The Elisabet Ney Museum located at 304 E. 44th Street will be receiving needed equipment and building improvement upgrades in addition to a new pedestrian bridge crossing Waller Creek. This project is in the design phase. District 9

Image of Elisabet Ney Museum

Updates

The Lawrence Group Architects, who are assigned to the door and window restoration and the pedestrian bridge replacement portion of the design, have completed the 100% set of construction drawings. Heimsath Architects, who are assigned to the mechanical and lighting system upgrades, have also completed the 100% set of construction drawings. Both sets of drawings are under review for issuance of the building permit. The site plan review and approval process with the Development Services Division is complete. The City of Austin’s Quality Management Division is currently reviewing all documents related to the solicitation for a contractor. Once completed and approved, the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) will coordinate with Capital Contracting to solicit 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.

Background

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 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. PARD 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 Heat, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, weatherization to solve water penetration issues and preserve the building, and construction of a new accessible pedestrian/bicycle bridge.

Anticipated Schedule

Please note that as in any construction project, schedules are projected as accurately as possible, but all dates are subject to change due to the nature of construction and the weather.

  • Winter 2023: 100% Design Documents (Complete)

  • Spring 2023: Bidding Phase (Ongoing)

  • Fall 2023: Start of Project Construction

  • Winter 2024: Project Construction Completed

Community Engagement

Information on the new design and restoration elements was presented to the community at Elisabet Ney Nature Day and Ney Day in 2022.

Boards and Commissions Meetings

Historic Landmark Commission
October 8, 2018: Windows, Doors, and Bridge (presentation, PDF, 10 MB)
June 28, 2021: Mechanical and Lighting (link to approved minutes)

Design Commission
August 23, 2021 (link to recommendation)

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.

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Christina Bies, Associate Project Manager, Parks and Recreation Department, by calling (512) 974-9490 or by email.