The 19th century lives on at this delightfully eccentric museum, where German Romanticism meets the Texas frontier. The 70-plus sculptures and busts on display show an artist straining against convention. The career of Ms. Ney began auspiciously in her native Germany, where she sculpted eminent figures like the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and Germany's "Iron Chancellor" Otto von Bismarck. A nonconformist from birth, Ney eventually tired of social mores on the continent
and in 1871 moved to Georgia; two years later, she headed to East Texas. In the early 1890s, Ney, then in her late 50s, designed a house and studio in quiet Hyde Park, calling it Formosa, Portuguese for "beautiful." Over the next several years, Ney would produce some of her most renowned sculptures here, including those of Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston. Her studio here is set up as she knew it, with sculpting tools, hat, teacup, and other items all in their proper places. The sculptures on view include many Texas heroes.