History Museum

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The Ursuline Convent & Academy was established in 1851, when seven Catholic nuns arrived in San Antonio to start South Texas’ first school for girls.

For more than 100 years, girls of all nationalities, taking classes taught in English, Spanish, French and German, studied and lived on this site.

When the Ursuline Academy closed, the buildings and grounds fell into disrepair — but were saved from certain ruin by a cadre of far-sighted women, including Emily Edwards, through hard work, persuasion and vision.

The Southwest School of Art started as a small community art school, but its high standards and expectations have transformed it into a national leader in visual arts education.

In celebration of these remarkable stories of learning and creativity…of tenacity and restoration…of cultures and transitions…there is a small History Museum on the Ursuline Campus, which is free and open to the public. Trained docents give tours for interested individuals or small groups.

History Museum hours are:
By appointment (Check back again for updated hours).

Note: The Southwest School of Art carries commemorative items. Items below can be purchased at the McNutt Welcome Center (formerly the History Muesum):

  • School by the River (by Maria Watson Pfeiffer) hardbound $20.00, softbound $15.00
  • Stones, Bells, Lighted Candles (by Emily Edwards) softbound $5.00
  • F. Giraud and San Antonio (by Emily Edwards) softbound $5.00
  • Tapestry Cards (Set of 10) $8.00
  • Post Cards (set of 4) $4.25
  • Pin $4.00 (lg) $3.00 (sm)
  • Medal $7.50

Schedule a Tour

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Please also visit the contemporary art exhibitions in our galleries, click here for more information.