First Sundays free at Mayborn Museum

The Sue and Frank Mayborn Natural Science and Cultural History Museum Complex provides scientific and historical exhibits for the Waco community. Photo credit: Liesje Powers

by Morgan Pettis | Reporter

The start of each school year brings new students with little knowledge of Waco’s history. The Mayborn Museum Complex, however, is seeking to change that while bringing the Waco and Baylor communities closer together.

On the first Sunday of every month, the museum lifts admission fees as a way to encourage families to enjoy a fun, educational day at the museum.

“Free Sunday started as a way to reach out to the community and have them come check us out,” said Drew Triplett, coordinator of guest services.

However, Mayborn isn’t just for families. Students are just as welcome to engage in exhibits that feature a tornado simulator, a walk-on piano and even bubbles.

“The museum is an amazing way for people of all ages to come and learn about the cultural history of Waco and partake in engaging scientific activities,” said Lesa Bush, assistant director of visitor experience.

Admission to the Mayborn Museum is free for Baylor students every day of the week with a student ID.

“I love the proximity to campus and all the childish activities,” said Dallas sophomore Ellie Dabrowski. “I love that it’s free, too.”

Mayborn opened its doors in 2004 and has been offering the community a chance to come out and explore ever since. Since 2010, businesses in the community have aided the museum’s outreach by sponsoring these free Sunday events.

“Museums are a place for everyone to come and have a great and formal learning experience, and we really want that opportunity for everyone in the community,” Bush said.

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Baylor University's Mayborn Museum Complex presents the Robot's+ Us exhibit, on display from Jan. 26 to April 28, 2013. Photo credit: Lariat File Photo

The museum has an array of exhibits such as the Jeanes Discovery Center, which introduces guests to the world of communication, energy, weather, recycling and many more topics through hands-on exhibits. This fall, the museum is also adding Play Waco, which will be a city-themed playroom for younger guests.

Beyond the discovery center, the Mayborn also has natural and cultural history exhibits. These collections showcase items such as a whale skull in Strecker’s Cabinets of Curiosities, ancient sea creatures such as the Pliosaur and the giant sea turtle and an exhibit dedicated to the Waco Mammoth National Monument.

Outside of the complex lays Governor Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village, which consists of nine wood-framed buildings that give a glimpse at what life was like in the 1890s. Bill Daniel, a Baylor law alumnus who served as the governor of Guam, donated the historic village to Baylor in 1985. It was relocated from Liberty and now resides along the Brazos behind the Mayborn Complex.

Beginning Oct. 1, the Mayborn will showcase the Sacred Journeys exhibit, which will allow visitors to learn about sacred places of various faiths and cultures around the world. It will give visitors the chance to follow pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Mexico City, India and Mecca. The exhibit will also showcase fragments of the Dead Sea Scroll, a page from the Gutenberg Bible and a block from the Western Wall. The Sacred Journeys exhibit will run from October through December.