Martin Museum of Art revitalizes homecoming traditions

As part of an initiative to create new traditions for Baylor Homecoming, the Martin Museum of Art has been offering materials to make mums like previous generations did. Audrey La | Photographer

By Mariah Bennett | Staff Writer

The Martin Museum of Art turned a new leaf this homecoming season, delving into the homecoming spirit with a four-day event entitled Celebrating Traditions: Baylor Homecoming 2021.

Attendees were able to participate in mum and garter making, surrounded by green and gold balloons. The activity contained a “modern twist” of artificial flowers and the subtraction of long streamers.

“We’re trying to create new traditions,” Allison Chew, director of the Martin Museum of Art, said.

The museum has participated in a homecoming parade in the past, and it had a selfie station at this year’s Family Weekend. Its most recent event, however, had an extra step to delve into homecoming and student life involvement.

“We just want to spread the word that we’re here to support Baylor students and their lives, and we hope they will come give us a chance,” Elisa Crowder, gallery attendant and education coordinator, said.

In honor of its 40th anniversary at its current location, the museum is currently hosting an exhibit entitled 40 Works for Forty Years: Celebrating the Martin Museum, which has information on the history of art at Baylor.

“As part of that exhibition, we came across the traditions that existed at Baylor,” Chew said. “We learned a lot about what Baylor does, where we’ve been and how we’ve been involved.”

Through that research, Crowder said she came across images of Baylor women wearing mums to homecoming events. Chew said Crowder was the main coordinator for the mum making event, but the task involved some work from everyone.

“The museum staff actually is small enough that we all take a role in our events and planning,” Chew said. “We’re all kind of on board.”

Besides research, Crowder said she drew from her own experiences as a Baylor alumna, noting popular mum florist at her time Reed’s Flowers and the changes in mums and garters throughout Baylor’s homecoming history

“Over time, I’ve watched the tradition change from using real flowers to fake flowers — and then it slowly dying away,” Crowder said.

Crowder said when planning the event, she wanted to try to find a tradition that wasn’t happening presently but tied into what was going on 40 years ago on campus.

“We’re trying to revitalize it and do it in a way that would be fun for the students and get them excited about homecoming but also introduce them to the museum,” Crowder said.

Crowder said that the Martin Museum of Art plans on furthering student life involvement through arts and crafts activities a few times during the semester, notably on Fridays. The museum also plans on having a Baylor holiday ornament event for students and providing supplies for those who want to create a craft for any holiday they celebrate in December.

Houston junior Olivia Havre said she has attended the museum a few times in the past and believes the event is a good way to spread awareness about the museum itself.

“I think this is a good idea to try to get the word out that, ‘Hey! This museum exists. You all should come visit it,’” Havre said.