their education specialists recently completed a series of online webinars led by top scholars on the history of the LBJ era, and more sessions are planned for the fall. The museum team, meanwhile, has created a number of virtual exhibits== highlighting the library’s permanent exhibit. And, in partnership with the LBJ Foundation, the library has planned a number of high-profile public programs, including a virtual event to mark the hundredth anniversary of the constitutional amendment giving American women the right to vote.

Texas Memorial Museum

Contact: Laura Naski Keffer, Senior Administrative Associate

  • The Texas Memorial Museum can accommodate up to 200 students on a self-guided tour or 50 students on a guided tour at one time. Learn more about tour options and scheduling a visit.

UT Campus Telescopes and the Department of Astronomy’s Star Parties

Contact: Lara Eakins, Lab Services Supervisor

  • Please contact Lara three weeks prior to a visit, if more than 15 people will be in attendance.