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  • Marion Koogler McNay Art MuseumMarion Koogler McNay Art Museum San Antonio, Texas
    The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas was the former home of Ohio-born heiress Marion Koogler McNay, and contains a wonderful collection of works that include medieval, 19th and 20th century artworks and Renaissance art. Marion came to San Antonio in 1918, just after her marriage to Don Denton McNay, who had been activated to duty in Laredo, Texas. On their way there, the couple stopped at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio to spend some honeymoon time and were quite impressed with the area, as it later realized. Don would pass away later that year from the Spanish flu in the famous epidemic of 1918 that went across America. She moved back to San Antonio, in 1926, meeting and marrying well known ophthalmologist Donald T. Atkinson, and bought her first artwork, a painting by Diego Rivera called Delfina Flores, the following year. The couple commissioned renown architects San Antonio Atlee and Robert Ayres to design a 24 room mansion of Spanish Colonial Revival style, which became the museum's center piece. Marion kept on purchasing 19th and 20th century American and European paintings and southwestern artworks from New Mexico. Her marriage fell apart in 1936, and she went back to using her former husband's last name. When she passed away in 1950, she donated her collection of 700 artworks, estate with mansion and 23 acres, as well as an endowment that would create the museum which would become the first art museum in the state. The McNay Art Museum opened in 1954, and during the period from 1970 to 1994, the collection continued to grow, and additions were transformed from the former rooms of the mansion into an auditorium, storage spaces, areas to frame the works as well as programs and special events. Today, that nucleus of McNay's collection has grown to almost 20,000 works of art that include; the marvelous Tobin Collection of Theater Arts, medieval and Renaissance art, one of the best collections of drawings and prints in the southwest and 19th through 21st century American and European photographs, sculptures and paintings. Although open for almost half a century, the museum still acquires great works of art to supplement their wonderful collections, especially in the 19th and 20th century American and European sculpture and paintings by such great masters like; Marsden Hartley, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O'Keefe, and Edward Hopper. The meager modern and contemporary works have grown substantially, with photographs, works on paper, sculptures and paintings. The works are from the period after 1945, include many examples of international, national and regional works, attempting to show the relation between the many works. The latest acquisitions include works by Paul Feeley, Chakaia Booker, Sandy Skoglund and Larry Poons. On the grounds of the magnificent museum, there are beautiful examples of sculpture, including the works of Alexander Liberman, Joel Shapiro, George Rickey and Tony Smith; with elegant fountains along the paths and a marvelous Japanese inspired garden. A fabulous collection of medieval and renaissance works have been donated by Dr. and Mrs. Frederic Oppenheimer, which is the only public collection of its kind in the state, and contains paintings, fragments of the altarpieces and portraits by the master of Frankfurt, Taddeo de Bartolo, Jan Gossaert and many pieces of German, French and Netherlandish sculptures.

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  • San Antonio Missions National Historical ParkSan Antonio Missions National Historical Park San Antonio, Texas
    The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is located in San Antonio, Texas and is preserving four out of the five missions that exist here. The missions were started by Catholic religious orders that were instructed to spread Christianity throughout the native locals. The missions would form a colony system that would span the Spanish southwest in the 17th-19th centuries. Arranging the missions geographically, starting upstream of the San Antonio River and going south or down the river, are the missions; Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada. The Espada aqueduct is east of the mission San Juan, across the river, but still part of the huge park, while the fifth mission is of course the infamous San Antonio mission, better known as the Alamo, which isn't part of the park, but owned by the state and managed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. The park started in 1975, being called the Mission Parkway and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, that included 84 independent historical sites by the San Antonio River, on the south side of the city. In the listing, the National Historical Park was authorized in 1978 and was started in 1983 with many cultural sites and numerous natural areas. Parts of the missions are still owned by the Archdiocese of San Antonio and are active parishes. The Mision Nuestra Senora de la Purisma Concepcion de Acuna started in 1716, and moved to San Antonio in 1731. It was started by Franciscan friars and is the most well preserved. Mision San Francisco de la Espada started in 1690 and moved to San Antonio also in 1731. The Mision San Jose y San Miguel de Aguaryo started in 1720 in the same location it now is. The Mision San Juan Capistrano started in 1716, but was called the Mision San Jose de los Nazoris until it was moved to San Antonio in 1731 and renamed to its current name. The park includes a couple of other sites as well, the Espada Aqueduct and the Ether Wilson Harris House. 

January 11, 2011