The Neill-Cochran House Museum invites you to a fun and intimate talk with artist and best-selling author Sarah Bird. Bird’s photography is featured in the exhibition, A Juneteenth Rodeo, on display at the Museum from June 5, - September 1, 2024.

The talk will be held in the NCHM Exhibit Room surrounded by the exhibition. Guests can enjoy complimentary cocktails and beverages with the artist. Free parking is available behind the Museum.

A Juneteenth Rodeo will be on display at the Neill-Cochran House Museum through September 1, 2024. The Museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

Commemorate Juneteenth 2024 at the Neill-Cochran House Museum! We are excited to share the newly-restored Slave Quarters, the only intact and accessible slave dwelling left in Austin, with you, our community.

While you are on site…

  • Take a tour of the Slave Quarters

  • Be among the first to see A Juneteenth Rodeo, a collection of photographs by Sarah Bird taken in the late 1970s in the jubilant, vibrant, vital, and now all-but vanished world of small-town Black rodeos. This exhibition is made possible thanks to the support of Humanities Texas and Frost Bank.

  • Enjoy complimentary cocktails from Milam & Greene Whiskey during the Sarah Bird Artist Talk event!

For more information, contact us at info@nchmuseum.org


Event Details

Ticket Information

  • Cost: Free!

Presenter Details

  • Name: The Neill-Cochran House Museum

    House Construction

    In 1855, a young couple commissioned local builder, designer, and businessman Abner Cook to construct a fine Greek Revival house on nearly 18 acres of land northwest of the city of Austin. 30-year-old Washington “Wash” Hill and his wife Mary were very much in good company; as Austin’s economy rapidly expanded after it once again became the capital of Texas in 1845, many prominent Texans found themselves in the market for finer residences in and around the city.

    The Hills, like the majority of white Austinites, were enslavers and they designed a home intended to be serviced through slave labor, along with a slave quarters that today is the only intact structure of its type in the city. However, the Hills’ ambitions exceeded their means and, despite their attempts to finance the project, including through the sale of five enslaved people, they were unable to afford the finished home. As a result, they never moved into their suburban residence.  To learn more about the role enslavement and race have played in our site’s history, look for the Slave Quarters Project drop-down menu at the top of our website.


    School for the Blind

    Wash and Mary Hill sold their Greek Revival mansion on completion to real estate speculators JM Swisher and Swante Swenson.  Swenson, who was on the board of the Texas State Asylum for the Blind, leased the property to the newly established state-funded boarding school and its students and teachers were the site’s first permanent occupants.  These included at least 5 hired-out enslaved people, many unnamed other than as property of their enslavers: Louisa (a girl owned by William Smyth for $8/month), Lam (a boy belonging to W.P. Mabin), a woman along with her 8-year-old daughter from Mrs. Henrietta Eggleston ($150/year), and a girl belonging to Secretary of State Col. Edward Clark ($10/month).


    Federal War Hospital

    During the latter part of the Civil War, Lieutenant Governor Fletcher Stockdale lived on site with a 10-year lease to own contract on the property.  Stockdale briefly served as Governor in 1865 and surrendered Texas to federal troops under the command of Colonel George A. Custer. Custer requisitioned the property for a federal war hospital for soldiers recuperating from yellow fever and cholera.  The quarantined soldiers damaged the property extensively, but thanks to that damage we know that the house site was surrounded by white palings (a wooden fence) at the time, that the interior walls were plastered, and that each room featured a wooden mantelpiece (all of which survive today).


    Becoming the Neill-Cochran House

    Our site was already 20 years old when it finally welcomed its first owner-occupants, the family of Andrew and Jennie Neill.  The Neills were wealthy and came to Austin from the far more elegant and sophisticated city of Galveston. With limited built real estate available in the small town of Austin, the Neills chose to purchase the old Hill House for its grandeur, despite its remote location from the capitol and downtown.  During the years they lived in the home, they threw lavish parties (they were particularly known for their wine cellar) and entertained all the prominent politicians of the day.  In 1892, Thomas Cochran accepted a position on the federal bench that brought him, his wife, three young children, his mother, and his father-in-law to Austin.  The family first leased and then ultimately purchased our site in 1895, beginning what would become 65 years of continuous occupancy over four generations. Over this time period, the home saw births, deaths, weddings, World War I, the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, and World War II.  We are proud to present objects that existed in the home during the Cochrans’ six decades of occupancy.

Venue Details

  • Address: 2310 San Gabriel ST
  • City: Austin
  • State: TX
  • Zip: 78705