Charles Walter Named Mayborn Museum DirectorJune 25, 2015
Longtime museum executive joins Baylor from San Antonio Children’s Museum
WACO, Texas (June 25, 2015) – Baylor University announced today that Charles H. Walter, a longtime museum executive and current chief operating officer of the San Antonio Children’s Museum, has been named director of the Sue and Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex. He will begin his duties on Aug. 3.
Walter will join the Mayborn Museum after serving on the executive team that opened The DoSeum, a new $47 million, STEM-focused children’s museum June 6 in San Antonio. He will succeed Ellie Caston, Ph.D., who is retiring after nearly 13 years as director but will continue to teach in the museum studies department.
“I am honored to be given this tremendous opportunity, and I look forward to working with the Waco community, the faculty, staff and students of Baylor University and the staff of the Mayborn Museum Complex,” Walter said.
“I am passionate about museums. They are places where you can meet science and history directly and on your own terms. These powerful experiences can lead to a lifelong love of learning,” he said. “I look forward to continuing the great work started by Ellie Caston and working with the students, faculty and staff to set a course for what is next.”
“Charlie is an experienced and extraordinarily talented museum professional. He is a visionary leader and a strategic thinker, and he is highly regarded in the field on both the state and national levels. He will be a terrific asset to the Mayborn Museum Complex and the Baylor University community,” said Tiffany Hogue, chief of staff to the provost and chair of the search committee.
Walter has been involved with museums for more than 30 years and has spent the past two decades in executive positions at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and the San Antonio Children’s Museum. He secured his first museum position as the visitor services manager at the Fort Worth Museum in 1986 and advanced through multiple positions, ending his tenure as executive vice president for programs with oversight of exhibitions, collections, theater, planetarium and public programs. He was a senior member of the team that developed and opened the new museum facility in 2009.
While at the Fort Worth Museum, Walter also led an effort to secure a $2.4 million National Science Foundation grant to develop an integrated forensic science exhibit/web adventure, “CSI: The Experience,” in partnership with CBS Broadcasting, The American Academy of Forensic Sciences and Rice University’s Center for Technology for Teaching and Learning.
In 2011, Walter was recruited to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science as executive director. During this time, he crafted and implemented a new strategic plan, developed a statewide collaborative exhibit program with several science centers and museums, and created formal relationships with higher education institutions. He returned to Texas in late 2014 to assist the San Antonio Children’s Museum in the construction and development of its new museum.
Walter earned his bachelor of science in wildlife and fisheries science with an emphasis in museum science in 1980 from Texas A&M University and received his M.B.A. in 1991 from the University of North Texas. He was a Noyce Leadership Institute Distinguished Fellow in 2010.
“This position is quite a culmination of my 30-plus years of work with positions at science, history, children’s and natural history museums. I’ve worked at universities and spent two seasons with the National Park Service,” Walter said. “It’s amazing how all of these elements have come together for me at the Mayborn.”
Located on the Baylor campus, the Mayborn Museum Complex and its Harry and Anna Jeanes Discovery Center opened in 2004 on the Baylor campus. The museum features a natural science and cultural history museum focusing on Central Texas with walk-in dioramas, including one on the Waco Mammoth Site, and exploration stations for geology, paleontology, archaeology and natural history. In addition, 17 themed discovery rooms encourage hands-on learning for all ages, while the Anding Traveling Exhibit Area accommodates a wide range of traveling exhibitions. The 143,000-square-foot building also includes the department of museum studies, faculty and administration offices, and collections storage and preparation areas.
“Over the last 11 years, the tireless leadership of Ellie Caston and her dedicated staff has consolidated the Mayborn Museum’s position as a rich resource for Central Texas as well as around the world, having hosted over 138,000 visitors last year alone,” said James Bennighof, Ph.D., vice provost for academic affairs and policy at Baylor. “Charlie Walter, with his background in a variety of museum settings and his wide range of experiences with other museums, media organizations and other collaborators, is perfectly suited to build on this foundation in exploring new initiatives for the Mayborn in the years to come, and we are delighted to be able to welcome him to Baylor.”
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.