Mayborn Museum Becomes Smithsonian Affiliate

Baylor University’s Mayborn Museum

At the end of 2022, Baylor University’s Mayborn Museum joined more than 200 other museums across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Panama, as a Smithsonian Affiliate. The Mayborn is now one of 13 affiliates in Texas and serves as the Central Texas connection to the Smithsonian and its many resources.

The Sue & Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex at Baylor University opened in 2004. However, several aspects of the museum began long before. As far back as the 1850s, Baylor University professors began collecting teaching materials to help students understand biology, physics, chemistry and geology. Seven decades later, the museum’s efforts to engage the community and life-long learning continue to come to fruition.

This prestigious affiliation not only emphasizes the Mayborn’s influence but also the value the museum places on the community, its faculty and staff, its researchers and the University as a whole. 

“As the only Smithsonian Affiliate in Central Texas, we are incredibly excited,” said Mayborn Executive Director Charlie Walter. “It’s really a statement of the quality of the staff we have here.”

The museum applied for the Smithsonian Affiliate status earlier in 2022 and has now been given the opportunity to collaborate on unique public programs and workshops, offer professional development opportunities, co-develop youth programs, host traveling exhibitions, borrow artifacts and co-host public lectures by Smithsonian scholars.

“Smithsonian Affiliates are collaborators on many Smithsonian strategic priorities, adding local content, context and expertise to help tell a fuller story,” said Myriam Springuel, director of Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Smithsonian Affiliations. “Including the Mayborn in our Affiliate network provides greater access to the rich history and culture of Central Texas, and we look forward to creating experiences that align those stories with national initiatives at the Smithsonian.” 

The affiliation grants the Mayborn several benefits including access to resources, collaborative funding, professional development, access to Smithsonian staff or other Affiliates, select films produced by the Smithsonian Channel, national promotion and discounted Smithsonian membership to members of the Mayborn Museum. Through Smithsonian Affiliates, millions of people experience the Smithsonian in their communities and have access to the Smithsonian’s educational programs, exhibitions, scholarship and collections. 

“Our partnership with the Smithsonian will facilitate new exhibits and programs for our visitors,” Walter said. “Not only that, but it will inspire a deeper understanding of our world and how it can be changed for the better.”