Visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, this summer for a fun-filled lineup of art, activities, movies and programs. The MFAH invites you to create a personalized itinerary from a variety of options for all ages and interests.
Family programs and resources are free with general Museum admission, unless otherwise specified. On Thursdays, general admission is free. On weekends, ages 6 to 18 receive free admission with their library card from any public library in Texas. MFAH members always receive free general admission. Both of the MFAH house museums—Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, as well as Rienzi—also offer special summer fare. Visit www.mfah.org/summerfun for more information and updates.
EXHIBITIONS Explore the Art
Be sure to see the top summer shows at the MFAH. Among the highlights:
The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning (May 3–June 14) The Cyrus Cylinder, one of the most famous objects to have survived from the ancient world, is often referred to as the first bill of human rights. This touchstone of civilization comes to the MFAH on a limited U.S. tour along with 16 works of art that are testimony to the innovations initiated by Persian rule in the Ancient Near East.
Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop (June 2–August 25) Photography has always been a medium of fabricated truths and artful lies, even since the 1840s. The captivating images in this international loan exhibition offer a new understanding of photographic history and the medium’s relationship to visual truth.
James Turrell: The Light Inside (June 9–September 22) Filled with color and light, this exhibition brings many of the artist’s installations to the public for the first time. At the show’s core is The Light Inside, in the Museum’s underground Wilson Tunnel.
Intersecting Modernities: Latin American Art from the Brillembourg Capriles Collection (June 23–September 2) This collection of 20th-century Latin American art features more than 100 masterworks created by artists at the height of their careers—including Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, Diego Rivera and Joaquín Torres-García.
Visit the Kinder Foundation Education Center
The Kinder Foundation Education Center (KFEC) is a great place to start your Museum visit. With art, storybooks, computer stations, free Wi-Fi and the helpful staff, everyone can explore, interact and learn. The KFEC is open anytime the Museum is open.
Check out a Family Pack MFAH Family Packs are filled with hands-on activities, looking games and books. You may borrow these interactive gallery resources free of charge during your Museum visit. Stop by the KFEC and choose from topics such as Animal Adventures, Five Paintings to See with Your Little One and Let’s Play!
Read a Storybook Together in the Galleries Every day at the MFAH, families may participate in the program A Book and A Look. Check out a storybook and take it into the galleries to read in front of a work of art, which you can also “read” together with the help of looking activities.
Create Your Own Multimedia Experience: Cell Phones, Videos and More Learn about works of art that interest you by experiencing the MFAH collections online, through high-quality images, videos and extra information. Pick up What Should We Look at Next? for easy-to-use cell-phone stops designed especially for kids and families. Simply call the number on the artwork’s label, and listen to learn and discover together.
See a Movie on the Big Screen
Escape to the cool comfort of Brown Auditorium Theater. The MFAH presents the best in classic Hollywood cinema, new releases, independent productions, foreign-language films and much more. Family-friendly “Reel Kids” screenings appeal to all ages. Visit www.mfah.org/films for schedules and advance tickets.
Plan Your Visit
In addition to the events and programs listed here, visit www.mfah.org/calendar for updates, details and more daily activities for adults and children.
Tuesdays–Sundays Guided Gallery Talks/every week
Join one of the Museum’s guided tours to look at and talk about different themes in art. Options include “Lunch + Look” at 1 p.m. daily, and afternoon and evening tours on selected days throughout the week.
Tuesdays–Sundays Detective Days at Bayou Bend/June 1–August 31
Summer sleuths ages 6 and up explore mysteries at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, the MFAH house museum for American decorative arts. Each detective receives an Investigator’s Kit and a bottle of water for keeping cool during the hunt. Adventures take place Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free for ages 12 and younger, and $5 for everyone else who accompanies the detective.
Sundays First Sundays: Art Improv at the MFAH/June 2, July 7
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on these Sunday afternoons, your family can choose a work of art anywhere in the Museum and make “friends” with it: Sketch it, write about it and talk about it together. Then, visit the studio to create a work of art inspired by the new friend and your own imaginations.
