I was so excited to have the opportunity to visit the Renzi on my trip to Houston. The Renzi is a part of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston collection and is a house museum in the River Oaks neighborhood. The home was donated by Houston philanthropists Carroll and Harris Masterson and full of amazing 17th-19th art, furniture and dishes. It is an absolutely incredible home with incredible grounds as well. The home is kept very much as it was when the Masterson’s lived there, incorporating many items belonging to the Mastersons, with some items brought in that fit with the time periods. The entire house is just gorgeous and interesting, but some of my favorite parts were the library and the ballroom – yeah, you read that right…a ballroom. Complete with family crest inlaid into the floor. No big deal! The Mastersons also spent some time producing Broadway plays, because when you have a lot of money and time why not right?!
Visiting the Renzi is different than your typical museum. Due to the nature of the collection, it is done by reservation and docent-led tours only. There are six tours available Wednesday through Saturday, and four slots on Sundays. The gardens, however, are open for self-guided tours every day, and those are free. Renzi also provides a military discount and kids 12 and under are free! This puts it at a very affordable option in the Houston area.
But for locals, would really recommend looking for one of Renzi’s special events. There are several options throughout the year including Twilight Tours in May, Family Days, Opera and Symphony performances, sketching and art times and focused tours. After you check out the Renzi, make sure to look for the other house museum in Houston, Bayou Bend, which focuses on American Art.