Cultural Excursions Organized by the MLA

The MLA has organized cultural excursions to four Austin attractions that will take place during the 2016 MLA Annual Convention in Austin. The excursions give registrants an opportunity to experience Austin’s culture and history along with the vibrant cultural institutions located on the University of Texas, Austin, campus.

Space is limited, and there is an additional fee for each excursion. To participate, select an excursion and payment option when you complete your convention registration form. Convention registrants may also sign up a limited number of guests per excursion for an additional fee (the fee is the same for convention registrants and guests); guests must be signed up and accompanied by a convention registrant to attend an excursion. Please see the descriptions below for more information, including age restrictions and other details.

We regret that we cannot provide refunds for cancellations received after 10 December 2015.

If you have already registered for the convention and wish to attend an excursion, write to registration@mla.org. Please include your registration confirmation number in your request.

Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater Tour

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Image courtesy of ACL Live at the Moody Theater
  • Thursday, 7 January 2016
  • 10:00 a.m.–12:00 noon
  • 310 Willie Nelson Boulevard
  • Travel on own (close to most convention hotels and public transportation)
  • $65 per person; one paid guest allowed per convention registrant

Austin City Limits is the longest-running music performance show in television history. Created in 1974 as a program to showcase Austin’s diverse music scene in response to PBS’s call for original programming from member stations, it is now recognized as one of the most influential music programs and has received the president’s National Medal of Arts. ACL Live at the Moody Theater, a LEED-certified, state-of-the-art production facility, has been the home of Austin City Limits since 2011.

Tour Details 

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Image courtesy of ACL Live at the Moody Theater

ACL Live tour guides will lead participants on behind-the-scenes tours of the theater, including backstage, green rooms, sound booths, and hidden spaces, and share anecdotes that bring the space to life. Attendees will then be led on a tour by the staff photographer Scott Newton, whose work has helped contribute to the iconic style of Austin City Limits for almost forty years.

The tour will conclude at 12:00 noon. ACL Live at the Moody Theater is close to the Austin Convention Center (0.6 miles), the JW Marriott (0.3 miles), and most convention hotels. There is no shuttle bus transportation.

LBJ Presidential Library Excursion

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LBJ Library photo by Frank Wolfe
  • Thursday, 7 January 2016
  • 12:30–4:00 p.m. (archivist presentation, 1:00–2:30 p.m.; self-guided museum tour, 2:30–4:00 p.m.)
  • University of Texas, Austin, 2313 Red River Street
  • Shuttle bus from the Austin Convention Center departs at 12:30 p.m.
  • $35 per person; two paid guests allowed per convention registrant

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum was dedicated in 1971 with the goal of sharing all the records of the Johnson administration. These records include manuscripts, audio and visual recordings, photographs, and artifacts from the 1930s to the 1960s. The library’s holdings provide insight into Lyndon B. Johnson’s forty years of public service and illuminate pivotal moments in United States history and politics during the twentieth century.

Tour Details 

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LBJ Library photo by Arnold Newman

Join one of the LBJ Presidential Library’s archivists for an insider’s view of the library and its holdings. Excursion participants will meet at 1:00 p.m. in one of the library’s classrooms, where the archivist will have on display copies of a wide variety of the library’s holdings. Explore telephone conversations, documents, photographs, and other materials and learn about the history of the library and the resources and reference materials available. Michael McDonald, the museum’s curator, will conclude the classroom segment with an introduction to the museum and insight on what to expect as you tour the exhibits. To accommodate the variety of interests of excursion attendees, there will be no tour leader; instead, docents will be located throughout the exhibit from 2:30 until 4:00 p.m. to answer questions and provide guidance as participants explore the museum exhibits at their leisure.

The shuttle bus will depart at 4:15 p.m. for the Austin Convention Center. Excursion participants are welcome to stay until the library closes at 5:00 p.m. and return on their own. Public transportation to downtown is available, or participants may call for a taxi.

Blanton Museum of Art Educator Tour

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Image courtesy of Blanton Museum of Art
  • Friday, 8 January 2016
  • 9:30 a.m.–12:00 noon (tour 10:00 a.m.–12:00 noon)
  • The University of Texas, Austin, 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard
  • Shuttle bus departs from the Austin Convention Center at 9:30 a.m.
  • $30 per person; one paid guest allowed per convention registrant

The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, originated in the 1960s and has grown to be one of the foremost university art institutions in the United States, with a permanent collection of over 17,000 works of art. The museum’s holdings include an extensive collection of prints and drawings, paintings from the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods, a growing collection of modern and contemporary American art, and one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Latin American art in the country.

Tour Details 

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Image courtesy of Blanton Museum of Art

Join museum educators for a special guided tour through the museum, designed to correspond with the MLA’s 2016 presidential theme, Literature and Its Publics: Past, Present, and Future. Guides will incorporate works from all areas of the museum’s collection, from seventeenth-century European paintings to cutting-edge works by contemporary artists exploring a variety of media, for a full exploration of the theme in relation to art. Visitors are encouraged to explore their own personal connections to the art during their time with the museum’s collection and architecture.

The tour will end at 12:00 noon. The shuttle bus will depart at 1:00 p.m. for the convention center, allowing participants time to continue exploring the museum, visit the gift shop, or eat at the Blanton Café.

Excursion participants are welcome to stay until the museum closes at 5:00 p.m. and return on their own. Public transportation to downtown is available, or participants may call for a taxi.

Harry Ransom Center Curatorial Tours

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Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center
  • Friday, 8 January 2016
  • 9:30–11:30 a.m. (tour 10:00–11:30 a.m.) and 1:00–3:00 p.m. (tour 1:30–3:00 p.m.)
  • The University of Texas, Austin, 300 West 21st Street
  • Shuttle bus from the Austin Convention Center departs for the morning tour at 9:30 a.m. and for the afternoon tour at 1:00 p.m.
  • $30 per person per tour; one paid guest allowed per convention registrant

The Harry Ransom Center is an internationally renowned humanities research library and museum at the University of Texas, Austin. The collections include manuscripts, correspondence, and diaries of major twentieth-century authors of North America, Great Britain, and France; more than eight hundred thousand volumes of the printed book from its beginnings to the present day, including the Gutenberg Bible of 1454–55, one of only five complete exemplars in the Western Hemisphere; and the Gernsheim photography collection, which includes the earliest known surviving photograph.

Tour Details 

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Image courtesy of the Harry Ransom Center

Join curators and staff members of the Harry Ransom Center for this two-part excursion that includes a special look at highlights from the literary collections including works from Jorge Luis Borges, J. M. Coetzee, Radclyffe Hall, Doris Lessing, and David Foster Wallace, paired with a curator-led tour of the exhibition Shakespeare in Print and Performance. This exhibition provides insight into the origins of Shakespeare’s works, the history of their publication and performance, and the manner in which the texts have been studied on the page and the plays interpreted on the stage. The Elizabethan world of Shakespeare and his contemporaries is presented through early printed books documenting his contemporary reputation, his textual sources, and, of course, his plays. Costume and set designs, promptbooks, and other ephemera showcase the variety of ways artists have translated his plays into performance.

The morning tour concludes at 11:30 a.m., and the afternoon tour concludes at 3:00 p.m. Shuttle buses will depart one hour after the tour concludes to return to the convention center, allowing visitors time to continue exploring the Shakespeare in Print and Performance exhibit.

Excursion participants are welcome to stay until the center closes at 5:00 p.m. and return on their own. Public transportation to downtown is available, or participants may call for a taxi.