A Day at the McNay, Museum that is!

 A Day At The McNay

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A visit to the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio is anything but  "boring"! In next week's "Everyday Journeys" with Harry and Linda Kaye Perez, discover what makes a day at the McNay exciting and enjoyable, starting with the beautiful former home of Jessie Marion Koogler McNay, which has established as the first museum of modern art in Texas.      


Published in the LaVernia News on May 22, 2014

Spend a Day at the McNay

This Story online at     

La Vernia News.com 

A treasure nestled in the heart of San Antonio


        When you hear the words “art museum,” do you immediately think, “boring”? Then you haven’t been to the McNay Art Museum. Throughout 2014, the McNay will be celebrating 60 years of collecting, preserving, and exhibiting works of art, and educating the public toward a greater understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts.

In The Beginning

Typical Gallery Room

        Jessie Marion Koogler, described as a shy girl from an affluent family, created her first work of art at age nine, a painting entitled Fisherman. Her parents recognized her talent and she attended some of the finest art schools in the United States and went on to teach art. In 1918 at age 34, she married the love of her life, Don McNay, ten years her junior. Together they spent time in San Antonio before he reported for duty in Laredo for military training. Sadly, Don died ten months later during the 1918 influenza epidemic. When Marion’s father died in 1921, she inherited a substantial fortune from his oil holdings. She returned to San Antonio in 1926, hoping to recapture some of the happiness she felt on her first visit with Don. Although Marion married and divorced four more times, she always went back to the McNay name in memory of her first love. She never had children.

The McNay is home to works by Cezanne, Monet, and Picasso, along with   Renaissance and medieval works, as well as Southwestern art and more.    

                                                                                                                                       Building a Dream

Everyday Journeys

   Harry and Linda Kaye Perez

         In 1927, construction began on her 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival home, named Sunset Hill, located at what is now the corner of Austin Highway and North New Braunfels Avenue. This would eventually become the core of the McNay Art Museum. She continued to teach and collect art and upon her death in 1950, she provided an endowment to establish the first museum of modern art in Texas, along with over 700 works of art, her home and the surrounding 23 acres. Four short years later, the McNay opened its doors to the public. Between 1970 and 1994 there were seven additions to the original house allowing the museum to grow to the spectacular facility it is today.

Step Inside 

        The museum focuses primarily on 19th and 20th century European and American art, but also displays Medieval, Renaissance, art after 1945, and Southwest art of New Mexico. Walking from room to room, not only can you enjoy the art from some of the greats: Cézanne, Monet, Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse, O’Keefe and Rivera, but you can also get a glimpse of the life of Marion McNay. Docents are available to answer questions about both the art pieces and the particular room you might be in and how it was used by Ms. McNay as part of her home. Be sure to notice the elaborate stenciling on the ceiling and some of the doorways; these were done by Marion’s own hand. The courtyard in the center of the museum is a restful spot to just sit and soak up its beauty.

McNay-Front Exterior

Marion McNay bequeathed her 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival home on North New Braunfels Avenue in San Antonio, along with her extensive art collection and 23 acres, to establish the first museum of modern art in Texas.

Spectacular Scenery 

        As magnificent as the art collection is, it can only be rivaled by the building and the surrounding grounds. The beautifully landscaped gardens, fountains, expansive lawns and a Japanese-inspired garden and fishpond provide an oasis in the heart of San Antonio. This is a favorite spot for wedding or family photos. Don’t miss the sculptures throughout the grounds.

Sample of Southwest Art

Something for Everyone 

       The McNay has made it so easy to visit and enjoy the museum. Admission to the museum is free on Thursdays from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. thanks to the sponsorship of HEB and also on the first Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. sponsored by AT&T. Check the McNay calendar for other programs including:

Free Teen Night - Art After Dark for high school students, including art, music and food.

First and third Sunday of every month at 3:00 p.m. free public tours.

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Morning at the McNay: Art Strolls Family Program, where strollers and baby carriers are welcomed.

 Second Thursday of every month from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., free music on museum grounds by local bands or DJ, food trucks and libations. Bring a blanket or lawn chair.

 First Saturday of every month, bring your kids and yoga mats for Yogiños, an interdisciplinary yoga curriculum that weaves together yoga with original art, music, games, stories, and other sensory-integrated activities. This is also a free program thanks to the F. B. Doane Foundation.

 After visiting the McNay, you will understand why this place is one of the great attractions of San Antonio.



Find your way

The McNay Art Museum is located at 6000 North New Braunfels Ave. in San Antonio.

For Information call: 

210-824-5368 or visit





   © Harry Perez 2012