Programs and Events at Bayou Bend

Bayou Bend is open year-round with programs and events for adults and families with children. In addition to the highlights below, Bayou Bend offers an Election Celebration every four years and many other activities. For more information, contact Joey Milillo, programs manager, at or 713.639.7759.

Are you interested in the docent program? Bayou Bend docents are nationally recognized volunteers who provide outstanding tours and education to visitors.

David B. Warren Symposium

To honor Bayou Bend’s founding director emeritus and his passion for American material culture, the MFAH established the David B. Warren Symposium, presented biennially since 2007. Each symposium develops a different aspect of the overall theme of American material culture and the Texas experience.

October 23–25, 2015
“Creators and Consumers: Women and Material Culture and Visual Art in 19th-Century Texas, the Lower South, and the Southwest”

Info & Registration

Authors’ Talk & Book Signing “Texas Clay”

The exhibition Texas Clay: 19th-Century Pottery from the Bayou Bend Collection, on view at the MFAH, showcases objects from Bayou Bend's remarkable collection of early Texas stoneware. Learn more, and meet the authors of the accompanying illustrated catalogue, during this event at Bayou Bend.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015
6:30 p.m.
Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor Center

Info & Details

TreeWise: Growing Healthy Trees in Houston

Bart Brechter, curator of Bayou Bend Gardens, is joined by leading horticultural experts for presentations and discussions about raising trees in Southeast Texas. The seminar is followed by a light lunch and a guided look at significant trees in the gardens of Bayou Bend.

Saturday, November 7, 2015
8:30 a.m.
Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor Center

Info & Tickets


Carol and Les Ballard Lecture Series

Twice a year, renowned scholars speak about interesting aspects of American decorative and fine arts. Each lecture takes place in Brown Auditorium Theater at the MFAH. A reception follows. Admission is free.

“A Rich and Varied Culture:
The Material World of the Early South”
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
6:30 p.m.

More Info

Detective Days

There’s mystery afoot at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens for sleuths ages 6 and older. Detective Days are self-guided activity sheets that provide a focused activity, challenging a child's observational skills and critical thinking. 

Detective Days are available during self-guided tour hours for both the house and the gardens.

Detective Days at Bayou Bend are generously supported by Denise Monteleone.

Family Days

Offered free of charge on selected Sunday afternoons*, Bayou Bend Family Days feature music, games, crafts, and a host of other activities that are fun for both children and adults. Families with young children are invited to take guided tours, led by volunteers from the Houston Junior Woman's Club, of selected rooms of the house. Plus, guests may register for great giveaways from the MFAH and Houston Public Radio. *Family Days usually take place on the third Sunday of the month, but check the calendar for specific days.

Bayou Bend Family Days are presented by:

School and Group Tours

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens offers a wide variety of group tours for adults and students.

► More Information

The Bayou Bend School Tour Program is generously underwritten by The Crain Foundation.


Children's literature comes to life with ExploraStory! Bring your group of up to 24 kids (ages 3 to 5) to read a classic children’s book and participate in hands-on crafts and activities with Bayou Bend's experienced early-childhood educators in modern classrooms. Then investigate nature with a self-guided activity.

For the best selection of dates, reserve your visit a month in advance. More Information

Speakers Bureau

The Bayou Bend Speakers Bureau, staffed by Bayou Bend docents, offers informative talks and lectures, illustrated with slides, for groups and organizations interested in learning more about antiques, gardens, history, holiday decorating, or the lifestyles of Americans in the past.

More than 60 topics are available. Presentations to educational institutions (teacher groups, colleges, etc.) are free of charge. Other groups pay a tax-deductible honorarium of $75 that is used to support the educational activities of Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens. Please call 713.353.1508 for more information.

Book Club

Rienzi and Bayou Bend host a history book discussion series about life in America and Europe in the 1700s and 1800s. Meeting alternately at Rienzi and Bayou Bend, this book club offers free discussions on a regular basis.

► Additional Information / Upcoming Selections

Christmas Village at Bayou Bend

Celebrate the season at Bayou Bend! Festive lighting displays throughout the gardens, a theatrical house experience, and a resplendent holiday tent transport you to a winter wonderland this December.

Stay tuned for more info and updates!.

Azalea Trail

Each March, Bayou Bend participates in Azalea Trail, presented by River Oaks Garden Club. Azalea Trail showcases the colorful azaleas at Bayou Bend, Rienzi, private homes, and the garden club's Forum of Civics. At Bayou Bend, guests enjoy the splendor of spring among the woodland gardens and glimpse the collection of American decorative arts in the main hall of the house. For more details, contact River Oaks Garden Club. Tickets are also available at Bayou Bend beginning in February. Azalea Trail admission is the only way to view Bayou Bend during this weekend. Proceeds support local organizations including Bayou Bend and Rienzi.

Summer History Camp

A Kid’s Life in Colonial America

Summer 2015
June 15–19 | June 22–26
July 13–17 | July 20–24

Bayou Bend's collection of early Americana serves as the jumping-off point for exploring how children lived 250 years ago. During Summer History Camp, 21st-century kids become blacksmiths, mold candles, write with quill pens, wear 18th-century clothes, and play colonial games!

Designed for children entering or exiting 5th grade during the summer they attend, History Camp is a five-day program: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The week culminates in a special presentation for family and friends on Friday afternoon.

2015 Camp Application Form | Scholarship Application Form

Questions? Contact Joey Milillo at or 713.639.7759. 

Bayou Bend Summer History Camp receives generous funding from Houston Junior Woman’s Club.