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 an engaging learning experience 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.
Tea + Tour
Rienzi's European Treasures
Friday, November 15, 2013, 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Friday, January 17, 2014, 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Spend a lovely afternoon at Rienzi with a tour of the mansion followed by a traditional English tea. The tour highlights the European treasures that comprise the Rienzi Collection. Then enjoy various teas, as well as an assortment of sweet and savory treats.
Capacity is limited. For reservations and more information, visit mfah.org/calendar or call 713.639.7800.
Lectures & Discussions
Learn more about specially selected works of art in the Rienzi Collection, one Thursday a month at 1 p.m. Speakers include curators, conservators, educators, and librarians. Admission is free. Reservations encouraged. Call 713.639.7800.
November 21, 2013 "The Compleat Angler"
December 19, 2013 "John Staub's Rienzi"
February 6, 2014 "Wooded Landscape with a Woodcutter"
Rienzi and Bayou Bend Book Club
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. Admission is free.
Additional Information / Upcoming Selections
Thursday, October 24, 2013, 6:30 p.m.
"Rienzi Begins: Architect John F. Staub and the Mastersons"
Salon at Sunset
Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
"Horticulture and Imperialism: The Garden Spaces of the British Empire," presented by Lynn Voskuil, University of Houston. 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.
For more information, visit mfah.org/calendar or call 713.639.7800.
Special Topic Tours
Holiday Home Tours
Wednesdays, December 11 and 18, 2013
5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Celebrate the season by touring Rienzi while it is beautifully decorated for the holidays. Docents guide visitors though the house, highlighting the Masterson family Christmas ornaments. Guests enjoy live seasonal music and a reception complete with holiday goodies. Tickets available at the door and in advance at 713.639.7800. Admission is $15 for MFAH Members and $20 for nonmembers.
Spotlight: Ceramics of Rienzi and Bayou Bend
Sunday, February 9, 2014, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesdays, May 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2014
5:30 p.m. to 7:30 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 $15 for MFAH Members and $20 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. Check mfah.org/calendar for dates and times.
Programs for Children & Families
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. Admission is free. Reservations are recommended, but drop-ins are welcome. Call 713.639.7800 for more information. 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. Call 713.639.7800 for more information. Recommended ages: 4+
Free Family Days
Rienzi welcomes families with children of all ages to a joyful and fulfilling museum experience. Enjoy a range of activities, tour the collection, and explore your talents through creative workshops. Admission is free. Light refreshments are served. Drop in and join the fun!
"Fall's Finest" Sunday, November 17, 2013, 1–5 p.m.
"Spring Family Day" Sunday, March 16, 2014, 1–5 p.m.
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.
The 2014 Azalea Trail takes place March 7, 8, and 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For tickets and information, visit riveroaksgardenclub.org or call 713.523.2483.
Outdoor Photography Day
Saturday, March 15, 2014
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Sketching in the Galleries
On Wednesday afternoons, artists of all ages are welcome to draw from 18th and 19th-century decorative-arts objects in the Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassical styles during Rienzi’s open sketching hours, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. 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. Check mfah.org/calendar for occasional cancellations. Included with Rienzi admission.
Annual Punch Party
Friday, October 25, 2013
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
At this jolly celebration, travel through time to the mid-1700s to explore historic English punch, a blend of spirits, citrus, sugar, and spices. Sample original 18th-century cocktail recipes as well as modern punches while socializing on the terrace. Pompadours welcome!