Programs & Gallery Activities at Rienzi

Educational programs at Rienzi seek to inspire all audiences to engage with the collection through a variety of events and activities.

• Visit the calendar for information about upcoming events that take place at Rienzi.

Lectures & Discussions

Gallery Talks
Learn more about the works of art at Rienzi. Gallery Talks offer an insider’s look at particular objects and special themes. Speakers include curators, conservators, educators, and librarians. 

Cultural Conversation “The Order of Guadalupe and Political Culture in 19th-Century Mexico”
This talk focuses on Rienzi’s collection of arts and ephemera related to Mexico, the political culture in Mexico during the reign of Emperor Maximilian, and a fascinating archival document—the Order of Guadalupe.

Cultural Conversation “Life in Early Mexico”
Take a look at early post-colonial culture in Mexico through the letters of Fanny Calderón de la Barca, who was married to Spain’s first envoy to the new country following Mexico’s independence in 1821.

Cultural Conversation “Cuisine and Culture”
Inspired by Hispanic Heritage Month and Rienzi’s Mexican Room, this food-focused talk explores how cuisine relates to memory, identity, community, and culture.

Hats Off: Halston Hats from the Masterson Collection
“My Uncle Halston” | A talk about Halston’s rise as a fashion designer and his life as a family man. WATCH NOW
“Hats Off” to Halston | This discussion celebrates Halston as an iconic fashion designer and his work in the exhibition. WATCH NOW

History Book Club with Rienzi & Bayou Bend
Enjoy great conversations about good books. The two MFAH house museums team up for a discussion series about life in America and Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. The meetings are virtual, hosted alternately by Rienzi and Bayou Bend.

Activities for Families

Create a Foil Engraving
Artists of all ages can make a foil engraving, just like skillful silversmiths. This art activity is inspired by engraved silver in the Rienzi Collection.

Design Your Own Hat
Get creative with this special drawing activity—download the activity sheet and let the exhibition Hats Off inspire you to come up with your own designs.

Gather around for a reading of The Magic Hat Shop, from Rienzi’s library.

Coloring the Collection
Two 18th-century portraits inspire a suitably old-fashioned pursuit: coloring. Learn more about these works of art and download the coloring sheets.

Holiday Celebrations

Valentine’s Day
Love, letters, and literature combine for a virtual celebration featuring an art activity; a couples quiz; a book club selection; and a look at the history of Valentine’s Day.

Bastille Day
JULY 14, 2021 | In the History Book Club’s virtual discussion about Caesar of Paris, author Susan Jaques delves into how Napoleon’s fascination with ancient Rome influenced Paris and France.
JULY 14, 2020 | Rienzi salutes France’s national holiday with a look at French works of art in the Rienzi Collection; a Bastille Day quiz; a hands-on art activity; and a virtual collaboration with music ensemble Ars Lyrica.

Labor Day
Rienzi’s beautiful gardens provide the inspiration for a virtual visit to the renovated Folly Garden and a family activity to create your own wind catcher.

Veterans Day
Rienzi partnered with the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music for “In Flanders Fields,” combining music with the inspirational words of John McCrae written during World War I.

Boxing Day
The spirit of the English holiday comes to Houston the day after Christmas with harpist Emily Klein performing Christmas classics.

Exhibitions at Rienzi

Rienzi’s exhibitions, presented twice a year, explore elements of the house museum and 18th- and 19th-century European decorative arts in depth, actively engaging visitors in a dialogue with the Rienzi Collection.

► Learn more about Rienzi exhibitions past and present