The Elisabet Ney Museum at 304 E. 44th Street will be receiving much needed equipment and building improvement upgrades, in addition to a new pedestrian bridge crossing Waller Creek to the adjacent property and parking lot.
The Elisabet Ney Museum and grounds, called Formosa, is the artist studio and residence of a German immigrant of notable sculptures. She had international acclaim prior to moving to Texas with her husband. After ranching and raising a son, she moved to Austin in 1882 and was asked to create statues of Texas founding fathers for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. These sculptures are now on display in the Texas State Capitol and the United States Capitol. Unless otherwise indicated, the portraits and personal memorabilia in the Elisabet Ney Museum form the Elisabet Ney Collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin. The Museum is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program. Elisabet Ney designed and was on-site during the construction of her studio and residence, located in what is now Hyde Park. At this studio/residence, Ney hosted many political dignitaries and inspired the art community in Austin. Following her death in 1907, her friends preserved the studio and its contents as the Elisabet Ney Museum and established the Texas Fine Arts Association (TFAA) dedicated to her memory. The Elisabet Ney Museum is listed as a Texas State Archeological Landmark Site, an Austin Historic Landmark, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places based on its significance as the former American studio of Elisabet Ney. In 1941, after years of financial depression, the TFAA transferred the property, building and its contents to the City of Austin in return for building and grounds maintenance. The Parks and Recreation Department continues to maintain and preserve the property and operate the museum. In 1972 a study was conducted to develop a restoration plan. Phase 1 of the restoration was completed in 1981. Phase 2 of the restoration was completed in 1982. Numerous additional projects were completed during the next 25 years to preserve the building and its contents. In 2007, Volz & Associates were commissioned to develop the Formosa Elisabet Ney Museum Comprehensive Restoration Master Plan. This plan serves as a guide to the improvements being made in this major restoration project.
This phase of the restoration plan calls for a new museum archival quality HVAC system, weatherization to solve water penetration issues and preserve the building, and construction of a new accessible pedestrian/bicycle bridge. The project is currently in the design phase and is anticipated to be complete and re-opened in 2023.
· Fall 2021 - Design completed
· Winter 2021 – Bidding Phase
· Summer 2022 - Start of Construction
· Spring 2023 - Construction completed
Funding & Resources
Funding for this restoration project is provided through 2006 and 2012 GO Bond funds, Hotel Occupancy Tax Project Funds and a grant received by the National Trust.
Renovations at the Elizabet Ney Museum have been made possible in part by funding from the Heritage Tourism Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, community engagement must be performed over web-based platforms until further notice. Information on the new design and restoration elements will be presented to the community and stakeholders after receiving Historic Landmark Commission and Texas Historical Commission approvals.
Christina Bies, Project Coordinator, Parks and Recreation Department, 512-974-9490