Resources for People with and without Disabilities
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is a place for all people. The Museum is committed to making the art collections, buildings, programs, and services accessible to all guests across the entire human demographic spectrum.
The MFAH is an integrated visual-arts experience, counted among North America’s largest museums, with an encyclopedic permanent collection spanning more than 6,000 years of history, nearly 70,000 works of art, and seven continents. The main campus encompasses 14 acres in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, with buildings by world-renowned architects. As one of the largest museums in the United States, the MFAH encompasses several gallery buildings and two house museums: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, and Rienzi. So please be prepared to stand or walk for periods of time.
You may enter the Museum through the Beck Building at 5601 Main Street, or the Kinder Building at 5500 Main Street.
Take a look at the campus map before your visit to determine which areas of the Museum you might be interested in exploring.
Key Things to Know about the MFAH Main Campus
Three underground tunnels connect the main campus. For guests who wish to avoid these areas or may have light or sensory sensitivities, please see below for alternate routes to navigate the Museum.
- The Wilson Tunnel connects the Beck Building and the Law Building. This tunnel includes a work of art, The Light Inside by James Turrell, which features a darkened passageway illuminated by colored neon light that slowly shifts from blue to crimson to magenta and creates an optical illusion of expansive space.
- The Kinder Building is connected to the Glassell School of Art and the Glassell parking garage by a tunnel that features a site-specific light installation: Ólafur Elíasson’s Sometimes an underground movement is an illuminated bridge. Monochromatic yellow light floods the space—draining local color—except where two violet-tinted skylights interrupt to allow the return of natural color. If you wish to avoid the Elíasson Tunnel, exit the Kinder Building or Glassell School of Art at street level and pass through the Cullen Sculpture Garden.
- The Cherie and Jim Flores Tunnel connects the Kinder Building and the Law Building. This tunnel features Chromosaturation MFAH, a site-specific light installation by Carlos Cruz-Diez that bathes visitors in red, green, and blue light. Depending on the direction of travel, the Flores Tunnel has a slight upward or downward slope. If you wish to avoid the Flores Tunnel, you can exit the Museum at street level and cross Main Street and Binz Street to reach the next building.
Welcoming Guests Who Have Limited Mobility | Accessible Entrances
Guests with limited mobility are encouraged to use the porte cochere at the Beck Building (5601 Main Street) or the valet entrance at the Kinder Building (5500 Main Street). Most public areas of the Museum, including the galleries, parking garages, theaters, restaurants, shops, and outdoor spaces, are wheelchair accessible.
The MFAH has wheelchairs that you may check out free of charge with a valid photo ID. The wheelchairs are available at any Museum entrance on a first-come, first-served basis. When you arrive, ask for a wheelchair, and the security staff can assist you. The MFAH also welcomes your personal walkers and wheelchairs. Motorized wheelchairs are permitted.
The Museum is accessible to visitors with limited mobility via escalators, elevators, and ramps. Wheelchair and family-accessible restrooms and elevators are located throughout the main campus.
- Three parking garages are available: an aboveground garage at 1144 Binz Street and underground garages at 5101 Montrose Boulevard and 5500 Main Street.
- Learn more about parking and transportation options.
Welcoming Guests Who Have Low Vision or Are Blind
On the second Saturday of the month, the Museum offers “Art Beyond Sight,” a gallery program for guests who are blind or have low vision. Trained gallery educators use verbal descriptions and hands-on materials to engage participants with the MFAH art collections and exhibitions. Visit the calendar for listings and times. Admission is free, but space is limited, so be sure to preregister. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up and for more information.
Welcoming Guests Who Are Hard of Hearing or Deaf
Assistive-listening devices are available during lectures, films, and other programs. To request an assistive-listening device, check with any staff member.
Welcoming Guests with Dementia and Alzheimer’s
On the second Monday of the month, the Museum offers “Looking Together,” a program designed for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia to discover and discuss works of art together with their family members or care partners. Visit the calendar for listings and times. Admission is free, but space is limited, so be sure to preregister. Contact email@example.com to sign up and for more information.
Looking Together is made possible through a partnership between the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Alzheimer’s Association Houston & Southeast Texas Chapter.
Welcoming Neurodiversity and Guests Who Are on the Autism Spectrum
Preparing for your Museum visit a few days in advance can help guests who are neurodiverse and those who accompany them to have the most enjoyable experience possible.
Quiet Times to Visit and Sensory-Friendly Materials
The Museum is quietest between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday. In general, attendance is lighter earlier in the day.
Some areas of the Museum can become crowded—especially on holidays and on Thursday, when ALL ACCESS tickets are discounted and admission to the MFAH Permanent Collections is free, courtesy of Shell USA, Inc.
The Museum can be loud and crowded during peak periods. If you are sensitive to noise, consider bringing noise-canceling headphones.
The Museum does not currently offer sensory processing kits, so you may want to bring items that help you and your guests feel supported and reduce overstimulation.
The light levels vary across the Museum. Some of the rooms are lit to preserve the exhibits. Other rooms have natural or bright lights. Moving lights are sometimes included in certain exhibitions or works of art.
The temperature varies as you move through the Museum. Some galleries and spaces are colder than others, so you may want to bring an extra layer of clothing to wear in these areas.
Support Persons, Caregivers, and Interpreters
Admission is free for one person accompanying a guest who has accessibility needs.
Service animals on leashes and under their owners’ control are welcome.
Family and Gender-Inclusive Restrooms
A family restroom is located in the Beck Building, on the lower level at 110. In the Kinder Building, family restrooms are located on the lower level at B216, the ground floor at 130, the second floor at 217, and the third floor at 317. Additionally, there is a gender-inclusive restroom on the lower level of the Law Building.
A lactation room is located in the Beck Building’s main entrance area.
Visiting Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Bayou Bend, the MFAH house museum for American decorative arts, is located in the historic River Oaks neighborhood just minutes from the Museum’s main campus and about two miles from Rienzi. The house is surrounded by 14 acres of gardens and provides a robust set of outdoor programs, events, and seasonal parties.
At Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, the Kilroy Visitor Center is wheelchair accessible. The public facilities within Bayou Bend’s house and gardens require assistance for those with limited mobility. Please note that large portions of the gardens are not wheelchair accessible and feature difficult terrain and stairs. In addition, because of the house’s historic nature, the second floor is inaccessible to guests who use wheelchairs and walkers. Please call ahead or visit the Kilroy Center for directions to the wheelchair-accessible entrance to the property, which is different from the main entrance, and for more details. Bayou Bend’s mobile tour, available on smartphones and tablets, offers audio and text descriptions of the house and significant objects in the Bayou Bend Collection. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 713.639.7750.
Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, is situated on four acres of wooded gardens in the historic River Oaks neighborhood, about five miles from the main MFAH campus and about two miles from Bayou Bend. Rienzi welcomes visitors for tours, family programs, lectures, music performances, and special events.
At Rienzi, the galleries are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are available at the front entrance for guests to check out free of charge. Motorized wheelchairs are permitted. An elevator is available for access to the lower level of the house. Upon request, chairs are provided for guests to use in the galleries. Please note that the gardens surrounding the house are not wheelchair accessible and feature difficult terrain and stairs. Rienzi offers self-guided tours with a smartphone audio guide. Large printed maps are available.
The Museum welcomes comments and suggestions about how to improve programs and services for visitors with disabilities. If you have questions about accessibility resources and programs, email email@example.com or call 713.639.7300.