Jackie Wang / Rivard Report
Starting Oct. 15, Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens will manage the Edward Steves Homestead in King William Historic District.
The San Antonio Conservation Society is turning over museum operations of the historic house to nonprofit museum Villa Finale. The Conservation Society will continue to own, operate, and maintain the grounds of the homestead.
“It’s the culmination of an agreement we’ve been working on all year, so we’re very excited,” said Vincent Michael, executive director of the San Antonio Conservation Society, noting the proximity of the two properties.
Putting the operations of Villa Finale and the Steves Homestead under one umbrella was a natural fit, according to Michael Guarino, chairman of the Villa Finale board of directors.
Guarino said the two house museums have collaborated before, but this new partnership shows how preservation in San Antonio continues to evolve and innovate.
“The more we thought about it, the more logical it seemed,” Guarino said. “We found we had perfect complementary abilities. They don’t have a collections director for the [Steves] house, and we do. They have an architect, and we [at Villa Finale] don’t. Every column of mutual interest we looked at, it was a perfect fit.”
Michael promised that the Steves Homestead would continue to host the longstanding tradition of cascarón-making. Every Thursday, a committee gathers at the River House behind the homestead to hand-paint and fill empty eggs with confetti to sell during Fiesta as a fundraiser for the Conservation Society.
Sylvia Gonzalez-Pizana, manager of collections and interpretation at Villa Finale, said she wants to implement programs that would attract a younger audience to the Steves Homestead.
“Historic houses are a business,” she said. “You walk in, get a tour, and you can’t touch anything. We want to attract younger visitors and families by making it more hands-on. We really want people to relive the past, not just look at it.”
The Steves House will be closed from Sept. 30 to Oct. 16 to transition operations. Villa Finale will maintain the same hours for the homestead as before, according to Villa Finale Executive Director Jane Lewis. She praised the Conservation Society for its preservation of the house.
“The San Antonio Conservation Society has been an excellent steward of the Homestead property since 1952, and we will continue to follow their mission to preserve and interpret this landmark in the King William Historic District,” Lewis said in a prepared statement. “The collaboration between Villa Finale and the Steves Homestead will enable a broader opportunity for citizens to experience the beauty and relive the past at these two historic sites.”