San Antonio Museum of Art

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San Antonio Museum of Art
The San Antonio Museum of Art
San Antonio Museum of Art is located in Texas
San Antonio Museum of Art
San Antonio Museum of Art
Location of SAMA in Texas
Established 1981
Location 200 West Jones Avenue
San Antonio, Texas
 United States
Coordinates 29°26′15″N 98°28′56″W / 29.437568°N 98.482089°W / 29.437568; -98.482089
Director Katherine Luber
Landing for the San Antonio Museum of Art on the San Antonio River Walk "Museum Reach" extension

The San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) is an art museum in Downtown San Antonio, Texas, USA. In the early 1970s, plans were initiated to purchase the historic Lone Star Brewery complex for conversion into the San Antonio Museum of Art and following a $7.2 million renovation, the San Antonio Museum of Art opened to the public in March 1981.[1] The museum was funded through grants from the Economic Development Administration of San Antonio, and numerous businessmen and foundations. The museum is situated on the northern section of the San Antonio Riverwalk. Café des Artistes is SAMA's restaurant which overlooks the river.

When the museum opened it specialized in art of the Americas including pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial and Latin American folk art. It also included eighteenth-, nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and European paintings, photography, sculpture and decorative arts. In 1985, the Museum received collections of Latin American Folk Art formed from former Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller and Robert K. Winn.[1]

A William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) painting on display entitled Admiration (1897).

In the 1990s the museum expanded considerably with donations from Gilbert M. Denman, Jr., the addition of the Stark-Willson Collection which established a comprehensive collection of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art and a collection of Chinese ceramics from trustees Walter F. and Lenora Brown. The Chinese collection which also included other Asian objects resulted in a 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) wing named after them, The Lenora and Walter F. Brown Asian Art Wing which opened in 2005 is now the largest museum for Asian art in the southern United States.[1]

In 1991, the 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) Cowden Gallery was opened for changing exhibitions and, in 1994, the 3,000-square-foot (280 m2) Beretta Hops House was renovated to provide a new area for schooling with three main classrooms. In 1998, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art, a 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) wing, opened to display Latin American art.[1]

Former streetcar service[edit]

From 1982 through 1985, the museum also operated a heritage streetcar service, using an original San Antonio streetcar built in 1913 and nicknamed "Old 300". The all-yellow car operated on a short section of Texas Transportation Company (TXTC) tracks behind the museum. TXTC was an electric railroad, operating trains powered from overhead trolley wires, and its tracks still reached the former Lone Star Brewery complex, in which the museum was installed in 1981. Streetcar service in San Antonio ended in 1933, but car 300 was preserved at that time by the San Antonio Museums Association. In 1981, volunteers restored car 300 to operating condition as a historical attraction at the then-new museum. Public operation began in October 1982.[2] The car ran twice a day on Tuesdays through Fridays and six times a day on weekends,[3] but budget cuts led to the service's being discontinued at the end of 1985.[2] The 1913 streetcar was placed in storage, being operated (without passengers) a few times a year to keep it in running condition,[2] until 1990, when it was leased to a company in Portland, Oregon, for use on the Willamette Shore Trolley line there. SAMA continued to be car 300's owner, leasing it to entities in Oregon, but in 2005 it sold the car to the Astoria Riverfront Trolley Association, who had been operating it on a popular heritage streetcar line in Astoria, Oregon, since 1999.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d San Antonio Museum of Art. "History of the San Antonio Museum of Art". Retrieved July 17, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Cumbie, Jim (Spring 1990). "San Antonio: The Beer Line [A brief history of the Texas Transportation Company, electrified freight railroad]". The New Electric Railway Journal. pp. 21–22. ISSN 1048-3845. 
  3. ^ Price, J. H. (December 1984). "Museum News". Modern Tramway, p. 421. UK: Ian Allan Publishing/Light Rail Transit Association.
  4. ^ "Trolley bought outright". The Daily Astorian (Astoria, Oregon). October 11, 2005. 

External links[edit]