O. Henry Museum Closed for Restoration
409 E. 5th Street, Austin, Texas
Until August, 2021, the O. Henry Museum will be closed for an expected year long restoration of its structure and security systems. Because of COVID-19 guidelines, the Susanna Dickinson Museum is also closed so see the City's website for updates or phone 512-974-3830.
JC Elkins O. Henry Literary Discussion Group
Monthly Story Reading. Join an informal reading and group discussion of an O. Henry short story via ZOOM! Join the Facebook group to learn additional story facts and receive announcements about times and ZOOM link.
O. Henry Museum Pun Off World Championships
Because of COVID-19 lockdown, the traditional May 2020 date was cancelled and the 43nd anniversary for this annual museum event that celebrates the lowest form of wordplay became a virtual event on October 17 for Punniest of Show and November 21, 2020 for PunSlingers. The 2021 O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships is being planned for October, 2021.
Up for grabs will be the title of "Punniest of Show." This freestyle competition for players with prepared material allows 90 seconds for creative have-wits from every crook and nanny to stuff their struts. PunSlinger contestants had to pun-it-out on a topic until one failed to make an acceptable pun. Round winners advanced until only two punsters remained for a grand pun-off!
Usually held in the park behind the museums, the crowd groans louder and larger each year. Contest registration and admission are still free. Live music was furnished from 11am - noon. The actual competitions begin at noon and usually drew to a twisted end near 6 pm. The Brush Square Museums Foundation organized fundraising auction at the event. Food and drink were available. Revenue from refreshment and souvenir sales helped support educational and restoration projects at the museums.
If you are itching for more inflammation, the O. Henry Museum is located at 409 E. 5th St., Austin TX 78701. Pun-Off.com, the Pun-Off’s official website has more info or check out its Facebook page. For press interviews or event competition details, please contact the museum or David Gugenheim.
The Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships is a co-production of the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD), the Brush Square Museums Foundation, and P.U.N.Y. (Punsters United Nearly Yearly) which is also a non-prophet organization.
O. Henry's Birthday Celebration
For many years the Brush Square Museums Foundation has organized birthday parties for O. Henry, who was born on September 11, 1862. Unfortunately, in 2020 we did not throw a party because of COVID-19 restrictions for what would have been his 158th birthday. We hope we will be able to mark his 159th birthday in September, 2021.
Membership Annual Meeting
Every February the Brush Square Museums Foundation holds its annual program and board meeting to elect new board officers and report to members on museum developments. A program on a topic of history or literature is typically organized for members and the public.
The 2021 Program Meeting was held virtually on March 21st on ZOOM with both live and recorded presentations celebrating the completed restoration of the O. Henry Museum's 155-year-old Horace Waters square grand piano. The highlight was a performance by the O. Henry Players of an original oral reading and musical performance of "A Fool's Concerto," a combination of two O. Henry short stories. Watch the performance on YouTube.
In 2019, audiences saw Act 1, of the The Survivors, a play by Katie Bender telling the story of The Alamo survivors. In 2017 and 2018, we hosted readers theater performances. In 2016, Michael Hoinski, Museum staff, and Ben Sargent, Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist, described how they printed a fine art book version of O. Henry's unpublished short story "As Others See Us." In 2015, a panel of Austin writers with new novels spoke about the importance of Austin as a setting for their stories. In 2014, Texas historian Donaly E. Brice, author of The Great Comanche Raid and Cullen Montgomery Baker, Reconstruction Desperado, and The Governor’s Hounds, and a resident of Lockhart, shared some little known facts about his town’s former resident Susanna Dickinson, the only anglo adult survivor of the Alamo.