- May 6, 2015

DIY Learning: O. Henry Museum


Educational opportunities abound in Austin! Along with our friends at Alt Ed Austin, we’ve put together a new series that highlights some of the amazing DIY educational adventures to be found for families here. Join us this week as we Visit, Learn, and Do a fun activity at the O. Henry Museum.


Visit: The O. Henry Museum

The O. Henry Museum is a historic house and the former home of the author William Sydney Porter, a famed short story writer better known under his pen name: O. Henry. Porter lived in the house in Austin between 1893 and 1895. The museum contains many period pieces including some of Porter’s correspondence, drawings, and unpublished manuscripts, as well as original photographs, furniture, decor, and housewares. A visit to the O. Henry Museum gives visitors a chance to learn more about this famous author, but also offers a chance to step back in time and see how Austinites lived during the late 1800s.

One of the three museums that sit at Brush Square, the O. Henry Museum is located at 409 East 5th Street and is open Wednesday – Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Admission: Free.
Parking: Metered street parking is available directly behind the museum and in the surrounding area.

Learn: The Work of O. Henry and The O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships

O. Henry is known for his sense of humor and his creative use of language. His work is famous for its wit, surprising twists of plot, and wordplay with puns. One of his best-known short stories, The Gift of the Magi, is famous for its twist-ending. You can read it here.

While exploring the museum and reading O. Henry’s work online, let’s think about the answers to these questions:

  • What is wordplay?
  • Why would a writer want to use wordplay in his or her work?
  • What is a pun?
  • Why are puns funny?

For 38 years, the Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships have taken place every May in the backyard of the O. Henry Museum in honor of the famous wordsmith.

ohenrypunoffThis pun-tastic event is free, fun, and sure to bring tons of laughs (and groans).

Do: Fun with Puns!

Let’s learn about creating puns and make up some of our own! Print a Fun with Puns page here.


Additional Educational Resources:

The O. Henry Museum offers an online collection of its artifacts including photos, manuscripts, and more. Visit the Brush Square Museums page to view the collection.

The Portal to Texas History is a wonderful site that offers an online gateway to view a variety of Texas historical materials. Explore unique collections from Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, genealogical societies, and private family collections. While there, read O. Henry’s short story, The Caballero’s Way, scanned directly from the July 1907 issue of Everybody’s Magazine. (Due to subject matter, this short story is better suited to older students and adults.)

Have fun exploring the O. Henry Museum and learning more about his work and about life in Austin in the late 1800s!

This post was sponsored by Alt Ed Austin:

AltEd_Logo_Color_TransparentSince 2011, Teri Sperry of Alt Ed Austin has been helping families explore the many diverse schooling options that Austin has to offer. Because no one school or approach is right for every kid, Teri offers affordable private consultations and group workshops to guide you through the process of choosing a school where your unique child will truly thrive. Check out Alt Ed Austin’s free online resources and sign up for the monthly newsletter at AltEdAustin.com.