Caston Named Mayborn Complex Director; Smith To Remain As Museum Studies Chair

Sept. 9, 2002

Dr. Ellie Caston, director of operations for Baylor University's Strecker Museum complex and lecturer of museum studies, has been named acting director of the Sue and Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex. Longtime museum director Calvin Smith will continue to serve as chair of the university's department of museum studies and associate professor.

"I am very honored by this appointment and the confidence placed in me by President Sloan, Provost Schmeltekopf, and Vice Provost Charlton," Caston said. "They believe I can step in and lead our fine staff in making the dream of so many generous people a reality."

Caston, a native of Longview, received her bachelor of fine arts from Southern Methodist University and a master's of art in museum science and a doctorate of fine arts from Texas Tech University. During her doctoral work, she held a position of lecturer in Texas Tech's museum studies program.

She was coordinator of interdisciplinary programs at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and was the executive director of the Virginia Association of Museums in Richmond. In 1983, she returned to Longview to become the director the new Gregg County Historical Museum and remained in that capacity until accepting the Strecker position in 1997.

Caston has served on the boards of numerous professional organizations and is currently vice president of the Texas Association of Museums. She was named Museum Educator of the Year by the National Art Education Association in 1987 and Educator of the Year by the Texas Association of Museums in 2001.

Since 1983, Smith had served in the dual capacity of director of Strecker Museum and chair of the museum studies department.

"The duties required by those two positions are too much for one person," Caston said. "When Calvin announced that he would retire in 2004, he recommended that I take over the position of director to help facilitate a smooth transition to the new complex. I will work on moving the museum forward, and he will move the department forward. We expect the museum studies department to grow because of the visibility of the Mayborn Museum Complex."

Smith received bachelor's degrees in zoology and anthropology and a master's degree in biology from Eastern New Mexico University.

He has worked as director of educational services at the Texas Memorial Museum at the University of Texas; director of museum services and adjunct professor of anthropology at Lamar University; director of Arkansas museum services for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism; and consultant of the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute in Waco. He assumed his position at Baylor in 1983.

The 95,000-square-foot Harry and Anna Jeanes Discovery Center, the centerpiece of the Mayborn Museum Complex, will be filled with hands-on exhibits and experiences for children and adults alike. Major components will include the Thomas E. and Emilyne W. Anding Exhibitions Gallery, The Children's World, the SBC Discovery Theater, the AT&T Information Centers, and the Permanent Exhibits Gallery.

In addition to the Jeanes Discovery Center, the Mayborn Museum Complex includes the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village, a turn-of-the-century riverfront community that provides a living history experience for visitors of all ages. The department of museum studies classrooms and library will be adjacent to the Discovery Center. The complex will serve as laboratories for museum studies students as well as students from numerous departments throughout the university. The Jeanes Discovery Center will open in spring 2004.

For more information, contact Caston at (254) 710-4836.

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