• Happy 20th birthday, Mayborn Museum!

    Mayborn Museum Complex exterior with new mammoth sculptures

    For two decades now, Baylor’s Mayborn Museum has been a beacon of curiosity and discovery, illuminating the path to knowledge for Bears and Wacoans alike with its unique blend of history, science and education.

    It was 20 years ago this summer — May 14, 2004 — that the Mayborn was officially dedicated in its new home along University Parks Drive. But the museum’s history dates much further back — almost to the university’s very beginning.

    As far back as the 1850s, Baylor professors began to collect teaching materials that helped students understand biology, physics, chemistry and geology. In the 1880s, the collection began to formalize under the guidance of university librarian John K. Strecker; he would also greatly expand the university’s holdings via donations and trades with other institutions. In 1940, the collection was named the Strecker Museum in his honor; over the years, it was housed in multiple spots on campus, including the Sid Richardson Building and Carroll Science.

    Separately, the Waco Youth Cultural Center was opened by the city in 1963 to help children find excitement in learning. The center moved and expanded seven times in 20 years, and in 1994, its name was changed to the Ollie Mae Moen Discovery Center in honor of its leading founder.

    In 2004, the Strecker Museum and Ollie Mae Moen Discovery Center were united under one roof inside the Mayborn Museum’s iconic red-brick Harry & Anna Jeanes Discovery Center. Today, the Mayborn houses some 200,000+ artifacts and specimens, ranging from Ice Age mammoths to ancient marine reptiles, that tell the story of Central Texas’ natural science and cultural history.

    To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Mayborn last month unveiled three bronze mammoth sculptures outside the museum’s main entrance, right along University Parks Drive. The life-size sculptures are based on three specimens found nearby at what is now the Waco Mammoth National Monument, which for years was managed by Waco and Mayborn representatives and today is a part of the National Park Service.

    Sic ’em (and happy birthday), Mayborn Museum!