06 Aug

March 20th: The Train to Crystal City

From 1942 to 1948, trains delivered more than 6,000 civilians from the United States and Latin America to Crystal City, Texas, a small desert town at the southern tip of Texas. The trains carried Japanese, German, Italian immigrants and their American-born children. The only family internment camp during World War II, Crystal City was the center of a government prisoner exchange program called “quiet passage.” During the course of the war, hundreds of prisoners in Crystal City, including their American-born children, were exchanged for other more important Americans – diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, physicians, and missionaries – behind enemy lines in Japan and Germany.

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06 Aug

March 8: Stitching Memory: A special exhibit reception

IMG_2077An Evening Behind the Cordons

As a historic house museum, we strive to bring the lived experience of the 19th and early 20th centuries to life. Stitching Memory is an exhibit that takes us across 5 distinct techniques and design aesthetics, leading us further not only into the American household, but into the intimate and wordless realm of often anonymous women’s craftsmanship, attention, and care.

Pope Quilt 1
For this special evening, we invite you to come behind the cordons to see these exquisite examples of American quilting and talk with the exhibit creators about the research and preparation that went into this exhibit. Additional elements of the museum’s textile collection will be on display for the evening.

Tuesday, March 8th
Print6pm to 8pm

Free with complementary wine and light refreshments;
$10 suggested tax-deductible donation to our first-ever Amplify Austin Campaign

Like what you see here, but can’t make it to the reception? Stitching Memory will be on view through March 14th. Stop by and visit, or contact us to set up an appointment to come see this exhibit outside of our regular hours. If you like what we do, share your enthusiasm and show your support for us today!

06 Aug

March 6: Sunday Funday: Invisible Ink

The Secret Side of the Neill-Cochran House Museum

Invisible Ink1

What about invisible ink?

Methods of producing invisible messages have existed since antiquity, and though the principles of making and developing inks are well known, even as late as 2011, the US Government was hesitant to declassify documents written about (and with!) invisible inks.

This Sunday, we will experiment with the 3 common principles of making and reading messages written in invisible ink – developing with heat, developing with acid-base reactions, and visualizing using ultraviolet light – all with safe, non-toxic materials. How do you disguise and deliver an invisible ink message? Which kind of ink works best? We’ll let you be the judge.

Invisible Ink3

Oh! Sunday Funday with invisible ink!

Museum staff and volunteers will be on hand to supply message making materials and help with developing messages using gentle heat, fruit juice, and ultraviolet light. Especially shrewd spy-investigators can also try their hands at deciphering hidden messages in sample prepared documents and in completing our spy-themed museum scavenger hunt.

Weather permitting, we will also set up snacks and lawn games on the museum’s front lawn.

Join us this Sunday from 1 to 4pm. No RSVP required, but if you want to invite a friend, sign up and share on our facebook page.

Special Announcement!

PrintWhether this is your first Sunday with us or whether you’re coming back for more, this Sunday is especially important because we’re participating in Amplify Austin for the very first time! Sunday Funday will always be free, but if you like what we do, schedule your donation on our Amplify Austin page, come back and visit us on Tuesday, March 8th for our Stitching Memory’s reception, and spread the word about what we add (do to amplify?) our community. Our goal is to raise $2,500 to make Sunday Fundays bigger, better, and, well, funner next year. Help us show Austin how much our little old house means to the community!

05 Aug

February 7: Sunday Funday: Pop-up Books

Pop-Up History


A volvella used by medieval astronomers


While books with sliding and moving images date back at least to the 13th century, the pop-up book as we know it was not mass produced until 1930. By designing and building our own pop ups, we’ll get to think a little bit about the know-how it took to bring these familiar childhood books into our homes and lives – and have fun being creative, too!

Long before one could pick up a tablet and conjure up a streaming video at the touch of a finger, the pop-up book was a popular sensation because of the way it engaged the imagination in a way that flat images and text never could. In fact, some of the earliest moving image books were anatomy texts; if a picture is worth a thousand words, pictures that move in 3 dimensions must be even more valuable!


An example of a 1930s pop-up

Staff and volunteers will be available to help with designs and pop-up book making, and we’ll also have pre-made pop-ups that younger kids (or anyone so inclined!) can decorate. Hint: pop-up cards make great valentines!



An Afternoon at the Museum


A simple pop-up valentine

Throughout the afternoon, the historic house will be open for informal and self-guided tours. For those who wish to look more closely and carefully at some of the details of the architecture and historic furnishings, there will also be a museum seek-and-find guide (age appropriate to 7-11).

Weather permitting, we will also set up snacks and lawn games on the museum’s front lawn.

“Drop on by!”


Another simple pop-up pattern

Sunday-Funday-ers never need to RSVP, but if you like what we’re up to and want to invite some friends, RSVP on our Facebook page.

Think there’s no place to park in west campus? We can help! Parking is 100% free in the 40 space museum lot off of 23rd street between San Gabriel and Leon. Overflow parking is available on the street or 1 block away at the University Towers parking garage.

21 Jul

Winter Holiday Camp 2015

Start Your Winter Break Right: Holiday Day Camp at the Neill-Cochran House Museum

photodump_jan2011 042Following up from our 2015 Summer Camps, our half or full day winter camp is all about letting kids’ creativity do what it does best: roll up its sleeves and get to work! In our decorated historic house, we’ll be organizing a smorgasbord of arts and crafts with 19th and early 20th-century flair. From cross-stitching to Putz houses, pine cone ornaments to pop-up cards, we’ve got space for all talents to roam!

Monday, December 21st, 8:30 am – 1:00 pm

photodump_jan2011 043Camp will be in session from 8:30 am through 1:00 pm. We’ll provide drinks and snacks, but full day and morning registrants should pack a lunch.

Register for $45 (or $35 for members of the Friends of the Neill-Cochran House Museum). Additional children register at a $10 discount each.

Sign up online securely here! Questions about this event or prefer to register offline? Contact us anytime!

Need that extra morning or afternoon to sneak in some shopping or get that last little thing tied up at work? Let us lend you a hand!


21 Jul

December 12th: Champagne and Carols 2015

With no shortage of things to do and people to see in the holiday season, the staff and friends of the museum take a night out of the busy season to enjoy the historic house with singing and champagne. The setting? None other than the impeccably-restored 1856 house and its authentic period Christmas decorations. The opening act? All-inclusive wine and fare fit for 21st-century Austinites and fitting for one of the Neill family’s renowned open house parties.

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20 Jul

December 5 & 6: Gingerbread House Raising

In place of our normally scheduled free Sundays, the first Saturday and Sunday of December find us hard at work on a technology of a different kind: the gingerbread house! Come in with your biggest (sweetest?) architectural ideas and leave smiling with a gingerbread house to admire. Let us handle the supply-gathering and the cleaning up, too.

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