Baylor’s Mayborn Museum Complex opened in 2004, bringing together three previously separate entities – the Strecker Museum, Ollie Mae Moen Discovery Center, and the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village — onto one site, just across University Parks Drive from the Wiethorn Visitors Center.
On their own, the three attractions totalled about 50,000 visitors a year; it was estimated that uniting the three attractions could perhaps draw twice as many annual visitors. In fact, it’s done even better; on May 8 — exactly two weeks shy of nine years from its public opening — the Mayborn Museum Complex welcomed its 1 millionth visitor. [See photos here and here.]
A second-grade class from Rosebud-Lott ISD (30 miles south of Waco) put the Mayborn over the million-visitor mark; the children were welcomed with a banner signed by museum staff and Baylor officials (including President Ken Starr), goodie bags from the museum store, and commemorative t-shirts that read, “I’m one in a million at the Mayborn Museum!”
Schoolchildren make up a large portion of the Mayborn Museum Complex’s audience, though visitors of all ages can find something worth investigating. The Mayborn focuses on the natural science and cultural history of Central Texas, with walk-in dioramas (including one on the Waco Mammoth Site) and exploration stations for geology, paleontology, archaeology and natural history. Seventeen themed discovery rooms encourage hands-on learning for all ages. The museum complex also serves as a learning laboratory for Baylor students in the Department of Museum Studies as well as many other disciplines across campus.
Sic ’em, Mayborn!