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 jmilillo@mfah.org 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.


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.


Lectures

 Talk + Tour

This biannual series offers lectures in a themed format. Each lecture takes place at the Kilroy Visitor Center and is paired with a house-tour experience. Visit mfah.org/calendar for more information.

Summer 2014: "Historians on the Collection"
July 16, 30 | August 13, 27 | 1 p.m.
Four local speakers use objects from the Bayou Bend Collection as a window into the thought processes and perspectives of historians.

♦ ​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. Tickets are free.


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:


Gardens Seminar

Historical Plants for Today's Gardens

Saturday, October 25, 2014
Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Join Bayou Bend Gardens Curator Bart Brechter, along with horticulturalists and authors Chris Wiesinger (President and Owner, The Southern Bulb Company) and Dr. William Welch (Texas A&M University) for a presentation and discussion on best practices for developing garden spaces in Southeast Texas using plants that serve as tangible symbols of the successes of previous generations of American gardeners. Lunch and a special tour of Bayou Bend’s Gardens will follow. Price of admission includes a box lunch.
 

Visit the MFAH calendar to purchase tickets.


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.


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.


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


Yuletide


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.


Concerts

 

Bayou Bend partners with innovative music companies such as Ars Lyrica and the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra to bring you beautiful outdoor concerts throughout the year. Visit mfah.org/calendar for details and tickets.

 

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.


Spring Break Week


Bayou Bend presents a week of special programming for families during Spring Break. Enjoy a wide range of child-friendly activities in the gardens, the mansion, and the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor Center.


Spring Break Week at Bayou Bend is generously underwritten by William J. Hill.


Summer History Camp

A Kid's Life in Colonial America
Summer 2014:
June 16–20 | June 23–27
July 7–11 | July 14–18

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. 

Registration is closed for 2014. Registration for summer 2015 begins in February. Questions? Contact Joey Milillo, Bayou Bend programs manager, at jmilillo@mfah.org or 713.639.7759. 

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


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: