The Elisabet Ney Museum
The Elisabet Ney Museum is housed in “Formosa,” the Victorian‐era home and studio of Elisabet Ney, a German sculptor who emigrated to America with her husband shortly after the Civil War. The evocative castle‐like limestone structure, designed largely by Ney herself, houses the world’s most extensive collection of her work and has been an Austin landmark for well over a century.
The goal of the museum’s K‐12 field trip curriculum is to illuminate the social studies through the arts: a mission that was at the core of Ney’s own beliefs. Students of all grade levels receive an entertaining and thought-provoking hour‐long tour of Ney’s recently‐restored native prairie landscape, her unique and original studio space, and spartan living quarters. Her portraits illustrate her story and provide a rich history lesson of their own. Using these sculptures, docents lead discussions that promote critical thinking and visual literacy. Ideally, visits to the museum are accompanied by preparatory visits by museum personnel. Alternately, if a field trip is not possible, museum personnel are available to perform curriculum‐enhancing programming in the classroom itself. All told, students gain a better comprehension of this seminal Austinite’s work and life, as well as topics like civil rights (especially women’s rights), philosophy, literature, the humanities, and Texas, U.S., and World History. The Arts, Sciences, and Mathematics are also covered in cross‐curricular applications.
Available in‐school programming includes the following curricular packets:
– Elisabet Ney’s Life: Global Citizen, Texan, and Austinite (4th Grade; State Standards 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3C, 3D, 4D)
– Texas Women in History (4th Grade; State Standards 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3C, 3D)
– Political Engagement for Beginners, based on Elisabet Ney’s history, art, and social commentary (4th Grade; State Standards 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3C, 3D, 4B)
– Elisabet Ney’s Work Ethic (4th grade; State Standards 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3C, 3D)
– Why Is Clay Important? And Other Pressing Art Questions (4th Grade; State Standards 1B, 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D)
– The Art Of Portraiture: Who Am I Anyways? (Various Grades and Standards)
– Be Your Own Hero (Various Grades and Standards)
– Wild Landscapes: Views of Nature (Various grades and Standards)
– The Sculpting Process (Various grades and Standards)
These are all made available to schools in the surrounding area, and are accompanied by a full‐size 3‐D printed puzzle replica of Elisabet Ney’s self‐portrait, which is designed to mimic the effort and creative process of 3‐D portraiture in the classroom.
Fees for the program: At this time, the program is offered free of charge
Booking the program: To book tours or classroom engagement, representatives should contact Lindsay Barras, the museum’s education curator, at 512‐974‐1625 or email@example.com
School expectations: Space in a classroom, a willing audience, and engaged teachers
Travel expectations: The Elisabet Ney Museum offers its services to any AISD school.
Site introduction: In 1892, European sculptor Elisabet Ney (1833‐1907) began construction of “Formosa,” her limestone neo‐classical studio in Austin, Texas. Here, Ney would sculpt famous Texans including iconic representations of Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, and more. She also assembled a remarkable collection of sculptures she created as a charismatic young Berliner years before, ranging from busts of notables like Arthur Schopenhauer, to extraordinary Neo‐Classical romantic works, produced under the patronage of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. As a charismatic and iconoclastic progressive, Ney enjoyed life at Formosa. Soon it became the site of lively intellectual discourse that stimulated the intelligentsia of early Austin, and inspired many of its young women to become politically and socially engaged in radical new ways. At her death, her many friends and protégés collaborated with the University of Texas, the beneficiary of much of the art, to preserve the collection and operate the site as a museum, which it has been ever since. A cornerstone of Austin’s Hyde Park National Register Historic District, the Elisabet Ney Museum is a listed National Register property and a Texas Historic Landmark.
Site location and contact information:
Elisabet Ney Museum
304 E. 44th Street
Austin Texas 78751
Site Manager: Oliver Franklin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Education Curator: Lindsay Barras, email@example.com