You don’t have to be any particular age to appreciate the treasures at Galaxy Art and Entertainment Gallery, a small North Austin museum that opened in August.
But if you are that age—i.e., someone who grew up in the 1970s, ’80s, or ’90s—these treasures might hit a little harder. Does a “huge collection of Muppet comic strips” or a “Darth Vader helmet signed by [Vader actor] David Prowse” or a “screen-used costume from Chronicles of Riddick worn by Karl Urban” make you woozy with nerdish glee? Then the Galaxy Museum might be your next must-visit destination.
For 25 years, owners Jason Hough and his wife, Heather Hough, have been collecting items from sci-fi and horror conventions, as well as San Diego Comic-Con and fellow memorabilia hunters. Last year, some cybersecurity work for Jason—along with the idea of getting the items in front of a receptive audience—brought the family to Texas. They moved their collection from their home and storage in Huntsville, Alabama, and decided to give it a proper display. Their first challenge was finding the right space for a guided tour of their display of movie artwork, costumes, collectible figures, and other pop culture memorabilia.
“We had a lot of pitfalls along the way,” Jason says. “We were being told that people didn’t understand our concept because we’re very different from other museums out there.” But with Austin being home to so many comic book stores, toy shops, and film-industry workers and fans, it could be a nice fit.
The location, a strip mall in Pflugerville, a northern suburb of Austin, is off the beaten path. Still, the Houghs say this year’s Austin Museum Day in September drew almost 300 visitors to an autograph signing by Susanna Malak, who played Jawa in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.
1006 E. Yager Lane, Suite A106
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Admission: $10 adults, $6 children, $8 seniors and military. Kids under 5 free.
Signings will be a big part of Galaxy’s 2023 calendar: Actors Corin Nemec (The Stand, Supernatural), Stephen Costantino (Gamorrean Guard in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi), and Aimee Richardson (Game of Thrones) are among those scheduled to sign autographs at Galaxy. Admission to Galaxy, which ranges in cost from $6 for kids over 5 to $10 for adults, is free during signings. But you’ll need to pay for autographs and other signed items at meet-and-greets.
Jason, who works on the side in cybersecurity, scripting film projects, and managing talent such as comedy actor Dennis Hurley (Superstore), says the museum sets itself apart by the stories it shares. “You’re seeing things that not a lot of people have seen, and you’re learning the story behind those pieces.”
For instance, on the museum tour, Jason will share the story of how Galaxy Art came to acquire perhaps the largest collection of Muppet comic strips, which ran in newspapers from 1981 to 1986 and were written and drawn by brothers Brad and Guy Gilchrist. Galaxy Art has the original sample strip submitted for the comic that was never actually published, as well as many others that didn’t end up in the hands of Jim Henson’s estate, at the Smithsonian, or with publisher King Features.
“We ended up with what we think is the highest number of those strips in existence right now,” Jason says.
While most of the items at Galaxy Art aren’t for sale, the museum does sell some limited-edition prints of artwork such as a Halloween take on Pinky and the Brain, stickers, and autographed pop culture figures. A visit here might be a way to start your own pop-culture memorabilia collection while reliving parts of your youth.