Because SXSW is inextricably linked to the local music scene, the 5X5Y: 25 Years of SXSW Music exhibit allows visitors to take a trip into the city's storied past. The exhibit, which is free to the public, runs through July 31.
The material for the exhibit comes from the archives of SXSW Inc., which runs what has become the largest multimedia festival of its kind in the world. As you walk through the history center, you'll displays on the growth in attendance and participation by bands from across the globe as well as how SXSW has had an increasingly large impact on the Austin economy. One sign charts that impact in dollars: Back in 1990, the festival brought $1.5 million to Austin while the 2010 total topped $100 million.
One notable piece of the exhibit is the wall that lists the names of every musical act that has ever performed at SXSW. And you'll find blasts from the past like cassette tapes (remember those?) and old swag bags and posters.
If You Go
The Austin History Center (810 Guadalupe St.) is located next to the Faulk Central Library downtown. Its hours are: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Metered street parking is available on surrounding streets. For information, call 512-974-7480.