Austin, Texas, is known for its rich culture and vibrant history. One of its most prized possessions is the O. Henry Museum, located in the heart of the city. For literature buffs, the name O. Henry is known for outstanding short stories that have stood the test of time. O. William Sydney Porter, sometimes known as O. Henry, lived in Austin for most of his life, and his legacy is preserved with a museum dedicated to his life and work.
Everyone interested in American literature, history, or culture should pay a visit to the O. Henry Museum. The museum is housed in a renovated Victorian residence that belonged to O. Henry used to live with his family. The museum has exhibits that highlight O. Henry’s life, work, and the age in which he lived. Visitors can view items from his life and read authentic writings that provide insight into his creative process.
History of the O. Henry Museum
The O. Henry Museum is housed in a historic building constructed between 1889 and 1894. This edifice was once a house, but it was later converted into a poor hospital. The Austin Women’s Federation Club bought the property in the 1920s and renovated it before unveiling it as a museum in 1934.
The museum was named after O. Henry, who briefly lived in Austin in the 1890s. O. Henry worked as a draftsman and a bank teller in Austin, and he also began composing short stories. Several of his most famous works, such as “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Ransom of Red Chief,” were written when he was living in Austin. More here
Exhibits at the O. Henry Museum
The O. Henry Museum is a must-see for literature and history enthusiasts alike. The museum exhibits the life and writings of the well-known American author William Sydney Porter, often known as O. Henry. The artifacts on display provide visitors with a unique experience while providing an intriguing insight into the life of this literary genius.
- Artifacts and Memorabilia
The O. Henry Museum has numerous displays that display items and memorabilia relating to O. Henry. Henry’s life. Guests can examine his personal correspondence, photographs, and typewriter. O.’s typewriter. The opportunity for Henry to pen some of his most renowned short stories, including “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Ransom of Red Chief,” is enticing in and of itself. The display also includes his death mask, which depicts the author’s visage.
- Replica of O. Henry’s Jail Cell
One of the most interesting exhibits at the O. Henry Museum is the replica of the jail cell where O. Henry was incarcerated. O. Henry was imprisoned for several months after being convicted of embezzlement. The model cell contains actual antiques and furniture from the time period, giving visitors a firsthand sense of what it was like to be in jail in the late 1800s.
- The O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships
The annual “O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships” are held at the Henry Museum and attract participants and tourists from all around the world. The competition consists of numerous rounds in which players produce puns based on a given theme. Every year in May, the festival gathers a large throng of pun fans.
Events at the O. Henry Museum
The O. Henry Museum hosts several events throughout the year, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. These events provide visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the museum in different ways and engage with the exhibits on display.
- Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships
The most popular event at the O. Henry Museum is the annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships. The event takes place in May and attracts pun enthusiasts from all over the world. The competition features several rounds where participants create puns based on a specific theme. Have a peek here
- O. Henry Birthday Celebration
Another popular event at the museum is the annual O. Henry Birthday Celebration, which takes place in September. This event is a celebration of the author’s life and works and features live music, readings, and other activities.
- Storytime at the Museum
The museum also hosts “Storytime at the Museum” events for children. These events feature readings of O. Henry’s short stories and other children’s books, as well as arts and crafts activities.
Accessibility at the O. Henry Museum
The O. Henry Museum is committed to making its exhibits and programs accessible to all visitors. The museum is fully wheelchair accessible, and there are no stairs or steps to navigate. Large-print guides and audio guides are available for visitors with visual or hearing impairments.
Visitors who require additional assistance or accommodations are encouraged to contact the museum in advance of their visit to make arrangements.
Getting to the O. Henry Museum
Located in the historic Brush Square District in downtown Austin, the O. Henry Museum is easily accessible by car, public transportation, or on foot. Visitors can park in nearby paid parking spots or parking garages or take advantage of the various bus routes that stop near the museum. The museum is within walking distance of other popular attractions, such as the Texas State Capitol and the Austin Convention Center. For those looking for a unique experience, the museum is also accessible via bicycle or scooter rental services available throughout the city.
Essential Information About O. Henry Museum
Location: 409 E 5th St., Austin, TX 78701, United States
Monday to Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday to Sunday – 12 to 5 PM