The Elisabet Ney Museum located 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.

Image of Elisabet Ney Museum

Background

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) manages the Elisabet Ney Museum and grounds, called Formosa, which make up the studio and residence of Elisabet Ney, a German immigrant and talented and renowned sculptor. 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. 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. In 1941, after moving to West Austin’s Laguna Gloria, 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. 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 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.

Project Description

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.

Anticipated Schedule

  • Fall 2021: Design completed

  • Winter 2021: Bidding Phase

  • Spring 2022: Start of Construction

  • Spring 2023: Construction completed

Current Status

The Lawrence Group Architects, who are assigned to the door and window restoration and the pedestrian bridge replacement portion of design, are currently working toward the 90% set of construction drawings. The site plan is under review with the Development Services Division. Heimsath Architects, who are assigned to the mechanical and lighting system upgrades, are working toward completing the 100% set of construction drawings. The project is back on schedule after a lengthy period of contract negotiations. Once drawings are complete and approved by the City of Austin’s Quality Management Division, PARD will solicit for proposals utilizing the Competitive Sealed Proposal (CSP) alternative delivery method. The CSP process of obtaining a contractor will allow PARD to select the most qualified candidate based on experience with historic restoration rather than defaulting to the lowest qualified respondent.

Boards and Commissions Meetings

  • Historic Landmark Commission
    • October 8, 2018: Windows, Doors, and Bridge (presentation, PDF, 10 MB)
    • June 28, 2021: Mechanical and Lighting
  • Design Commission: August 23, 2021

Funding & Resources

Funding for this restoration project is provided through 2006 and 2012 GO Bond funds and Hotel Occupancy Tax Project Funds from the Heritage Tourism Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and a grant received by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The funding for this project is made possible in part through Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funding to support projects and initiatives that meet allowable uses as defined under Chapter 351 of the Texas Tax Code. HOT revenue is an essential tool for the promotion of tourism and supports the growth of the tourism, convention and hotel industry. PARD is an important partner in this effort as public parks, museums and cultural centers are among the top tourist attractions in the City.

Heritage Tourism logo

Community Engagement

Information on the new design and restoration elements will be presented to the community after receiving Historic Landmark Commission and Texas Historical Commission approvals.

Contact Information

Christina Bies, Project Coordinator, Parks and Recreation Department, 512-974-9490, email