Museum

TRUE LIVES The museum building boom of the past few years has enriched Texas' cities with many new entertainment and learning opportunities. Especially impressive are the museums devoted to the women who have had a hand in developing our state and country. Fort Worth's National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, for starters, is designed to be as much fun as a trip to the rodeo, with state-of-the-art displays that raise the standards for "interactive." At the touch of a button or a screen, one is transported to the ranches where cowgirls have herded cattle, the arenas where they have performed equestrian wonders, and the movie sets where their spunky spirit has delighted generations. You can even climb onto a bucking bronco and take pictures home to prove it. This month Bob "Daddy-O" Wade's nostalgic hand-tinted photos of cowgirls will be on display (picture shown, Gettin' Ready to Go Out, 2002). In Dallas the Women's Museum, in the spectacularly renovated Fair Grounds Coliseum, offers insights into the lives of American women from Sacajawea to Susan B. Anthony and Christa McAuliffe. Interactive theaters sample the work of writers, entertainers, and such funny women as Gracie Allen, Martha Raye, and Tracey Ullman. If you missed the Women's Museum's recent showing of Annie Leibovitz's fascinating portraits, check out Texas' women photographers at Women and Their Work gallery, in Austin. Curated by Anne Wilkes Tucker of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Clint Willour of the Galveston Arts Center, this promises to be a landmark show. And don't overlook such great local gems as the Elisabet Ney Museum (Austin), in the sculptor's nineteenth-century home and studio, or the round, trophy-shaped Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum (Beaumont), which chronicles the multi-sports triumphs of the great athlete. ( See Austin: Museums/Galleries ; Dallas: Museums/Galleries ; Fort Worth: Museums/Galleries ; and Beaumont: Museums/Galleries .)

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