Things To Do

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Bayou Bend is the Museum of Fine Arts house museum for American antique furniture, decorative art, and paintings. Houston philanthropist Ima Hogg (1882-1975) donated her former home to the museum, and it hosts one of the best showcases of American decorative arts in the world.

Bayou Bend is located in a 14-acre garden oasis near the center of Houston as a part of Houston’s historic River Oaks neighborhood. Designed by Houston architects John F. Staub and Birdsall P. Briscoe in 1927, the mansion was designed to fit within the heavily-wooded location next to Buffalo Bayou. Ima Hogg insisted as many trees as possible be saved and wanted a series of gardens that she could use for living and entertaining.

Staub also designed Bayou Bend to be a suitable setting for Ima Hogg’s collection of decorative arts that she had been collecting since the early 1920s. She believed that “inherited money was a public trust” and she and her brothers were determined that the oil money they received from the land be used for the good of Texas.

Hogg and her brothers collected a wide variety of art from modern masterpieces, western art, and Native American Art. She researched and collected American decorative arts at a time when most collectors were focused more on European antiques.

Eventually, her collection became so immense she decided to deed Bayou Bend to the Museum of Fine Arts. Staub designed structural changes to the mansion to be more suitable for museum use.

Visitors today can stroll through the gardens and see one of the best collections of American furniture, silver, textiles, ceramics and paints in the world. The collection is on display in 28 room settings and galleries.

Visitor Tips

Be sure to start the visit at the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center. Visitors can become more familiar with Bayou Bend through introductory videos and learn more about the Hogg Family and their vast contributions to arts and civics in both Houston and throughout Texas. A museum gift shop is also located in this building.

Both guided and self-guided tours are available at Bayou Bend. Reservations are recommended for the very informative, docent-led tours.

Visitors need their cell phones to do the self-guided tour. Bags, purses, and coats are not permitted on the tour, and there are lockers to store them.

Be careful not to confuse Bayou Bend from the main Museum of Fine Arts Houston complex located in the Museum District.

Photographs of the gardens can only be for personal and not resale use.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
6003 Memorial Drive
Houston, Texas 77007
(713) 639-7750

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