The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (21st and Guadalupe Sts., 512/471-8944, www.hrc.utexas.edu , 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Tues.–Wed. and Fri., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Thurs., noon–5 p.m. Sat.–Sun., free), is an underappreciated gem in Austin  and even the nation. Maybe it’s the name, which sounds more like an academic facility than a public gallery.
Granted, most people impressed by the Ransom Center’s holdings are researchers, but even Aggies can grasp the impressive magnitude of publicly displayed artifacts such as the world’s first photograph, a Gutenberg Bible, and a 1450 edition of Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.
Other exceptionally rare holdings at the Ransom Center include the complete working libraries of James Joyce and E. E. Cummings, and manuscripts from Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman, Edgar Allen Poe, and Mark Twain.