More Mammoths? Yes, Please

Mayborn Mammoth Mural

Can you imagine staring up at an over 20-foot-tall mammoth? The Mayborn Museum is well on its way to making this dream a reality. 

In the museum’s hope to reignite curiosity, Phase 1 of their 10-year, four-phase plan to transform its natural science and cultural history wing includes a life-sized mammoth sculpture to welcome guests to the museum. 

“We know the visitor experience starts in the parking lot,” Director of Visitor Experience at the Mayborn Trey Crumpton, B.S. ’05, M.S. ’11, Ph.D., said. “With this sculpture, we’re going to have the opportunity to create those moments of wonder before visitors even get inside.” 

From beginning to end, the museum wanted to be sure they were being mindful of the project from an accuracy and artistic standpoint. 

“When we started, we specified that we wanted a solid proposal from an artist and a foundry team,” Crumpton said. “We wanted to be able to rely on our artistic vision, design and production working well together so that it complimented the Mayborn, the University and the community desire for this piece.” 

A committee was formed in true collaboration to bring the mammoths to life. The team chose Pyrology, a foundry based in Bastrop, Texas, for their extensive knowledge of production of bronzes at the necessary scale and all the attendant engineering considerations. And after listening to proposals from different sculptors, the group chose Tom Tischler, an Australian sculptor originally from Texas. 

“His proven ability at the scale, his understanding of the specific anatomical nature of this commission and his grasp of what we need for the entire project were exactly what we were looking for,” Crumpton said. “His proposed maquette hit a home run with the interview team and brought his artistic vision to transform it into a world-class piece.” 

The mammoths are planned to be installed in December 2023. This summer, Tischler measured fossilized mammoth bones in Waco to make sure his proportions are historically accurate.  

“You know that when kids walk up here and see these mammoths — you’re just going to see their eyes light up,” Mayborn Museum Director Charlie Walter said. “And when they go inside, they’re going to be able to learn more about who we are and what we do — we couldn’t be more excited.”