The Museum of American Architecture and Decorative Arts contains items relating to the social history and material culture of people settling in Texas between 1830 and 1930. It provides a warm, intimate and friendly setting for the household furnishings and decorative arts which help the visitor appreciate the changes that occurred as Houston grew from a frontier settlement to a town.
Several room settings depict a lively view of Texas history. Old cast iron pots and a 1790 rifle enhance the fireplace wall. An old wooden churn and a spinning wheel complete the decor. The 1850s vintage pioneer bedroom contains a maple bed overlaid by a hand loomed jacquard spread with the date of 1846 worked into a design of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. A Victorian bedroom of the elegant 80s is furnished with a massive bed from New Orleans and a ladies needlepoint chair with delicate cabriole legs.
Sure to enchant the museum’s visitors, both young and old, are the Theo Redwood Blank doll collection and the Schissler Miniature Furniture collection. The doll collection, one of the finest in the country, shows the evolution of play dolls, from a rare Georgian period carved wooden doll, to 19th century paper mache dolls with molded hair, china and bisque dolls with leather bodies, wax over composition, fabric and many examples of 20th century dolls. The collection also contains doll-like figures from Egyptian, pre-Columbian, African and Chinese cultures.
One of the more fascinating items in the doll collection is a vignette which depicts the coronation of Josephine by Napoleon, a re-creation of the painting by David which hangs in the Louve. The tiny dolls, or lay figures as they are properly called, were used by artists and are constructed of wood with ball and socket joints so they may be positioned in lifelike attitudes.
The Schissler Miniature Furniture collection consists of 23 pieces of antique miniature furniture dating back to the 1800s. Since the Middle Ages, the noblemen of Europe had collected and displayed precious small objects, including furniture. These prized objects would became the basis for the earliest museums. Before the 17th century Dutch royalty demanded the finest miniatures for their personal treasures. Their influence spread to England and then to the colonies. In America, artisans produced exquisite examples, both as salesmen’s samples and for personal pleasure.
Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau - Member