Sundays Family Art Workshops at Rienzi/June 2, 9
Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, invites families to July 14 come together to create art, write stories and watch performances from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but space is limited, so secure your spot by calling 713.639.7800.
Alice and a Mad Hatter Tea Party (June 2)
Down the rabbit hole we go! Create your own “mad hat” and enjoy “eat me” cake at this Wonderland-themed children’s tea party. Following the party, meet Alice herself! She’ll be visiting from Main Street Theater’s summer production of Alice in Wonderland.
Stories Alive! (June 9)
Participate in a one-day creative writing workshop inspired by themes highlighted throughout Rienzi’s art collection. Instructors from Rice University’s School Literacy and Culture Project will lead students on a creative journey of reading, writing and dramatization of their own stories and poems.
A Marionette Performance of Rumpelstiltskin (July 14)
Turning straw into gold has never been more fun at Rienzi! Watch the Grimm Brother’s classic tale of Rumpelstiltskin come to life through handmade puppets and the beautifully rendered sets of the Texas Marionette Playhouse. A children’s reception will follow the show.
Sunday Father’s Day at Rienzi
June 16 Rienzi celebrates Father’s Day with free admission for all Dads including a sweet treat for the whole family to enjoy.
Wednesdays Storytime Tours at Rienzi/June 5, 12, 19, 26
Summertime is storytime at Rienzi. Offered July 3, 10, 17 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., these tours are a fun and interactive way to introduce children to the magic of art and literature. Families are encouraged to bring a lunch and picnic in the Rienzi Gardens afterward. Admission is free, but space is limited, so reserve your spot by calling 713.639.7800.
All year, “I spy” Rienzi
Regular tour times Children who accompany their parents on a regular tour may ask for an “I-spy” guide to Rienzi’s gardens. A special treat awaits those who spy all of the objects. Free admission for children under 12.
Thursdays Summer Art Detectives at the MFAH/June 6, 13, 20, 27
The MFAH Art Detectives program gives families the chance to investigate new works July 4, 11, 18, 25 of art through interactive experiences on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Depending on which day you visit, your family can create art in the studio or in the gallery. For each investigation you complete, you’ll earn a prize and be entered in a drawing to win an MFAH family-level membership. Plus, Museum admission is free on Thursdays.
Gallery Investigations + Studio
Visit the galleries to investigate a work of art by looking carefully, uncovering details and thinking about the cool stuff you discover. Talk with a friendly MFAH educator and explore hands-on materials to further your investigation. In the art-making studio, create a project inspired by the work of art being investigated that day.
Hear Me Roar: Exploring a Sculpture from Southeast Asia (June 6)
To Market, To Market! Exploring a European Painting (June 20)
Is That Real? Exploring Photography (July 4)
Follow the Leader: Exploring Linguist Staffs from Africa (July 18)
Gallery Investigations + Sketching + Show
Sharpen your observation skills and have fun at the same time! Visit the Gallery Cart for looking games and hands-on art activities, and talk about what you see with one of the MFAH educators. Kick your experience up a notch by sketching the art on view. Performances begin at 1:30 p.m.
American Art Explorations with American music by Paragon Brass Ensemble (June 13)
Pre-Columbian Art Explorations with Aztec dancing by Danza Azteca Taxcayolotl (June 27)
Ancient Art Explorations with John M. Keahey’s presentation “Life in Classical Greece, 700 BC to 350 BC” (July 11)
European Art Explorations with Spanish guitar music by Jeremías García (July 25)
Thursdays First Thursday Sketching at the MFAH June 6, July 4
Sketch works of art in the Museum galleries during this informal program from 4 p.m. August 1 to 7 p.m. An MFAH teaching artist is on hand with paper, pencils and other supplies to get you started. First Thursday Sketching is open to adults, kids, families, couples—everyone’s invited! Plus, Museum admission is free on Thursdays.
Sundays Sunday Family Zone & Studio at the MFAH
June 9, 16, 23, 30 On Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. look for signs in the main lobbies to tell you which July 14, 21, 28 gallery the Family Zone is located in that day. Spend some time with the friendly family August 11, 18, 25 educators; sit on a pillow and read; sketch a work of art; and join an investigation of an artwork. In the studio, create an art project inspired by original works of art on display.
