The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), located in the Houston Museum District, Houston, is one of the largest museums in the United States. The permanent collection of the museum spans more than 6,000 years of history with approximately 64,000 works from six continents. The museum benefits the Houston community through programs, publications and media presentations. Each year, 1.25 million people benefit from museum's programs, workshops and resource centers. Of that total, more than 500,000 people participate in the community outreach programs.
The MFAH's permanent collection totals 63,718 pieces in 270,000 square feet (25,000 Sq mi) of exhibition space, placing it among the larger art museums in the United States. The museum's collections and programs are housed in seven facilities.
The Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) is the oldest art museum in Texas. In 1917, the museum site was dedicated by the Houston Public School Art League (later the Houston Art League) with the intention of becoming a public art museum. The first museum building – opened to the public in 1924 – represented the determination of Houstonians to transform their growing city into a rich cultural Center.
Trustees and staff dedicated the small art collection to the community and defined the function of the museum as bringing “art into the everyday life” of all Houstonians. Today the MFAH encompasses two buildings, the Caroline Wiess Law and Audrey Jones Beck buildings, that house its primary collections and temporary exhibitions; two decorative arts house museums; The Glassell studio art school; a sculpture garden; a state-of-the-art facility for conservation, storage and archives; and an administrative building with the Glassell Junior school of Art
With more than 62,000 works of art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has the largest and most diverse art collection in the Southwestern United States. The majority of the museum's collection lie in the areas of Italian Renaissance painting, French Impressionism, photography, American and European decorative arts, African and pre-Columbian gold, American art, and Post-1945 European and American painting and sculpture. Other facets of the collection include African-American art and Texas painting. Emerging collection interests of modern and contemporary Latin American art, Asian art, and Islamic art continue to strengthen the museum's collection diversity. As a result of its encyclopedic collection, the museum ranks nationally among the top ten art museums in attendance.