Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens
Villa Finale was purchased in 1967 by preservationist Walter Nold Mathis, the twelfth owner in a procession of increasingly colorful inhabitants. The home was built by hardware merchant Russell Norton in 1876 as a one-story, four-room house. By 1904, modifications by subsequent owners fashioned the Italianate style mansion that you see today. Mathis spent nearly two years restoring Villa Finale (so named as it was his final residence) and years thereafter filling it with the extraordinary collections, including European furniture and artwork, American silver, and art by popular Texas artists such as Julian Onderdonk and Mary Bonner, that still occupy the home. Villa Finale is perhaps most noted for its very large collection of memorabilia related to Napoleon Bonaparte, a historical figure of great interest to Walter Mathis.
Upon the death of Mr. Mathis in 2005, the house and the collections were bequeathed to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the home was opened to the public in 2010. Mr. Mathis had realized his dream: his “villa finale” had become a museum open to all.
Visitors to the home may learn about the preservation legacy of Walter Mathis and enjoy the astonishing collection of fine and decorative arts through guided or self-guided tours. Guests may also experience the beauty and history of Villa Finale through educational evening and weekend programming for children, teens, and adults. The lush formal gardens are open to the public free of charge and professional outdoor photography permits are available for purchase. The gardens of Villa Finale are available to rent for weddings, receptions, and parties.
Villa Finale memberships and memberships in the “Friends of Villa Finale” program are available and are an excellent way to support quality educational programming at Villa Finale.
Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens is a National Trust for Historic Preservation co-stewardship site and is the only National Trust property in Texas.
Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens provides public tours of the home, guided and self-guided, Tuesday through Saturday, as well as a variety of engaging programs and events created for audiences of all ages. Please check www.villafinale.org for more details.
Friday, October 12th & Saturday, October 13th
7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Ages 21+ only
Price: $50 per person
An educational journey through the history of spiritualism and communion with the afterlife, beginning in 1848 and ending in 1926, and capped with a live séance. Friday night will be spent “exploring the spiritual world” at Villa Finale, and Saturday night will be spent at a the historic Steves Homestead!
Member Appreciation Night
Thursday, October 18th
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Free for Villa Finale members
Villa Finale’s fall appreciation night will give members of all levels an opportunity to meet our staff, enjoy light refreshments, hear short presentations, and see demonstrations throughout the evening.
Movies in the Garden: Night of the Living Dead
Friday, October 19th
7:00 – 8:30 p.m. (gates open at 6:30pm)
Villa Finale’s annual outdoor screening of the 1968 horror classic, Night of the Living Dead. Popcorn and lemonade will be served and guests are encouraged to bring their own chairs, blankets, and small coolers.
This event harkens back to celebrations of the late 19th century when neighborhoods would get together to observe Halloween with costumes, games and delicious treats! Kids ages 3 – 12 can decorate their own trick-or-treat bag, play Halloween-themed games, enter a screaming contest, march in a costume parade, participate in a “fun dash” trick-or-treat, enjoy snacks and more! Parents can also impress their little ones by entering the “Purple People Eater Pie Eating Contest” (limited to 6 contestants on a first-come, first to participate basis). Prizes awarded for scariest, funniest, most creative, parent and overall costumes.
Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens
401 King William
San Antonio, TX 78201