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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to Celebrate Museum Day with Free Admission, May 18

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, announced today that it will offer free admission as part of the Association of Art Museum Directors’ (AAMD) Art Museum Day, coinciding with International Museum Day on Friday, May 18, 2012. In 2011, the MFAH—along with more than 100 other AAMD member museums across North America—participated in International Museum Day. Free admission to the MFAH on May 18 includes films, programs and exhibitions at the main MFAH campus, as well as entry to the two MFAH house museums, Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens and Rienzi.

In recognition of the important role museums play in their communities, the MFAH will encourage visitors to respond to the prompt, “I visit my art museum because … .” Response sheets will be available at each admissions desk and in the Kinder Foundation Education Center, located in the Caroline Wiess Law Building of the main campus. For the day, completed forms will be posted in the lobby of the MFAH Law Building as a collective display of comments. The public can also share their responses via Twitter with the hashtag #ArtMuseumDay and on the MFAH Facebook page. At Bayou Bend and Rienzi, the forms will also be available, and completed forms will be displayed for the day.

“We are delighted to offer another free day for visitors to come in and take advantage of all the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has to offer, in addition to our regular free Thursdays,” said Gary Tinterow, director of the MFAH. “I hope Houstonians will take this opportunity to visit the MFAH and the museum’s remarkable collection, experience some of the wonderful exhibitions currently on view and attend a lecture or gallery talk.”

“Art museums create opportunities for the public to engage directly with works of art in new and meaningful ways—from transformative educational initiatives to innovative public partnerships.” said Chris Anagnos, Executive Director of AAMD. “AAMD believes that art should be accessible and relevant to all, and we are so pleased that the MFAH is joining with us and the global community of museums to celebrate the role museums play in their communities and to encourage visitors to share their museum experiences.”

Participation in the international event highlights the value of the visual arts in society, and provides new opportunities for audiences to participate in wide-ranging programs and record their encounters with works of art.

AAMD member museums—located across the United States, Canada, and Mexico—include regional museums as well as large international institutions. International Museum Day is organized annually around the world by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). AAMD’s Art Museum Day is an opportunity to focus attention on the role of art museums in North America, as part of ICOM’s global celebration of museums.

A comprehensive list of participating AAMD member art museums will be available in the newsroom of the AAMD website ( Note that while AAMD’s Art Museum Day and ICOM’s International Museum Day is formally held each year on May 18th, some institutions shift their celebrations to adjacent dates.

Exhibitions Now on View at the MFAH:

  • Eye on Third Ward: Jack Yates High School Photography
  • Shifting Paradigms in Contemporary Ceramics: The Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio Collection
  • Elegance and Refinement: The Still-Life Paintings of Willem van Aelst
  • Utopia/Dystopia: Construction and Destruction in Photography and Collage Egyptomania Drawings by Rembrandt, His Students, and Circle from the Maida and George Abrams Collection
  • Modern and Contemporary Masterworks from Malba – Fundación Costantini

Public Programs for Friday, May 18:

  • Stop by the Kinder Foundation Education Center (KFEC) in the lower level of the Law Building to pick up Tours to Go. Connected by a theme, the itineraries in this series are the perfect date-night tour.
  • 12–12:45 p.m.: Gallery Talk “Elegance and Refinement: The Still-Life Paintings of Willem van Aelst”: Discover the exquisite work and technical brilliance of 17th-century Dutch master Willem van Aelst on this 45-minute gallery talk in the exhibition Elegance and Refinement: The Still-Life Paintings of Willem van Aelst.
  • 1:30–2:30 p.m.: Lecture “Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane”: Speaker: historian Andrew Graham-Dixon, author of Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane. Seating is limited. A reception and book signing follow the lecture.
  • 7–9:10 p.m. UCLA Festival of Preservation: Rainbow Over Texas: Like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers was a singing cowboy who cranked out westerns for the Saturday matinee crowd. Rainbow Over Texas was Rogers’s 60th film since 1935. Followed by Heart of the Rio Grande (directed by William Morgan, USA, 1942, 68 min.), with Gene Autry.

Fine Art Food Trucks

Friday, May 18: Ladybird, using fresh produce and ingredients to make upscale comfort food from scratch. Accepts cash and credit card payments.

Schedule is subject to change, so please check back frequently for updates. Food trucks may not be available in inclement weather. For all the latest news, follow the MFAH on Twitter.

MFAH Collections

Founded in 1900, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, is among the ten largest art museums in the United States. Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH comprises two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, library, theater and two art schools, with two house museums, for American and European decorative arts, nearby. The encyclopedic collection of the MFAH numbers some 64,000 works and embraces the art of antiquity to the present.

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