Baylor Announces Endowment For Martin Museum Of Art And Mayborn Museum

April 13, 2007

Baylor University announced today that the university's Martin Museum of Art and Mayborn Museum's Traveling Exhibit Program will benefit from an endowment funded by the Virginia Frances Webb estate.

Webb, a retired teacher and a woman known to have a sharp business sense, lived a private life in McLennan County and hoped that her estate would enhance cultural and art appreciation in Central Texas. Baylor is honoring her wishes by establishing an endowment that will allow both museums to expand existing programs. The generous gift, which is in excess of $1 million, will bring new opportunities to both museums, as they will now be able to pursue better-known exhibits for surrounding communities to enjoy.

"The Martin Museum of Art is extremely grateful for this gift because it will enable the museum to present more of the type of art exhibitions that would typically only be seen in much larger museums," said Karin Gilliam, director of Baylor's Martin Museum of Art. "The museum has some big dreams to grow and greatly increase its outreach capabilities so these funds could not have come at a better time."

The Martin Museum of Art hopes to bring exhibits with greater visibility, such as a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian, to Baylor's campus. Because Baylor's museum is the only active collecting museum between Dallas and Austin, this will afford the local community and Baylor students an opportunity to see exhibits that are normally hours away. Baylor's art students will also have a unique opportunity to study the nationally known pieces in their own home.

"Bringing extraordinary art to Baylor and the community of Waco is a very important part of our mission and stewardship," Gilliam said. "The Webb Estate endowment will greatly support that mission."

For the Mayborn Museum Complex and the thousands who visit the Jeanes Discovery Center annually, the gift will bring a new level of distinguished exhibits to the Traveling Exhibit Program. It will provide the museum the opportunity to work in advance to schedule the prominent exhibits that will augment current programming at the museum.

"The great thing about the endowment is that it will be a steady income," said Dr. Ellie Caston, director of the Mayborn Museum Complex. "It really gives us more flexibility and more lead time so that we can have more options to secure really good exhibits."

In addition to adding to the learning environment for local children, the program's ability to attract well-known exhibits will enhance the learning environments for museum studies students at Baylor.

The Anding Traveling Exhibit Gallery has hosted two successful summer exhibits in the past, the Duval Gem and Mineral Collection (2005) and Feathered Treasures: Ceremonial Object of the Amazon (2006). Exhibits such as these and ones that will be provided by the Virginia Frances Webb Endowment for the Traveling Exhibit Program attract more than 100,000 visitors to Baylor's campus annually.

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