Welcome to Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts. Rienzi is situated on four acres of wooded gardens, about three miles from downtown Houston in the historic River Oaks neighborhood. Formerly the home of philanthropists Carroll Sterling Masterson and Harris Masterson III, Rienzi was designed by prominent Houston architect John Staub in 1952. Opened to the public in 1999, Rienzi houses a substantial collection of European decorative arts, including paintings, furnishings, porcelain, and extensive holdings of miniatures. Visitors are invited to enjoy a variety of tours, family programs, lectures, concerts, and special events.
Tours and Admissions
Due to the unique and intimate nature of Rienzi, visits to the collection are by docent-led tour only. Rienzi offers tours Wednesday–Saturday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. On Sunday, tours begin at 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m. Time slots fill up quickly, so reserve your spot in advance! Call 713.639.7800 to schedule your tour. Visitors without reservations will be accommodated as space permits.
Rienzi will be closed October 24, 25, and 26, 2014.
Admission is $8 for adults; $4 for MFAH members; $5 for senior adults, students with ID, and youth (13–18). Children 12 and younger are admitted free.
Rienzi's gardens are open for self-guided visits Monday–Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission to the gardens is free.
With advance notice, tours of Rienzi are available in French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Daytime Group Tours
Group tours of Rienzi are intimate experiences in which visitors enjoy the hospitality of a Houston home and the glamour of 18th- and 19th-century Europe. Group tours are available Wednesday–Saturday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. for groups of 10 or more. Discount pricing applies.
“After Hours” Private Group Tours
Experience Rienzi and its art collection in the glow of twilight without the distractions of the daily crowd. Private, docent-led “After Hours” group tours are available Wednesday–Friday.
For pricing and other information, e-mail Rienzi@mfah.org or call 713.639.7800.
Rienzi is located in River Oaks, on Kirby Drive between Lazy Lane and Shadder Way. There is a small sign on the lawn in front of the gates. Limited free parking is available.
Tips for Visiting
- Drop-in visits are welcome, but reservations are recommended. The touring schedule may fill up during group tours or peak visiting months. Calling ahead helps ensure your preferred tour time will be available.
- Rienzi asks that all personal items be stored in lockers during your tour. Please arrive 10 minutes early so that you can store your belongings and start the tour on time.
- If anyone in your group needs special accommodations, please notify the tour coordinator when making your reservation. A wheelchair is available for use upon request.
- Guests are welcome to visit Rienzi's gardens before and after the tour.
- Non-professional photography and videotaping are allowed outdoors only. Professional photography is not permitted. Smoking is prohibited on all museum grounds.
- Rienzi is closed during the month of August.
European Decorative Arts and Paintings
Katherine S. Howe, Edgar Peters Bowron,
Christine Gervais, Cindi Strauss, Stephen Fox,
Suzanne Turner, Marjorie E. Wieseman
This beautiful publication is the first to document Rienzi, its collection, and the collectors. Featuring contributions from seven experts in their fields, the book presents an illustrated biography of the Mastersons and their roles in Houston and as collectors, followed by essays on Rienzi's architectural history and gardens. Entries about collection highlights will interest general readers, as well as scholars and collectors. Order Online
Antiquity Revived: Neoclassical Art in the Eighteenth Century
Guillaume Faroult, Christophe Leribault, Guilhem Scherf, et al.
Learn more about the exhibition Antiquity Revived: Neoclassical Art in the Eighteenth Century, organized by the MFAH in association with the Musée du Louvre, Paris. Featuring 150 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and works of decorative art—including objects from Rienzi's collection—Antiquity Revived explores, from various points of view, how the renewal of classical taste found its roots in ancient sources. This exhibition catalogue is available only through The MFAH Shop. Order Online