The Martin Museum of Art, Baylor University, is committed to the advancement and understanding of art through an active program of collections, stewardship, conservation, innovative exhibitions, education, interpretive programs, and special events to serve and enrich Baylor University and the public communities of Waco and Central Texas. The Museum serves as a vital resource for teaching and scholarship in a broad variety of disciplines, including, but not limited to, art history, art appreciation and studio art.
Dr. J.B. Smith from Abilene, TX, joined Baylor Art Department as the head of the department in fall of 1960. With Smith’s guidance, the Department of Art at Baylor University began actively collecting artwork for the purpose of supporting the academic and artistic scholarship of its students and faculty, and to further the enjoyment and understanding of art throughout Waco and Central Texas.
The first Baylor Art Museum was dedicated on Thursday, April 27, 1967. It was housed in the Carroll Science Building and consisted of the McArdle and Kinzinger Galleries, named for two former Baylor Art Department chairmen. The initial permanent collection included about 150 prints, a few paintings, African sculpture, Japanese woodblocks, and ceremonial shields from Papua New Guinea. The mission was to make original works of art available to students, Waco, and the Central Texas community and to preserve and bring culture to Baylor’s campus. In addition to the Baylor Art Museum in the Carroll Science Building, a few years later the Baylor Art Gallery was added to the lobby of the new Moody Library, which meant that exhibitions of traveling exhibitions and student work were often split across campus during this era.
Then in 1982, under Baylor President Herbert Reynolds and Dr. Harold Simmons, chairman of the Fine Arts Department, the museum moved into the newly constructed Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center. A contribution for a new art museum in the Center was made by Mrs. Lady Hooper Schaefer’s niece, Mrs. Ruby Laura Hooper Martin, of Conroe, TX, and the museum was thus named the Martin Museum of Art. Several expansions and renovations have occurred throughout the ensuing years to accommodate the University’s growing Permanent Collection of artwork.