Sure, you knew the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston housed gorgeous masterpieces, but did you know that they also make that art come to life for kids of all ages through storytelling, movies and detective adventures?
I had no idea there was so much to do… and I thought I was pretty in-the-know.
Plus, admission is FREE every Thursday and FREE for children ages 6 to 18 on Saturdays and Sundays, when they show their library card from any public library in Texas. So the air-conditioned fun an learning can even be FREE! (Cha-Ching!)
Break out your calendar and take notes…
Here is what they have planned:
Kinder Foundation Education Center Activities
The Kinder Foundation Education Center (KFEC) is an exciting place to enhance your museum visit! With art, poetry and storybooks, as well as a selection of MFAH publications, everyone can explore, interact and learn. The KFEC is open anytime the museum is open.
Check out an MFAH Family Pack. MFAH Family Packs are filled with hands-on activities, looking games and books. You may borrow these interactive gallery resources free of charge during your museum visit. Stop by the KFEC and choose from topics such as Animal Adventures, Five Paintings to See with Your Little One and Let’s Play!
Read a storybook together in the galleries. Every day at the MFAH, families can participate in the program A Book and A Look. Check out a storybook and take it into the galleries to read in front of a work of art, which you can also “read” together with the help of looking activities.
Create your own multimedia experience: Cell phones, videos and more. At the KFEC, find out more about works of art that interest you by experiencing the museum’s collection online: high-quality images, videos and information about MFAH artworks. Pick up What Should We Look at Next?, which features cell-phone stops designed especially for kids and families. Find a stop, call the number, and listen to learn and discover together.
Breakfasts, Lunches, Snacks and Food Trucks: MFAH Style
Bring the kids and enjoy a break in the museum’s Cafe Express, open from 8 a.m. until the museum closes. Have a picnic in Cullen Sculpture Garden, where you’ll find outdoor seating and a curated selection of Houston’s finest food trucks every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Free Kick-Off Event Summer Kick-Off Performance at the MFAH
Thursday, June 7 Say hello to summer! Join the celebration as the MFAH welcomes the season with a music performance by Mercury – The Orchestra Redefined (formerly Mercury Baroque). Family activities begin at 11 a.m., and the music starts at 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Tuesdays–Sundays Detective Days at Bayou Bend
June 1–August 31 Summer sleuths ages 6 and up can explore mysteries at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, the MFAH house museum for American decorative arts. Each detective receives an Investigator’s Kit and a bottle of water for keeping cool during the hunt. Adventures take place Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free for ages 12 and younger, and discounted for everyone else who accompanies the detective.
First Sundays Art Improv at the MFAH
June 3, July 1, August 5
On the first Sunday of the month, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., your family can choose a work of art anywhere in the museum and make “friends” with it: Sketch it, write about it and talk about it together. Then, visit the studio to create a work of art inspired by the new friend and your own imagination. Also available: Sketching in the Galleries and all the self-guided family activities at the KFEC.
Sunday Family Zone & Studio at the MFAH
June 10, 17, 24 , July 8, 15, 22, 29, August 12, 19, 26
On Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., look for signs in the main lobbies to tell you which gallery the Family Zone is located in that day. Spend some time with the friendly family educators for Sunday Storytime, Sketching in the Galleries, Gallery Investigations and Creation Station: Sit on a pillow and read; sketch a work of art; join an investigation of an artwork; and in the studio, create an art project inspired by original works of art on display in the Family Zone.
Wednesdays Storytime Tours at Rienzi
June 6, 12, 20, 27, July 11, 18,
Summertime is storytime at Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts.
Storytime Tours, from 10 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on Wednesdays, are a fun and interactive way to introduce children to the magic of art and literature. The beautiful estate sets the stage for stories related to themes in Rienzi’s art collection. Families are encouraged to bring a lunch and picnic in the Rienzi Gardens following Storytime tours. Admission is free, but space is limited, so reserve your spot by calling 713.639.7800.
Thursdays MFAH Summer Art Detectives
Every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the MFAH Art Detectives program gives families the chance to investigate new works of art through interactive experiences. Depending on which Thursday you visit, your family can create art in the studio or in the gallery! Admission is free.
