George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center

The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center is a museum and cultural center in east Austin, Texas, situated in the old George Washington Carver branch of the Austin Public Library. The institution, named in honor of George Washington Carver, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2005.


The tiny wood-frame structure was built in 1926 on the junction of Ninth and Guadalupe Streets. When it was replaced with a bigger stone edifice in 1933, the building was relocated to the east side of town, on Angelina Street, to serve the African-American community. For many years, it was referred to as the “Colored Branch.” In 1947, the facility was renamed the George Washington Carver Library in honor of the eminent inventor and scientist. The library served African-Americans and others in the town until 1979, when a new, contemporary library facility was erected next door. At the time, work on converting the structure into a cultural center began. The museum debuted on October 24, 1980, and was enlarged with a new structure in 2001.

The original colonial revival style structure was listed to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Juneteenth Memorial Monument

The Juneteenth Exhibit is the centerpiece of the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural, and Genealogy Center’s permanent exhibitions. The exhibits and information presented assist visitors comprehend the significance of liberation to previously enslaved African Americans. Students are introduced to the history of Juneteenth celebrations through multimedia presentations. It also allows students to learn about Texas’ Civil War participation, the history of the holiday, and why the holiday is important to all Americans, as well as contrast and compare early commemorations and modern-day events.

The Juneteenth Memorial Sculpture Monument first opened to the public on June 27, 2015. It is made up of 5 bronze sculptures that portray the tale of Juneteeth and a paved history of the Black Presence in the Americas—from the Middle Passage to the Emancipation Proclamation, which leads to the Bell of Freedom.

Adrienne Rison Isom and Eddie Dixon designed the Juneteenth Sculptures. Isom, a local Austinite, sculpted three of the sculptures: Freed Man & Freed Woman, and Child (the girl figure). Dixon developed the final works, Law Maker and Pastor.

The sculptures depict how the news of liberation spread. Juneteenth began on June 19, 1865, with an order read by General Gordon Grainger—a legislation that implemented the Emancipation Proclamation. So the Legislature learnt about freedom first, and then the word reached The Pastor (who represents the faith leader in African American Community). The Pastor informed the enslaved people represented by the Freed Man and Freed Woman, who then informed the youth-the Child figure. The blank pedestal is where visitors may become a part of the sculpture and continue the Juneteenth Tale—to remember, contemplate, and be encouraged to share the emancipation story with others.

George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver (c. 1864 – January 5, 1943) was an American agricultural scientist and inventor who championed alternate crops to cotton and measures to minimize soil depletion. He was one of the most notable black scientists of the early twentieth century.

Carver devised strategies to repair soils degraded by repeated cotton crops. He advised farmers, along with other agricultural specialists, to restore nitrogen to their soils by alternating cotton crops with plantings of sweet potatoes or legumes (such as peanuts, soybeans and cowpeas). These crops both replenished nitrogen to the soil and were safe for human consumption. Crop rotation enhanced cotton yields and provided farmers with additional income crops. Carver established an agricultural extension program for Alabama, similar to the one at Iowa State, to instruct farmers on how to properly cycle and cultivate the new crops. To promote healthier nutrition in the South, he widely circulated recipes utilizing alternative crops.

In addition, he established an industrial research laboratory where he and his colleagues sought to promote the new crops by finding hundreds of applications for them. They conducted original research as well as promoted applications and recipes that they had obtained from others. Carver’s knowledge was disseminated in the form of agricultural bulletins.

Before he became a public celebrity, Carver’s work was known to leaders in the nation’s capital. President Theodore Roosevelt openly praised his efforts. Former Carver’s academics from Iowa State University were appointed to posts as Secretary of Agriculture: James Wilson, a former Carver’s dean and professor, served from 1897 until 1913. Henry Cantwell Wallace served from 1921 to 1924. He knew Carver since his son Henry A. Wallace and the researcher were acquaintances. From 1933 to 1940, he was Secretary of Agriculture, and from 1941 to 1945, he was Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Vice President.

William C. Edenborn of Winn Parish, Louisiana, was an American manufacturer, farmer, and inventor who produced peanuts on his demonstration farm. He conferred with Carver.

Carver was elected to the Royal Society of Arts in England in 1916, one of just a few Americans to obtain this accolade at the time. Carver’s marketing of peanuts received the greatest attention.

By 1920, peanut growers in the United States were being undercut by low pricing on imported peanuts from the Republic of China. Peanut growers and business leaders planned to appear at Congressional hearings in 1921 to request a tariff. Based on the excellence of Carver’s presentation at their convention, they invited the African-American professor to testify on the tariff problem before the United States House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee. Due to segregation, it was extremely rare for an African American to testify before Congress as an expert witness on behalf of European-American industry and farmers. Southern legislators were believed to have ridiculed Carver once he arrived to testify. The committee members frequently extended the time for his testimony as he spoke about the importance of the peanut and its uses in American agriculture. The Fordney-McCumber Tariff of 1922 was enacted, which included a tax on imported peanuts. Carver’s testimony to Congress established him as a public figure.

Aside from his efforts to better the lives of farmers, Carver was a pioneer in environmental activism. He garnered multiple awards for his efforts, including the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal. In a period of extreme racial division, his reputation extended beyond the black community. He was extensively acknowledged and admired in the white society for his numerous accomplishments and abilities. Carver was named a “Black Leonardo” by Time magazine in 1941.

In 2019, African American surgeon Allen Alexander contributed a color film of Carver taken in 1937 at the Tuskegee Institute to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. The 12-minute film features Carver at his apartment, workplace, and laboratory, as well as photos of him tending flowers and presenting his artwork.

Austin Dog Training

Next Point of Interest: Hippie Hollow Park