Phase 1 improvements are identified in the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center Facility Expansion Plan approved by Council in 2021. Phase 1a will explore relocating the administrative area to a new upper level to expand the available area for community-centric programming near the main entry. Phase 1b focuses on outdoor spaces and site improvements that include outdoor classrooms, renovations of existing public restrooms, and a new flexible event lawn with a covered pavilion. This project kicked off in the Summer of 2022. District 1

For updates on the Boyd Vance Theatre renovation, visit the project webpage.

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The community imagined a museum and community center that would promote African-American history and achievement in Austin, Travis County, and beyond. Through the preservation and exhibition of African American material culture, history, and aesthetic expression, the Carver Museum works to create a space where the global contributions of all Black people are celebrated. On October 24, 1980, their vision became a reality. What was once Austin’s first library, and what later became Austin’s first branch library, opened its doors as the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, the first African-American neighborhood museum in Texas.

In a 1998 bond election, the citizens of Austin voted to further expand both the Carver Museum & Cultural Center and the Carver Branch Library. Today, the museum is housed in a 36,000-square-foot facility that includes four galleries, a conference room, classroom, darkroom, dance studio, 134-seat theatre, and archival space. The galleries feature a core exhibit on Juneteenth, a permanent exhibit on Austin African-American families, an Artists’ Gallery, and a children’s exhibit on African-American scientists and inventors.
In 2000, a Feasibility Study for the Expansion of the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center was conducted, and a three-phase building program was developed. Of the three proposed phases, phase one has been implemented while phases two and three have not been addressed. Phase one was completed in 2005 and included the development of a lobby with reception, lecture hall/theater, classrooms, dance studio, dark room, conference room, commercial kitchen, storage, outdoor plazas, and expanded parking.

In 2021 City Council approved a Facility Expansion Plan that reviewed the improvements proposed previously for phases two and three and sought additional updates to develop the new plan in line with current requirements. The objective of this project was to develop a facility expansion plan update, taking into consideration the site’s current usage and changes to the surrounding area. Extensive community engagement informed the planning, design, and development of the facility to reflect community sentiment.  

Project Description

During the project initiation phase, the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) will develop a detailed scope of work and contract with an architectural design team. Once a design team is on board, the next steps will include the design phase and community engagement.

Anticipated Schedule

Please note that as in any construction project, schedules are projected as accurately as possible. All dates are subject to change due to the nature of construction and the weather.

  • Summer 2022: Project Initiation (Ongoing)
  • 2023 to 2024: Anticipated Design & Permit Phase
  • 2025 to 2026: Anticipated Construction Phase

Community Engagement

Previous community engagement information can be viewed in the 2021 Facility Expansion Plan

Cover page of the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center Facility Expansion Plan, published June 2021

Funding and Resources

This project’s design phase will be funded by 2018 General Obligation bonds. Future construction will be dependent on additional funding sources.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Alyssa Tharrett, Project Manager by email or by phone at (512) 974-9508.