Educational programs at Rienzi seek to inspire all audiences to engage with the collection through a variety of events and activities. Adult learners have the opportunity to attend lectures and gallery talks given by MFAH curators and visiting academics. Docent-led tours and special themed tours provide a more in-depth understanding of the collection and encourage close study of the art objects on view.
Music lovers enjoy opera recitals and period music performed in Rienzi’s intimate galleries. Interactive family programs such as storytime, family days, and art workshops create fun learning time for the youngest visitors. Art students and aspiring artists are invited to Rienzi for periodic sketching. Rienzi’s high-quality educational programs will enlighten and delight every visitor.
Special Topic Tours
Thursdays, May 2, 16, and 30, 2013
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Relax and see Rienzi and its gardens at twilight. Enjoy light hors d'oeuvres, wine, and live music. Docents are stationed throughout the house to greet guests and to interpret the collection. Tickets available at the door and in advance at 713.639.7800. Admission is $12 for MFAH Members and $15 for nonmembers.
Discover Rienzi's porcelain splendors. This tour introduces you to the inspiring development of "white gold" in Europe during the 18th century. Explore the monarchs and vibrant commercial markets that fed the rise of the extraordinary porcelain creations at Meissen, Sèvres, and Worcester. Fueled by rivalry and scientific innovation, these masterpieces reveal the increasing standards of patrons, the diverse function of wares, and the exquisite skill of Europe's modelers, painters, and gilders alike. Check the calendar for dates and times.
Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride
Thursday, May 23, 2013
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Sketching in the Galleries
Draw from 18th-century decorative art objects in the Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical styles during Rienzi’s open sketching hours. The galleries hold treasures for every artist: space and light, interior design, historical narrative, decorative motifs, reflective surfaces, intriguing shapes, and form inspired by function. Sketching hours are held on Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Check the calendar for periodic cancellations due to special events. Included with general admission.
A Great Read
Activities and programs related to Rienzi and the language arts are held throughout the year, including art workshops, family days, storytime tours, and diverse performances. Rienzi's "A Great Read" programs are funded by the Sterling-Turner Foundation.
Summer Storytime Tours
Introduce children to the magic of art and literature in an intimate, house-museum setting. Storytime Tours are a fun and interactive activity featuring stories related to themes highlighted in the Rienzi Collection. Most Wednesdays in June and July at 10 a.m. Admission is free. Recommended ages: 3+
Summer Family Art Workshops
Families come together to create art, write stories and poems, and watch performances inspired by the Rienzi Collection. Admission is free, but capacity is limited. Register at 713.639.7800. Designed for ages 4 and up. Doors open at 1:45 p.m. and guests are admitted until 2:15 p.m.
Sunday, June 2, 2013 SOLD OUT "Alice and a Mad Hatter Tea Party"
Sunday, June 9, 2013 "Stories Alive!"
Sunday, July 14, 2013 "A Marionette Performance of Rumpelstiltskin"
Free Family Days
Rienzi welcomes families with children of all ages to a joyful and fulfilling museum experience. Take a walk through tour of the collection, participate in a range of activities, and explore your talents through creative workshops. Admission is free. Light refreshments are served. No reservations necessary.
Sunday, April 21, 2013, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. "The Lure of the East"
Lectures & Discussions
Salons at Sunset
Rienzi opens its doors at twilight! Treat yourself to an engaging short lecture, an open house tour of the collection, and social time over wine and bites. Admission is $15, reception included.
"Drinking by the Book: Cocktails and Character Formation in 20th-Century American Literature"
Thursday, February 21, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
Speaker: Joanna O'Leary, Rice University
"'An Earthly Paradise of Or-mulu': Romantic Poetry and the Rienzi Collection"
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
Speaker: Karen Fang, PhD, University of Houston
Rienzi Spring Lecture
"Something Old, Something New: The Wedding Dress as Fantasy, Memory, and Transformation"
Thursday, April 11, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
Brown Auditorium Theater, MFAH
Speaker: Hazel Clark, Parsons The New School for Design
MFAH & Rienzi Spring Lecture
“18th-Century Kitchens and Royal Eating”
Sunday, April 14, 2013, 2 p.m.
Brown Auditorium Theater, MFAH
Speaker: Lee Prosser, Historic Royal Palaces
On the third Thursday of the month, learn about great works of art in the Rienzi Collection. Speakers include museum curators, conservators, educators, and librarians. Reservations are encouraged. Admission is free.
Thursday, February 21, 2013, 1 p.m. "Colonel John Fortnum and Family"
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 1 p.m. "Book Design in the 20th Century"
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 1 p.m. "La Fée aux Fleurs"
Enjoy great conversations about good books! The two MFAH house museums host a history-book discussion series about life in America and Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. The book club meets alternately at Rienzi and Bayou Bend, with free discussions on a regular basis.
Additional Information / Upcoming Selections
Annual Punch Party
Each fall, Rienzi hosts a jolly celebration: "Punch Party: The 18th-Century Imbiber." Guests travel through time to the mid-1700s to explore historic English punch, a blend of spirits, citrus, sugar, and spices. Partygoers sample original 18th-century cocktail recipes as well as modern punches from Midtown's Mongoose versus Cobra while socializing on Rienzi’s terrace to the sounds of Divisi Strings' contemporary quartet, AMP'D. Snap your own photo in the Smilebooth—pompadours distributed courtesy of Houston Grand Opera!
Admission is $25 for MFAH Members, $30 for nonmembers. Includes punch, light bites, and complimentary valet parking. Space is limited, purchase tickets in advance to guarantee admission. Guests must be 21 or older. For ticket information, call 713.639.7800.
Rienzi has been a featured stop on the River Oaks Garden Club’s Azalea Trail since 1999. The house and 4.4 acres of beautiful gardens are open to all ages.
Spring House and Gardens Days
Saturday–Sunday, March 16–17, 2013
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call 713.639.7759 or 713.639.7800.
Rienzi and Bayou Bend invite you to join in this annual spring affair during Houston’s most beautiful time of year. Both house museums are included for a single ticket price of $15. Designed for adult garden enthusiasts, the event features light refreshments and a shuttle that runs between the two estates.
Tickets may be purchased online or on-site at Bayou Bend. Tours begin at Bayou Bend with transportation to and from Rienzi. Parking is not available at Rienzi.