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2024 Events

Annual Meeting February 25, 2024 at 2 pm

O. Henry at the Old Bakery

We celebrate the 120th anniversary of O. Henry's short story with a dramatic reading of "Witches' Loaves" (March, 1904) set in Austin's historic Old Bakery ( City staff will tell us about the restoration of the O. Henry Museum, which re-opened to public visits January, 2023, and learn how author Michael Wenzel selected stories for O. Henry At the Holidays just published in December 2023. Of course, we'll have refreshments and view artwork in the Old Bakery gallery. [Note: Enter by West 10th Street, 3rd floor, rear entrance. On-street parking is free on Sundays.]

47th O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships

Saturday, May 11, 2024, 10:30 - 5:30 pm outdoors in the Brush Square Park behind the O. Henry Museum, 409 E. 5th street. The O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships is an internationally renowned spoken word competition focused on the art of the pun.   Watch a video recording of 2023 punsters as they dazzle you with their word play! Go to to learn the latest details.

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.

Annual Events

O. Henry Museum Pun Off World Championships

Because of COVID-19 lockdown, both 2020 and 2021 events were held online as virtual events that celebrated the lowest form of wordplay for Punniest of Show and PunSlingers. The 2022 O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships took place October 8th outdoors at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. The 2023 event was held May 13th in the Hilton Austin Hotel because the Brush Square was closed for construction until September 17th.


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 Brush Square park behind the museums, the crowd groans louder and larger each year. Contest registration and admission are still free. Live music was furnished during the opening. 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., 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), P.U.N.Y. (Punsters United Nearly Yearly), non-prophet organization, and Brush Square Museums Foundation.


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 and 2021 we did not throw a party because of COVID-19 restrictions for what would have been his 158 - 159th birthdays. We were able to mark his 161st birthday on September 17, 2023 with a Brush Square Park reopening ribbon-cutting and Austin Museum Day.

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. An Open House with tours of the re-opened O. Henry Museum on February 19, 2023 served as our Annual Meeting.

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.


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Want to volunteer to help out? We have tons of opportunities for you to get involved. Reach out to us and let us know what you are interested in doing!

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