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MFA/H 100th Anniversary

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The Museum of Fine Arts Houston turns 100 on April 12, 2024

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MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON.The Museum of Fine Arts, in the Montrose area of Houston, is the oldest art museum in Texas. It has its roots in the Public School Art League, formed in 1900 by a group of five women led by Emma Richardson Cherry, who proposed "the encouragement of art and culture in the public school system" through the installation of fine-art reproductions in classrooms. League members also offered art classes, lectures on art appreciation, and exhibitions in the Scanlan Building downtown. In 1913 the organization's name was changed to Houston Art League to reflect its broader focus. During this period the league began acquiring art objects and determined to establish a public museum. A plot of land at South Main and Montrose was donated by the trustees of the Hermann estate with financial assistance from Joseph S. Cullinan, and the site was dedicated on April 12, 1917. World War I quelled fund-raising efforts until the Armistice, at which time league president Florence Fall revived the effort to establish a museum. With support from William C. Hogg, the central unit of the neoclassical museum building, designed by Houston architect William Ward Watkin, opened to the public on April 12, 1924. The Houston Art League subsequently amended its state charter and formally changed its name to Museum of Fine Arts of Houston in 1929. The museum's name was shortened to Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, by its trustees in the early 1960s.



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