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
Location200 West Jones Avenue
San Antonio, Texas
 United States
Coordinates29°26′15″N 98°28′56″W / 29.437568°N 98.482089°W / 29.437568; -98.482089
DirectorKatherine Luber

The San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) is an art museum in Downtown San Antonio, Texas, USA. With a collection spanning 5,000 years of global culture, SAMA is the only encyclopedic museum of fine art in South Texas. The Museum is housed in the historic former Lone Star Brewery (1886) on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River Walk. Following a $7.2 million renovation, it opened to the public in March 1981.[1]


The museum is situated on the northern section of the Riverwalk. With the opening of the Gloria Galt River Landing in 2009, it now anchors the "Museum Reach" expansion of the celebrated Riverwalk.

Landing for the San Antonio Museum of Art on the San Antonio River Walk "Museum Reach" extension

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, it received collections of Latin American Folk Art formed by former Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller and Robert K. Winn.[1]

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]


The museum's collection of more than 30,000 objects representing 5,000 years of history and culture from every region of the world includes important works from Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, Asian art, Latin American art, and Contemporary art.

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

Art of the Ancient Mediterranean World

The museum houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of ancient Egyptian, Near Eastern, Greek and Roman art in the southern United States. The Egyptian collection hold objects from the Pre-dynastic through the late Roman and Byzantine periods. It also houses an important and rare collection of Greek and Roman sculpture that encompasses portraits, funerary sculpture, and mythological subjects.

Asian Art

The Asian art collection is housed in the Lenora and Walter F. Brown Asian Art Wing, a 15,000 square foot suite of galleries that opened in 2005. Over the past 70 years, the Museum’s Asian art collections have grown to become one of the most impressive in the United States, including more than 1,500 works from China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, and Vietnam.

Latin American

A Calima culture necklace from 200 AD and Zenú earrings from 800 AD. On display in Latin American Art

The museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of Latin American art in the United States. The collection is housed in the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art, which opened to the public in 1998. The Center offers an overview of artwork from Mexico, Central and South America, and many counties of the Caribbean, and one of the world’s most important repositories of Latin American folk art with a collection numbering over 7,000 objects.


A significant portion of the museum’s Contemporary collection is devoted to post-World War II American painting and sculpture, including an emphasis on modernist abstraction. In addition, it has always been committed to the collection of Contemporary Texas Art, and it features paintings and sculpture produced by Texas artists form the last 1960s to present day. The collection includes two sculptures by San Antonio-born Bonnie MacLeary.[2]

Hours and admission[edit]

Admission Pricing

Members: Free Adult: $20 Seniors (65+): $17 Students and Military (with ID): $12 Children 12 and under: FREE

General admission is free to the public Tuesdays from 4–9 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.[3]

Museum Hours

Tuesday and Friday: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday: CLOSED

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 it. 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 it 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.

Public operation began in October 1982.[4] The car ran twice a day Tuesday through Friday and six times a day on weekends,[5] but budget cuts led to the service's being discontinued at the end of 1985.[4] The 1913 streetcar was placed in storage, being operated (without passengers) a few times a year to keep it in running condition,[4] until 1990, when it was leased to a company in Portland, Oregon, for use on the Willamette Shore Trolley line there.

The museum 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.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d San Antonio Museum of Art. "History of the San Antonio Museum of Art". Retrieved October 20, 2014.
  2. ^ "SIRIS – Smithsonian Institution Research Information System". Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Hours and Admission". San Antonio Museum of Art. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Price, J. H. (December 1984). "Museum News". Modern Tramway, p. 421. UK: Ian Allan Publishing/Light Rail Transit Association.
  6. ^ "Trolley bought outright". The Daily Astorian. Astoria, Oregon. October 11, 2005.

External links[edit]