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Strecker Museum closing until move into Mayborn Complex

Sept. 10, 2003

By Kimberly O'Donnell, reporter

Baylor's Strecker Museum, located in the basement of Sid Richardson Science Building, will close Saturday.

The museum will relocate to the Harry and Anna Jeanes Discovery Center, the focus of the Sue and Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex.

'We have to prepare the exhibits and artifacts for the new building,' Dr. Ellie Caston, director of the Mayborn Complex, said. 'That process will take a while.'

Volunteers who help the staff in working and organizing the museum will be honored from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at a reception. Both faculty and volunteers will relocate to the new museum along with the exhibits.

'The volunteers have been here more than 20 years,' Caston said. '[And] we will need more and more volunteers.'

According to the Baylor Web site, the Strecker Museum is the oldest continuously operating museum in Texas history. The museum became known as a university museum in 1893, but the collections, which were founded in 1856, came to Baylor when it was located in Independence. Since then, the museum has been in many locations, including Carroll Science Hall, Carroll Library and Pat Neff Hall. Strecker Museum also occupied its own building from 1919 to 1926, before moving to Sid Richardson Science Building in 1968.

Strecker Museum received its name in 1940 from John Kern Strecker, its curator from 1903 to 1933. Strecker wrote more than 100 published papers on natural history and folklore topics during his tenure.

Strecker's excellent collecting efforts also promoted international prominence for the museum.

Collections in the Strecker Museum include rocks, minerals and regional flora and fauna. Many Baylor students meet their class requirements by analyzing artifacts for museum studies, sketching animals for art and studying rock and animal specimens for geology and biology.

'I think it is very exciting that the Strecker Museum is expanding and moving to a more convenient location,' Meredith Oliver, a Cottage Grove, Ore., junior, said. 'It was a pleasant surprise to hear about the change in location. It will give the students a better opportunity to view the collections.'

The Jeanes Discovery Center will have more interactive exhibits, as well. It will have walk-in dioramas and exploration stations in the Hall of Natural Science, and its Children's World will offer 17 rooms with hands-on exhibits about transportation, communication, health and pioneers. Other features included in the Discovery Center are the 200-seat Southwestern Bell Discovery Theater and the Thomas E. and Emilyne W. Anding Exhibitions Gallery.

'The work we are going to do between now and when the new museum opens is complicated,' Caston said. '[But] our new museum is an integral part of our moving. It is integrating Baylor in the community and strengthening ties with that community.'

The new Mayborn Museum Complex will open to the public in May. The complex is located on University Parks Drive.

For more information, contact Sarah Levine at 710-2517.