The David B. Warren Symposium

One of the greatest cultural treasures in the state of Texas, Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is renowned for its superb collection of American and Texas decorative arts and paintings. Established by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, to honor Bayou Bend's founding director emeritus, the David B. Warren Symposium has been presented biennially since 2007. Each symposium addresses different aspects of the theme “American Material Culture and the Texas Experience.”

The 2015 Symposium

The 2015 David B. Warren Symposium
on American Material Culture
and the Texas Experience

“Creators and Consumers: Women and Material Culture and Visual Art in 19th-Century Texas, the Lower South, and the Southwest”

October 2325, 2015
Presented by Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Symposium Schedule

Open to the public. Registration Info 

Friday, October 23

6:30 p.m. Keynote Address
Carving Out Creative Enterprise as a Woman in 19th-Century Texas 
Paula Mitchell Marks, professor of American studies, St. Edward's University

A reception, and a special viewing of the exhibition Texas Clay: 19th-Century Stoneware Pottery from the Bayou Bend Collection, follow the talk.

Saturday, October 24

9:30–11:45 a.m. Welcome and Opening
Bonnie Campbell, director, Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Jennifer Hammond, head of education, Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

• A Luxury Purchase in "Troublesome Times":
Harriet Flower Mathew's Antebellum Parlor in St. Francisville, Louisiana
Mel Buchanan, RosaMary Curator of Decorative Arts & Design, New Orleans Museum of Art

• The Material Culture of Freedom:
African American Women and the Southern Free Black Home, 1860
Whitney Stewart, department of history, Rice University

• Mary Bella Prague Brice:
"A Woman of Marked Literary and Artistic Attainments" in 19th-Century New Orleans

Katie Burlison, curator of decorative arts, Louisiana State Museum

11:45 a.m.–1 p.m. Lunch Break

1–3:30 p.m.

• America’s "Democratic Art”: Three 19th-Century Quilts from Texas and the Lower South
Katherine J. Adams, quilt curator, Briscoe Center for American History, the University of Texas at Austin

• Women's Experiences of Making and Wearing Sunbonnets in 19th-Century Texas
Rebecca Jumper Matheson, independent scholar

• "Weaving Beautiful Garlands of Immortelles": Mattanna Fairchild and Decorative Memorial Works
Lauren Clark, independent scholar

• Project Update: Texas Clay and the Archive
Margaret Culbertson, director, Kitty King Powell Library and Study Center at Bayou Bend
Michelle Johnson, project manager, William J. Hill Texas Artisans and Artists Archive

Study Trip

Sunday, October 25

Galveston: A Treasure Trove of Texas and Southwest Material Culture
9 a.m.–4 p.m.

Only symposium participants may sign up for the study trip. Registration $65; limit 50 people.
Historically rich Galveston Island is the setting for the 2015 symposium study trip. Participants enjoy special access and customized experiences at three remarkable venues: the 1892 Bishop’s Palace, a National Historic Landmark and one of the most significant Victorian residences in the country; the 1904 Rosenberg Library, the principal repository of Galveston’s historical heritage; and the new Bryan Museum, featuring a major collection of historical artifacts, documents, and artwork from the southwestern United States and housed in a spectacular 1902 structure that served as an orphanage for many decades.

• 8:30 a.m. Bayou Bend's Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center opens; breakfast bites and beverages available. Free parking at the Kilroy Center, 6003 Memorial Drive.
• 9 a.m. (promptly) Bus departs for Galveston.
• 4 p.m. Bus returns to Bayou Bend.


The David B. Warren Symposium is open to the public.

Registration for the Friday/Saturday events is $30 for MFAH members, $35 for nonmembers, and $15 for students. Price includes a box lunch on Saturday.

Register Now

History of the David B. Warren Symposium

The inaugural David B. Warren Symposium, “American Material Culture and the Texas Experience,” was presented by Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, on February 9–10, 2007. David B. Warren delivered the keynote address, “A Gift of Love: Miss Ima Hogg’s Quest to Bring Americana to Texas.” The second symposium, “American Material Culture and the Texas Experience, Part 2” was presented October 30–31, 2009. The first two symposia placed the pre-1900 material culture of Texas, the lower South, and the Southwest within a national and international context, establishing a tradition that future symposia would follow.

The third biennial David B. Warren Symposium, “The Civil War and the Material Culture of Texas, the Lower South, and the Southwest,” was held October 28–30, 2011, and commemorated the sesquicentennial of the start of the American Civil War. The fourth symposium was held October 25–27, 2013. The theme, “Itinerant and Immigrant Artists and Artisans in 19th-Century Texas,” acknowledged the contributions of foreign-born craftsmen, photographers, and artists to the material culture of the Lone Star State.

The 2015 David B. Warren Symposium at Bayou Bend receives generous funding from:

The David B. Warren Symposium Endowment
William J. Hill
Nancy Glanville Jewell
Marilyn Lummis
The Summerlee Foundation
Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities
Texas Historical Foundation