Saturday–Sunday Father’s Day Weekend at Bayou Bend
June 15–16 Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens celebrates Father’s Day weekend with admission specials, refreshments and more. At the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center, enjoy live music along with complimentary cookies and lemonade. From 1 – 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday of Father’s Day weekend, admission is free for dad, and everyone in his group receives discounted $5 admission (children 9 and younger are admitted free).
Tuesdays Preschool Story Hour at Bayou Bend
June 18, July 16 Bring the little ones for a morning storytime at Bayou Bend from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
August 20 Stories are read aloud by educators and accompanied by optional related activities such as sing-alongs, games, craft activities and outdoor time in the gardens. Admission is $5.
Thursday 4th of July at the MFAH & Bayou Bend July 4 Celebrate Independence Day with the MFAH! Admission is free at both locations.
Main Campus The Museum, MFAH Shop, Cafe Express and Cullen Sculpture Garden are open all day.
Bayou Bend The patriotic annual family event from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. includes crafts, activities, refreshments, performers and a signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Wednesday Rienzi and Bayou Bend Book Club/July 10
Enjoy good books and great conversations with this bimonthly series hosted by the two MFAH house museums. The July 10 selection is The Age of Comfort: When Paris Discovered Casual—and the Modern Home Began, by Joan DeJean. Free discussions take place at Rienzi at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. To reserve your spot, call 713.639.7800.
Wednesdays Summer Talk + Tour at Bayou Bend Artists on the Collection/July 17, 31
For this edition of the popular Talk + Tour series, local artists lend their perspectives August 14, 28 as working craftsmen in an evaluation of objects in the Bayou Bend Collection. Lectures take place at 1 p.m. at the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center, and audience members are invited to sign up for the docent-led house experience of the Bayou Bend Collection that follows. The lectures are $5 for MFAH Members, and $12.50 regular admission. Space is limited, so call 713.639.7750 to make a reservation.
Painting” Patrick Palmer (July 17)
“Metalwork” Jaydan Moore (July 31)
“Wood” Thomas Irven (August 14)
“Glass” Dick Moiel and Kathy Poeppel (August 28)
Sunday MFAH Family Day: Step into Art
August 4 Families explore the amazing light-and-space installations of artist James Turrell and create art inspired by his work. Performances, storytelling, sketching in the galleries and more round out this afternoon adventure from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Fridays Little Art Adventures at the MFAH/August 23, 30
This program at 10:30 a.m. is designed for children ages 3 to 5 and their adult companions. The experience includes a storybook circle; making a simple art project; creative shape and color play; and an “In Search of” activity sheet families can use in the galleries together. (Online registration opens at www.mfah.org/calendar on August 2.)
DINING OPTIONS Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks and Food Trucks: MFAH Style
Take a break in the Museum’s Cafe Express, open from 8 a.m. until the Museum closes. Have a picnic in Cullen Sculpture Garden, where you’ll find outdoor seating and a selection of Houston’s finest food trucks every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
LOCATIONS MFAH Main Campus
Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet Street
Audrey Jones Beck Building, 5601 Main Street
General admission is $13 for adults; $8 for senior adults (65+); $6 for students with ID; $6 for ages 6 to 18; free for ages 5 and younger. Order tickets online for a $1 discount. General admission does not include ticketed exhibitions and events. On Saturdays and Sundays, ages 6 to 18 receive free general admission when they show their library card from any public library in Texas. On Thursdays, general admission is free for everyone. MFAH members always receive free admission. Go to www.mfah.org/visit for more.
Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden
Bissonnet Street at Montrose Boulevard
Admission is free. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
6003 Memorial Drive at Westcott Street
Visit www.mfah.org/bayoubend or call 713.639.7750 for hours and admission prices.
1406 Kirby Drive
Visit www.mfah.org/rienzi or call 713.639.7800 for hours and admission prices.
Free outdoor parking is available at all locations. On the main campus, all-day covered parking at the MFAH Visitors Center is $3 for MFAH members at the Patron level and above and $6 for other levels of membership and Museum guests with proof of admission.