Street Address
6003 Memorial Drive at Westcott Street
Houston, TX 77019
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 6826
Houston, TX 77019
phone: 713-639-7750
fax: 713-639-7799
e-mail: bayoubend@mfah.org
web: www.mfah.org/visit/bayou-bend-collection-and-gardens/
Museum Type(s)
Art
Staff

Description

Bayou Bend Collections and Gardens in Houston, TX is one of more than 15,400 museums in the MuseumsUSA directory. Find an exciting museum to visit where you live or vacation today.

History

The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is one of the nation's premier museums of American painting and decorative arts--furniture, ceramics, glass, metals, textiles. Situated on fourteen acres of formal and woodland gardens, the museum documents decorative and fine arts, principally American, from the seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. Bayou Bend includes outstanding American paintings and works on paper, and the historic gardens are nationally recognized as a center for the display of azaleas and camellias. The collection also contains notable objects from outside America, particularly English ceramics of the types used in Colonial America. Assembled by Texas philanthropist Miss Ima Hogg (1882-1975) during more than a half century, the collection consists of approximately 4,700 objects installed in twenty-eight room settings that reflect historic and stylistic periods from 1620 to 1870. The collection is housed at Bayou Bend, Miss Hogg s former home built in 1927-28 along a turn in Buffalo Bayou.

Miss Hogg began the collection in 1920 when she purchased her first piece of colonial American furniture. The piece inspired her to form a collection of early Americana that would serve as a resource for the Southwest, an area remote from America s colonial origins. In 1956, Miss Hogg offered her house, gardens, and collection to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston with the understanding that Bayou Bend would operate as a discrete entity. The house museum was officially dedicated and opened to the public in 1966.

Artifacts Collections

The Bayou Bend collection traces the evolution of design and technology from colonial times to the Victorian era and illustrates the development of domestic rituals and social customs.

Paintings in the collection present a remarkably comprehensive survey of major American artists between 1700 and 1860. The paintings document the genesis and development of the fine arts in America with the fusion and modification of imported artistic traditions into the national aesthetic. The collection includes such American masters of the genre as John Smibert, John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, and several members of the Peale family.

Furniture, approximately 400 objects, is the collection s greatest strength, comprising the full range of forms and styles from the early colonial period until the Civil War. Much of the furniture represents the workmanship of such master craftsmen as John Townsend, Duncan Phyfe, and John Henry Belter.

Textiles comprise approximately 250 examples, primarily of American origin between 1650 and 1900, and include carpets, upholstery, bed coverings, and bed and window hangings, in addition to items of clothing and needlework.

Metals include gold, silver, brass, pewter, and iron, providing vivid depiction of the wide-ranging functions of objects within American culture. American silver is well represented with examples by most of the important shops and documents a full range of both functional forms and regional treatments of those forms.

The ceramics and glass collection is particularly strong in the area of English ceramics, which comprised the bulk of tablewares in American households throughout the colonial period. The colonial period is represented through tin-glazed earthenwares, salt-glazed stonewares, and various lead-glazed pieces, including agatewares, Whieldon-type

Research Collections

The archives contain a significant body of materials relating to the development of the Bayou Bend collection and the evolution of the installation, early Texas history, and the Hogg family. Substantial research by staff and docents on object provenance, history, and use is maintained and regularly updated in the object files.

Educational Programs

Education is central to Bayou Bend 's public service role. While Bayou Bend serves a traditional audience interested in the history of decorative arts, the museum also interprets the collection from other perspectives, such as personal, social, and cultural history. Recognizing that people have different learning styles, Bayou Bend offers a variety of hands-on activities that help visitors interpret the collection. Specialized thematic tours and a range of family programs encourage repeat visitation, while free family days and school tours help to diversify the museum s audience. The museum reaches teachers and students through tours, teacher in-service, and outreach exhibitions. Self-guided audio tours are also available to visitors. Through these activities, Bayou Bend hopes to involve all people in the study of American cultural history, in order to foster an understanding of people and patterns of living in the past and present. Education programs are developed by a professional staff educator in association with the director, curator, and appropriate consultants. The staff consults with teachers and administrators from public and private schools and universities to ensure that school programs are age- appropriate and meet curriculum objectives. The education director works closely with curriculum-writing specialists from the Houston Independent School District to integrate the collection and interpretive programs into the American history curriculum, particularly at the fifth-and eighth-grade levels.

    Publications

    In 1975, the museum published Bayou Bend: American Furniture, Paintings, and Silver from the Bayou Bend Collection, and an expanded and updated catalogue will be published in1998. In 1988, the museum completed Bayou Bend: The Interiors and the Gardens, which chronicles the museum s history and provides a guide to the rooms and garden settings