Gallery Investigations + Studio
June 7, 21, July 5, 19, August 2
Visit the galleries to investigate a work of art by looking carefully, uncovering details and thinking about the cool stuff you discover. Talk with an MFAH educator and explore hands-on materials to further your investigation. Each time you complete a case, you’ll earn a prize and a chance to win an MFAH Family-level membership. In the art-making studio, create a project inspired by the work of art being investigated that day.
Gallery Investigations + Sketching
June 14, 28, July 12, 26, August 9
Sharpen your observation skills and have fun at the same time! Visit the Gallery Cart to get involved with looking games and hands-on art activities, and talk about what you see with a friendly MFAH educator. At each program, families investigate art from a different continent. Kick your experience up a notch by sketching the art you see. All materials are provided.
Thursdays “Reel Kids” Summer Matinees at the MFAH
At 2 p.m. every Thursday, enjoy an animated, family-friendly movie on the big screen. Admission is free. Visit www.mfah.org/reelkids for film descriptions and details.
June 7 • Whisper of the Heart
June 14 • Summer Wars
June 21 • Ponyo
June 28 • Summer Wars
July 5 • The Cat Returns
July 12 • Howl’s Moving Castle
July 19 • My Neighbor Totoro
July 26 • Looney Tunes
August 2 • The Adventures of Prince Achmed
First Thursdays First Thursday Sketching at the MFAH
June 7, July 5 On the first Thursday of the month, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., sketch works of art in the museum
August 2 galleries during this free, informal program. An MFAH teaching artist is on hand with paper, pencils and clipboards to get you started.
First Thursday Sketching is open to adults, kids, families, couples—everyone’s invited! Admission is free.
Wednesday 4th of July at the MFAH & Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
July 4 Celebrate Independence Day with the MFAH!
• Main Campus The museum, Cullen Sculpture Garden and The MFAH Shop are open.
• Bayou Bend The annual 4th of July patriotic family event features an extravaganza of Americana, with free admission from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday Art + Studio Family Workshop at the MFAH
July 14 “Aiming for Beauty: Japanese Folding Screens”
This engaging, in-depth program in the galleries offers a personalized experience for your family. First, MFAH educators lead you on an interactive exploration of the exhibition Unrivalled Splendor: The Kimiko and John Powers Collection of Japanese Art, diving into the stories and traditions of the art on display. In the studio, create your own folding screens using a variety of beautiful, handmade papers.
• 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (families with children ages 4–6)
• 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (families with children ages 7–10)
The cost is $10 per person for MFAH members and $15 per person for nonmembers. Reservations must be made in advance: www.mfah.org/families or 713.639.7586.
Sundays Family Art Workshops at Rienzi
July 15, 22 Rienzi, the MFAH house museum for European decorative arts, invites families to come together to create art, write stories and poems, and watch performances on the last two Sundays in July, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but space is limited, so secure your spot by calling 713.639.7800.
Fantasies and Fairytales
Sunday, July 15
Join us for an engaging afternoon of children’s literature, featuring fantasies and fairytales. Younger students will explore the many fairytales written from the point of view of different cultures and have the opportunity create and dramatize their own stories. Older students will take part in a creative writing workshop developing their own unique fantasy narrative. This workshop is lead by instructions from Rice University’s Literacy and Culture Project.
Tales of the Arabian Nights: A Marionette Performance and Workshop
Sunday, July 22
Enjoy an afternoon of entertainment as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine outsmart Jafar to keep the magic lamp safe from evil hands. This glittering story from The Tales of the Arabian Nights will dazzle all ages as string puppets perform on an elaborate marionette stage. After the performance, master puppeteer Jean Kuecher will reveal the back stage secrets and design of puppetry. The afternoon continues with a puppet making workshop where children are encouraged to create and show off their own puppets. This event is produced by the Texas Marionette Playhouse.
Free Finale Event Summer Finale Performance at the MFAH
Thursday, August 9
Top off the summer season with a fun, family-friendly performance in the galleries. Activities begin at 11 a.m., and the show starts at 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Make plans to beat the heat and explore all there is to offer… You won’t hear “Mom, I’m BORED!!” while you are there and you’ll also keep your kids brains working during the summer.