Twice a year, Bayou Bend presents renowned scholars who speak about interesting and important aspects of American decorative and fine arts.

The national identity of the United States is a product of collaboration. Political leaders shape laws and institutions; innovators invigorate the economy; artists and chroniclers interpret the tale. Discover connections between the Revolutionary Generation—Alexander Hamilton, General Lafayette, George Washington, and others—and how their stories have been recorded in U.S. material culture.

Participate in any portion of the program! The day includes:

  • Livestream Lecture 10 a.m. at the Kilroy Visitor Center Watch a short lecture streamed live from the MFAH: Kaylin Weber, the Jeanie Kilroy Wilson Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, discusses the exhibition Radicals and Revolutionaries: America’s Founding Fathers. 
  • Authors’ Talk & Book Signing 10:45 a.m. at the Kilroy Visitor Center Authors Donna Passmore and Jan Smulcer discuss Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route and the Franco-American Alliance, a book on the soldiers, spies, leaders, civilians, and diplomats who were critical to the alliance between France and American revolutionaries.
  • “Music for a New Nation” 11:30 a.m. at the Bayou Bend house Revels Houston, a community-based performing-arts organization, presents popular songs from the American Revolution and the dawn of the United States.
  • Seminar 1:30 & 3 p.m. at the Kilroy Visitor Center “George Washington Slept Here: Rediscovering the Beds and Bedchambers of Mount Vernon” From grand British beds of early Mount Vernon to a folding field bedstead carried during the Revolutionary War, the bed marks the evolution of the Washingtons from British subjects to leaders of a new nation. Speaker: Amanda Isaac, associate curator at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Only a limited number of passes available.
  • Self-Guided Tours All day at the Bayou Bend house Docents are stationed throughout the historic mansion to answer questions.

This program is free with Bayou Bend admission! Drop in for the 10 a.m. lecture and for self-guided tours. Reservations are strongly recommended for the 1:30 p.m. & 3 p.m. seminars: RSVP to or 713.639.7750. 

This series is generously endowed by Carol and Les Ballard.