Becoming the McNay

In 1927, just six years after its founding, G.W. Mitchell General Contractor was commissioned to build a 24-room Spanish Colonial Revival house designed by San Antonio architects Atlee and Robert Ayres for owner Dr. Donald T. Atkinson and his wife, Marion McNay, for $131,657. At her death in 1950, Marion McNay left more than 700 works of art, along with her house, surrounding 23 acres, and an endowment to establish the first museum of modern art in Texas. In 1954, the McNay opened its doors to the public. Seven additions to the original McNay house between 1970 and 1994 included galleries to exhibit the museum’s constantly growing collection, space to store and frame works of art, and an auditorium for programs and special events yet the original building of the Atkinson Residence is still intact 85 years later. Today, this iconic San Antonio house stands at the core of the McNay Art Museum.