Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens

Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens is a historic landmark in the King William Historic District of San Antonio, Texas. This beautifully restored property was once the home of Walter Mathis, a prominent collector of American decorative arts and a champion of historic preservation. 

Today, the museum and gardens offer visitors a glimpse into the past, showcasing Mathis’ extensive collection of antiques, paintings, and rare books. The museum is at 401 King William St, San Antonio, TX 78204.

Learn How The Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens Started

The villa was built in 1876 and underwent several renovations. In 1967, Mathis purchased the property and restored it to its former glory. 

The collector also began gathering American decorative arts, focusing on pieces from the Federal period (1780-1820) and the Aesthetic Movement (1870-1890). They eventually grew to 12,000, and Mathis donated these to the museum upon the collector’s death in 2005.

Explore The Collection Of Each Room

Visitors to Villa Finale can explore the elegant rooms of the villa, each one meticulously restored to its original appearance. The collection includes furniture, textiles, ceramics, glassware, and other decorative objects from the 17th through the 19th centuries. 

One of the highlights is a set of chairs designed by Samuel Gragg, an innovative furniture maker from Boston, in the early 19th century. Gragg’s “elastic” chairs feature a unique design that allows the back and seat to flex independently, providing a comfortable and supportive sitting experience.

Stroll Through The Beautiful Gardens

In addition to the indoor exhibits, Villa Finale boasts over half an acre of beautiful gardens. It is divided into several themed areas, each featuring plants and flowers that would have been popular when the villa was built. Visitors can stroll through the rose, butterfly, and herb gardens, taking in the sights and scents of the various plants.

Discover The Secrets With “Behind Closed Doors” Tour

One of the unique features of Villa Finale is the “Behind Closed Doors” tour, which takes visitors on a guided tour of the areas not typically open to the public. This includes the basement, once used as a kitchen and storage area. And the attic that was converted into a living space in the 1920s. The tour offers a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the people who once called the villa home.

Hosts Events Throughout The Year

Villa Finale also hosts events throughout the year, including lectures, workshops, and concerts. The museum’s “Second Saturday” program offers free admission and special activities for families on the second Saturday of each month. And during the holiday season, the villa is decorated in festive style, with special tours and events to celebrate the season.


Overall, Villa Finale: Museum & Gardens is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, and decorative arts. The meticulously restored villa and its extensive collection of antiques offer a glimpse into a bygone era. It includes the gardens that provide a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor to San Antonio, visiting Villa Finale is a memorable experience.

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