- May 14, 2015

DIY Learning: Visit the Elisabet Ney Museum


Educational opportunities abound in Austin! Along with our friends at Alt Ed Austin, we’ve put together a new series that highlights some of the amazing DIY educational adventures to be found for families here. Join us this week as we Visit, Learn, and Do a fun activity at the Elisabet Ney Museum.

elisabet ney museum

Visit: The Elisabet Ney Museum

The Elisabet Ney Museum is a historic building and the home and former studio of the sculptor, Elisabet Ney. The studio was built in 1892, and named Formosa, which translates to “beautiful” in Portuguese. Designed by Ney, the studio is built of native limestone, and is the earliest art studio built in Texas. The museum currently contains many of Ney’s sculptures in bronze, marble, and plaster, as well as her furniture, tools, and personal effects. The collection includes 50 of the 100 statues, busts, and medallions created by Ney and includes sculptures of Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Gen. Albert Sydney Johnston, and Ney’s masterpiece, the allegorical figure of Lady Macbeth. In early Austin, Ney’s studio was a gathering place for influential Texans and the home of stimulating discussions on politics, art, and philosophy. A visit to the Elisabet Ney Museum gives visitors a chance to learn more about this talented and influential artist and to see the faces of some of Texas history’s greatest heroes reflected in her work.

The museum is located at 304 East 44th Street and is open Wednesday – Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Admission: Free.
Parking:  Free street parking is available in the area.

Learn: The Work of Elisabet Ney and Ney Day

Elisabet Ney is best known for her beautiful sculptures of historical figures. The daughter of a stonecutter, Ney longed to be a sculptor despite her parents’ objections. She applied to the Munich Academy of Art in 1852, but was rejected because she was a woman. However, Ney persevered in her quest for admission and was accepted on a trial basis, becoming the first woman to study sculpture at the Academy. Ney went on to have an incredible life and career meeting and working with some of history’s most influential thinkers and leaders, as well as shaping the course of the cultural development of Austin. You can read a biography of Elisabet Ney here.

While exploring the museum and reading Ney’s biography online, let’s think about the answers to these questions:

  • Where was Elisabet Ney born?
  • What does a sculptor do?
  • What materials can a sculpture be made from?
  • Who are some of the famous Texans that Elisabet Ney sculpted statues of?

Do: Let’s Make a Sculpture!

Have fun making a sculpture of your own! Print a Let’s Make a Sculpture page here.


Additional Educational Resources:

  • The City of Austin’s In the Parks blog has a wonderful post about the museum and Elisabet Ney’s life.
  • A list of biographical books about Elisabet Ney and her husband, Edmund Montgomery, can be found here.

Have fun exploring the Elisabet Ney Museum and learning more about the work of this influential Austinite!

This post was sponsored by Alt Ed Austin:

AltEd_Logo_Color_TransparentSince 2011, Teri Sperry of Alt Ed Austin has been helping families explore the many diverse schooling options that Austin has to offer. Because no one school or approach is right for every kid, Teri offers affordable private consultations and group workshops to guide you through the process of choosing a school where your unique child will truly thrive. Check out Alt Ed Austin’s free online resources and sign up for the monthly newsletter at AltEdAustin.com.