While there is neither an "Austin Historical Society" nor an "Austin History Museum," there are several groups that perform some of the functions that such organizations fulfill in other communities. This listing describes the main organizations that concern themselves with preservation of our community's heritage.
The local history research collection of the Austin Public Library, the Austin History Center provides the public with information about the history and current events of Austin and Travis County. Librarians and archivists collect and preserve books, photographs, maps, and other materials about local governments, businesses, residents, institutions, and neighborhoods in order to preserve our community's collective memory.
Contact: Division Manager Mike Miller, (512) 974-7436
A membership organization formed to support the Austin History Center. Through a Board of Directors and committees, encourages and funds special projects such as buying equipment for the Photo Lab, preserving the AHC building, enhancing the landscaping, and providing supplementary funding for exhibits and workshop tuition for AHC staff. Also sponsors the Waterloo Press which publishes books and other materials that further the public's knowledge of Austin History Center collections.
Contact: Executive Director Jeff Cohen, (512) 974-7499
City of Austin Historic Landmark Commission
An advisory board of 11 Austin residents appointed by the Austin City Council, the Commission advises the Council on historic preservation issues. It also initiates and reviews zoning cases to establish or remove historic designation; reviews and issues Certificates of Appropriateness for exterior alterations to City Historic Landmarks; approves tax abatement applications for designated City Historic Landmarks; reviews building, relocation and demolition permits and signage in 12 historic districts; and develops and updates a historic preservation plan for the city. Meets the 4th Monday of every month.
Contact: Historic Preservation Officer Steve Sadowsky, (512) 974-6454
Heritage Marketing Department of the Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Markets Austin through its history and its historic sites and provides history related services to the visitor in order to extend his or her length of stay. The staff provides brochures, guided walking tours, and a 7-day per week, year-round visitors center with Austin souvenirs and gifts. Also provides restoration grants for historic structures, street banners, and loans of photos and slides of Austin landmarks.
Contact: Heritage Marketing Manager, Marian Augustine, (512) 583-7227
A membership organization, Preservation Austin's mission is to promote Austin's diverse cultural heritage through the preservation of historic places. Through its Board of DIrectors and committees, Preservation Austin's activities focus on preserving the built environment and advocacy for historic buildings. It sponsors an annual Homes Tour, traditionally scheduled in the spring.
Contact: Executive Director Jacqui Schraad, (512) 474-5198
Save Austin's Cemeteries is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving historic cemeteries in Austin through documentation and education, and promoting historic cemeteries of Austin as local and state cultural resources.
Contact: President Beth Pickett, (512) 917-1666
Travis County Historical Commission
An advisory board appointed by the Travis County Commissioners Court, "its purpose is to initiate and conduct programs for the preservation of the county's heritage and its influence on Travis County's political, governmental, and cultural history." The TCHC promotes Texas State Historical Marker program at the county level and organizes an annual Ethnic Essay Contest for school children. Meets the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 in the Austin History Center.
Contact: Chair Bob Ward, (512) 452-7305