Construction Under Way On Jeanes Discovery Center

  • News Photo 190
    Calvin Smith, director of the Mayborn Museum Complex and chair of the department of museum studies.
  • News Photo 172
    View of Mayborn Museum Complex Site from University Parks Drive.
Jan. 30, 2002

Construction has begun on Baylor University's Harry and Anna Jeanes Discovery Center, the centerpiece of The Sue and Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex, located off Interstate 35 on University Parks Drive. This $23 million building project also will include a support wing, which will be home to Baylor's Center for Museum Studies.

Officials expect more than 200,000 visitors each year at The Jeanes Discovery Center, which is designed to provide a state-of-the-art science and cultural history experience for the children and families of Central Texas. A ceremonial groundbreaking for the center was held Jan. 31, 2001. With construction now under way, the facility is projected for completion in 2004.

The mission of the Mayborn Museum Complex will be to tell the story of Central Texas, taking visitors on a journey through the beginning of the universe through prehistoric Texas, Native American times and Spanish contact periods to how Texans live today. Artifacts, dioramas, text panels and interactive computer-generated information areas will work together to interpret the natural and cultural history of Central Texas.

Inside the Jeanes Discovery Center, visitors will find:

The Permanent Exhibitions Gallery - a 30,000-square-foot exhibit hall that takes the viewer from prehistoric to modern times through the use of experience modules; includes the extensive John K. Strecker collection.

The Children's World (expanded Ollie Mae Moen Discovery Center) - a 30,000-square-foot hands-on educational experience for children and families that encourages participatory learning within 17 Discovery Rooms: Mrs. Moen's neighborhood, vertebrates, invertebrates, television and weather studio, communication, experimental education, Native American, people of the world, pioneer, recycling, energy, water and bubbles, optics, health, sound, transportation and simple machines.

The SBC Discovery Theater - a 200-seat high-resolution theater that provides a stage for first-person vignettes of life in the past, as well as a center for town hall meetings, distinguished lecturers, symposia and conferences.

The Thomas E. and Emilyne W. Anding Exhibitions Gallery - a 5,500-square-foot gallery for traveling and special exhibits and the only one in Central Texas large enough to accommodate such traveling exhibits as King Tut and Genghis Khan.

The AT&T Information Centers - 22 information kiosks throughout the building that provide supplemental interactive interpretation and distance education opportunities.

The History of Baylor Exhibit - interactive exhibit that features the history of Baylor from 1845 to the present and will allow visitors to pose questions to recruitment officers, faculty and administrators.

The Poage Texas Orientation Map - a wall-sized relief map illustrating the geological, paleontological and cultural processes that have shaped Texas.

Other components of the Mayborn Museum Complex include The Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village, which consists of more than 20 reconstructed buildings from the 1890s that provide a living-history experience for visitors, and The Center for Museum Studies, providing academic facilities and laboratories for Baylor's department of museum studies, the only such program combining both undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United States.

Part of the Mayborn Museum Complex, the Waco Mammoth Site, will remain at its present location along the Bosque River. Consisting of 23 remains of Columbian mammoths and one camel, the mammoth site is the largest concentration of extinct proboscideans dying from the same event in the world.

The Discovery Campaign is in the public phase of giving through spring 2002, which will build community awareness for the complex and support for museum exhibits. Major donors to date include The Frank W. and Anyse Sue Mayborn Foundation of Temple, Harry and Anna Jeanes of Waco, the Southwestern Bell Foundation, Thomas and Emilyne Anding of Dallas and AT&T Foundation/Corporation.

"We are deeply grateful to the many families, corporations and foundations who are helping make this project possible through their generosity. The support from the central Texas community has been tremendous," said Calvin Smith, director of the Mayborn Museum Complex and chair of the department of museum studies.

For more information, contact Calvin Smith at (254) 710-1110. Additional information can be found at

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