- September 29, 2016

Hands-On Learning at Neill-Cochran House Museum’s Free Sunday Fundays


The first Sunday of each month, Neill-Cochran House Museum throws its doors open wide and invites the Austin community to stop by for some good old-fashioned family fun. Read about how much we enjoyed last month’s free Sunday Funday at the Museum, and mark your calendar for the next eight events!


Neill-Cochran House Museum is a stately Greek Revival-style home, filled with antique furnishings and decorative artwork that offer visitors an intimate look into the home life of prominent Austinites in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. That may sound a wee bit intimidating when considering visiting with children, but the Museum’s docents are so excited to share the history of the home that they welcome curious little minds… and hands! When visiting for Sunday Funday, you won’t find “don’t touch” signs. Instead, there are games to play, vintage toys to see, hidden clues to find, and experiments to try. So, make plans to bring your young explorers and see how fun it can be to learn something new about something old!


Lawn games at the Museum, for Sunday Funday.

Sunday Funday at Neill-Cochran House Museum

The first Sunday of the month, Neill-Cochran House Museum invites Austinites of all ages to re-discover innovations that have changed our world. Through hands-on activities (and quite a bit of help from the Museum docents), families can enjoy a relaxing museum experience that mixes learning with play. Each Sunday Funday has a different Learning Lab theme, focusing on important innovations of old. Last month, we visited the Museum to make pinhole cameras and try our hand at taking photos without lenses. It turns out, we are terrible pinhole photographers, but we sure had a lot of fun trying!


Getting a little help making the pinhole for our tin can camera.

The thing that impressed me the most was the kindness, patience and helpfulness of the folks running Sunday Funday. There was a large crowd at the event, but we were taken care of every step of the way. Docents greeted us, invited us to take a scavenger hunt throughout the house, showed us how to make our own cameras, helped us when we were confused by the simple instructions, and demonstrated how to operate the finished product.


Learning about exposure, before attempting to use our pinhole camera creations to capture an image on photographic paper.

When not working on our photography skills, the boys enjoyed lawn games, like badminton, and made some new friends.


Trying (and not quite succeeding) to take fabulous pictures with our pinhole cameras.

Waiting for our film to be developed, we explored the historic residence by searching for clues to solve the puzzle in the scavenger hunt. It was an engaging way to experience the home’s decor, from the eras the Neill and Cochran families were in residence (Victorian Era on the first floor and late nineteenth century on the second floor).


Bull in a china shop? Thankfully not! He was too focused on finding the next clue in the scavenger hunt!

Sunday Funday provided us with a relaxing museum experience that took us back in time. It was a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon, hanging out in a historic home and giving old-fashioned entertainment a try!

2016 Sunday Funday Schedule

Sunday Funday is held from 1-4 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month, through May. Be sure to catch the next one on Sunday, October 2, 2016!

For more information, please visit the Neill-Cochran House Museum website.

Neill-Cochran House Museum
2310 San Gabriel St
Austin, TX 78705