Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites

San Antonio Museums – Virtual Tour

Museums in San Antonio - Virtual Tour

Museums in San Antonio – Virtual Tour

San Antonio was founded as a Spanish mission and colonial outpost in 1718. The city became the first chartered civil settlement in present-day Texas in 1731, while it was part of the Spanish Empire and later of the Mexican Republic. 

San Antonio was named by a 1691 Spanish expedition for the Portuguese priest Saint Anthony of Padua. Today, San Antonio contains five 18th-century Spanish frontier missions, including The Alamo and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

During the city’s long history, the last few decades have seen an explosion in its growth, making it one of the fastest-growing of the largest cities in the United States.

San Antonio is home to six Fortune 500 companies, and the U.S. Armed Forces have numerous facilities in and around San Antonio.

San Antonio is also home to the first museum of modern art in Texas, the McNay Art Museum. Other museums include ArtPace, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, the Briscoe Western Art Museum, Ruby City, Buckhorn Saloon & Museum, San Antonio Museum of Art, the Southwest School of Art, Texas Rangers Museum, Texas Transportation Museum, the Witte Museum, and the DoSeum. 

Virtual Tour of the Museums in San Antonio

Highlights Tour of the Museums in San Antonio

The Alamo

The Alamo Mission in San Antonio, known initially as the Misión San Antonio de Valero, is a historic Spanish mission and fortress compound founded in the 18th century by Catholic missionaries. It was also the site of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.

Today it is a museum and historic district as one of the early Spanish missions in Texas, built for the education and conversion of local American Indians to Christianity.

The mission was secularized in 1793 and then abandoned. Ten years later, it became a fortress and was named the Alamo. During the Texas Revolution, the Mexican General surrendered the fort to the Texian Army in 1835.

The relatively small number of Texian soldiers who then defended the fort were wiped out at the Battle of the Alamo in 1836.

San Antonio Museum of Art

The San Antonio Museum of Art offers an art collection spanning 5,000 years of global culture. The museum opened in 1981, housed in the historic former Lone Star Brewery (1886) situated on the San Antonio River Walk. 

The museum’s collection of over 30,000 objects represents the history and culture of every region of the world.  

The museum houses one of the most comprehensive collections of ancient Egyptian, Near Eastern, Greek and Roman art in the southern United States.

The Egyptian collection holds objects from the Pre-dynastic through the late Roman and Byzantine periods.

The Greek and Roman collection of sculpture include portraits, funerary statues, and mythological subjects.

Witte Museum

The Witte Museum is dedicated to telling the stories of Texas, from prehistory to the present. The permanent collection features historic artifacts, photographs, art, textiles, dinosaur bones, cave drawings, and Texas wildlife dioramas.

The museum was established in 1926 and it was initially known as the Witte Memorial Museum. The catalyst for the Museum was an extensive collection of natural history specimens purchased for the city of San Antonio.

In 1984 the museum’s name was simplified to the Witte Museum. Since then, additions and renovations have increased the museum’s facilities with expanded exhibition space and programs, combined with the latest museum technology.

Texas Transportation Museum

The Texas Transportation Museum was created in 1964 to preserve artifacts and information about San Antonio’s transportation history.

The museum operates much its collection, including many railroad vehicles on its heritage railroad, the Longhorn, and Western Railroad.

As well as operating heritage stock on its historic railway tracks it exhibits several model train layouts and many antique automobiles. 

The Model railroad displays include HO scale layout, G gauge outdoor layout, and O scale layout.

The Texas Transportation Museum provides a program of experiences that interprets how developments in transportation technology shaped our daily life. 

Mission Concepcion

Mission Concepción was established in 1716 as a base for converting the Native Americans to Catholicism and it formed part of the Spanish colonization system. Mission Concepción is the oldest unrestored stone church in America.

The Mission consists of a Sanctuary, Nave, Convento (convent), and granary. Brightly painted frescos decorated both the exterior and interior of the building. Traces of the frescoes still exist on the weathered facade of the building.

The artwork on the interior ceilings and walls of the Convento has been restored. Frescoes can also be found in the sanctuary and nave.

The western entrance to the church is aligned to the sunset in such a way that a double solar illumination occurs every year around August 15. This date is the feast day of the Assumption of Mary.

Mission San José

Mission San José is a historic Catholic mission founded in 1720 because Mission San Antonio de Valero, today called The Alamo, had become overcrowded.    

Permission was granted to build a new mission 5 miles (8 km) south of San Antonio de Valero to serve the Coahuiltecan Indians.

The first buildings, made of brush, straw, and mud, were quickly replaced by large stone structures, including guest rooms, offices, a dining room, and a pantry.

A heavy outer wall was built around the mission, and rooms for 350 Indians were built into the walls. A new church, which is still standing, was constructed in 1768 from local limestone.

The mission lands were given to its Indians in 1794, and mission activities officially ended in 1824. The mission’s buildings then became home to soldiers, the homeless, and bandits.

In 1933 restoration of the grounds of the mission began and the mission walls and Indian quarters were re-built, and the granary was restored.

Museums in San Antonio

  • City:                        San Antonio
  • Country:                 United States
  • State:                      Texas
  • Founded:               1718
  • Incorporated:        1837
  • Named for:            Saint Anthony of Padua
  • Demonym:             San Antonian
  • Population:            2.5 million – Metro

Museums in San Antonio – Map

Museums in San Antonio

Museums in San Antonio

Museums in San Antonio

Museums in Texas

Museums in San Antonio

Museums in San Antonio

Museums in San Antonio

~~~

“Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but
how well you bounce.”

– Texas Proverbs

~~~


Photo Credit: Lanis J Rossi / CC BY-SA (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

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