Programs & Gallery Activities at Rienzi

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.

Lectures & Discussions

Gallery Talks
One Thursday a month, Rienzi highlights a great work of art in the collection. Speakers include curators, conservators, educators, and librarians. Admission is free, reservations encouraged. Call 713.639.7800.
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. Admission is free. Info & Schedule

Special Topic Tours

Check for dates and times.

Focus Tours
Enjoy an in-depth look at an intriguing aspect of the Rienzi Collection. These small, personal tours are limited to 10 people. Topics vary. Reservations encouraged: 713.639.7800.

La visita a Rienzi
Tours in Spanish take place on the second Sunday of the month, September through December, at 1:30 p.m.
Rivals, Spies, and the Quest for White Gold: Rienzi's Porcelain Masterpieces
Discover Rienzi's porcelain splendors. This tour focuses on the 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.
Twilight Tours
Wednesdays, May 18 & 25, 2016, 6 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. Admission is $15 for MFAH members and $18 for nonmembers. Groups of 10 or more receive 20% off admission with advance purchase at 713.639.7800.


Music at Rienzi

Rienzi partners with Houston Grand Opera Studio (HGO Studio) to host a series of magnificent recitals reverent of 18th-century art and culture. Amidst the gorgeous surroundings of Rienzi's fine art gallery and ballroom, music patrons enjoy a vibrantly aesthetic acoustic experience. A docent-guided walkthrough tour and reception with wine and light hors d'oeuvres are included with admission.


Houston Grand Opera Studio

Audiences are invited to experience the exceptional talents of up-and-coming artists from Houston Grand Opera Studio. Developed thematically, each performance features a repertoire of works by renowned composers and surprise talents, selected for your enjoyment by HGO Studio members. Admission is $40. Tickets include valet parking and a wine reception. The house opens for tours 45 minutes before each recital. Season passes are available from Houston Grand Opera. 

2015–2016 HGO Studio Performance Schedule
More details at For  tickets, call the HGO box office at 1.800.626.7372.
• Thursday, November 12, 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, November 15, 5 p.m.
• Friday, March 18, 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, March 20, 5 p.m.
• Thursday, May 5, 7:30 p.m. & Sunday, May 8, 5 p.m.

The Houston Grand Opera Studio Series is underwritten by a generous grant from the Alkek and Williams Foundation.

Sunday Garden Photography

On Sunday afternoons, you're invited to visit Rienzi's gardens and capture their oasis-in-the-city beauty from behind the lens. Snap photos of the colorful flowers, lush green spaces, interesting architectural details, and eclectic statues. Use #rienzigardens to share your pics on social media!

Admission is free. Call 713.639.7800. No professional photography or tripods, please. Check for more information and occasional cancellations.

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 for occasional cancellations. Included with Rienzi admission.

Programs for Children & Families

Family Days

Sumptuous Silver
Sunday, October 18, 2015, 1 p.m.
Musical Motifs
Sunday, April 17, 2016, 1 p.m.

Enjoy performances and participate in art workshops, gallery games, and a garden scavenger hunt on the grounds of Rienzi. These family events, presented jointly with Bayou Bend, feature complimentary transportation between the two house museums. Admission is free—drop in!

Storytime Tours

Selected mornings: Monday holidays, Spring Break, June & July
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. Families are welcome to bring picnic lunches to enjoy in the gardens after the tour. Admission is free. Reservations are suggested, but drop-ins are welcome. Call 713.639.7800 for more information. Recommended ages: 3+

Summer Fine Arts Workshops

Selected Sunday afternoons: June & July
Families come together to create art, write stories and poems, and watch performances inspired by the Rienzi Collection. Admission is free. Space is limited. Call 713.639.7800 for reservations. Recommended ages: 4+

Azalea Trail

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 annual Azalea Trail takes place in early March. For tickets and information, visit or call 713.523.2483.