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.

Jazz & Juleps

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
6–8 p.m.

Enjoy an exclusive evening outdoors at Houston's premier estate! Sip on mint julep cocktails, and hear live music from a trio led by jazz saxophonist David Caceres.

Tickets & Information

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:

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, 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.

Camp Application Form | Scholarship Application Form

Questions? Contact Joey Milillo, Bayou Bend programs manager, at or 713.639.7759. 

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

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.

Paintings of Bayou Bend’s Interiors

Now on View

Twenty-two paintings by English artist Michael John Hunt featuring Bayou Bend’s historic interiors are on view at the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center. Created over two years, the paintings are meticulously detailed architectural portraits, striking for their intuitive understanding of perspective and evocative use of texture and natural light. 

Twelve of the paintings are included in a limited-edition series of signed and numbered prints, available at The Shop at Bayou Bend. Also available is an elegantly designed, oversized book, limited to 1,000 copies, that illustrates the Bayou Bend paintings in rich colors.

More Information

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.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

On Mother's Day and Father's Day weekends, visit Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens for admission specials, refreshments, and gifts from The Shop at Bayou Bend.

Mother's Day and Father's Day Weekend at Bayou Bend are underwritten by Polly and Murry Bowden and Nancy and James Gordon.


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.

4th of July Celebration


On Independence Day, Bayou Bend is open for an afternoon of music, art activities, and historical demonstrations that celebrate American freedom. Admission is free.

The 4th of July Celebration at Bayou Bend is presented by:

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

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

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

More Information

Adult Learning

Bayou Bend presents a variety of workshops, special tours, and programs during the year for adult learners, focused on art, American history, and gardening.


Yuletide: Holiday Time at Bayou Bend, one of Houston's most beautiful annual traditions, features festive lights, decorations, and period room settings that bring historic American celebrations to life. Bayou Bend offers several evening programs during Yuletide—including events for families on Friday nights and for adults during the week—when guests may tour the exhibition, then enjoy holiday refreshments and entertainment outside. Yuletide typically begins shortly before Thanksgiving and closes around New Year's Day.

Yuletide at Bayou Bend is generously underwritten by The Crain Foundation.

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.


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.

Next Lecture Date: Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Title & Speaker to be announced