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Ribbon Cutting Officially Opens ASU Mayer Museum

May 21, 2021

  • B.J. and Richard Mayer are surrounded by family as they cut the ribbon for the official opening of the Mayer Museum on the Angelo State campus.

Angelo State University officially dedicated its new Mayer Museum during a ribbon cutting ceremony today (May 21), and the facility will be open to the public beginning the morning of Saturday, May 22.

The approximately $17 million, 32,000-square-foot facility is named for longtime ASU supporters Richard and B.J. Mayer (MY-er) and is located at 2501 W. Avenue N in the center of the ASU campus. It is the new home of the ASU West Texas Collection and supports ASU student art programs with classrooms, specialized labs for graphic design, sculpture and ceramics, and student gallery space, along with faculty and staff offices and support spaces.

The centerpiece of the museum is a full-size replica skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur that is surrounded by eight smaller dinosaur skeletons, as well as casts of dinosaur tracks and fossilized dinosaur eggs.

B.J. and Richard Mayer B.J. and Richard Mayer“When Richard surprised me with a building that had been my dream for ASU, I knew it would need to have a drawing card,” B.J. Mayer said. “I visited many museums, coming away with two ideas I saw as being essential: a children’s learning center and something that would attract children as they are the key to ASU’s future. So, I chose dinosaurs as the drawing card, and there will be a Kid’s Cave. This museum is to be a teaching museum where all ages can come and learn.”

The Kid’s Cave children’s area features preserved animal specimens from the Angelo State Natural History Collections (ASNHC), interactive fossil games, a diverse collection of rocks, minerals and gems, children’s reference books and other hands-on activities.

In other exhibit rooms off the main floor, there is a larger display of ASNHC specimens, an extensive collection of Indian points and artifacts, and various other displays. The large gallery features the work of faculty in ASU’s Visual and Performing Arts Department, including paintings, ceramics and sculptures. There is also an exhibit dedicated to various prominent West Texans in government that will be highlighted by the new K. Michael Conaway Exhibit that is currently being installed and will include interactive themed displays from the former U.S. congressman’s time in office.

In addition to the exhibits, an advisory committee chaired by Dr. John Klingemann, dean of the ASU College of Arts and Humanities, will formulate educational programs in conjunction with the museum curator for ASU students and the public about the historical experiences of the diverse communities that have inhabited the Concho Valley. The programs will integrate art, history, biology and geology in support of ASU’s academic mission.

Ronnie Hawkins Jr. Ronnie Hawkins Jr.“Thanks to the generosity of Richard and B.J. Mayer, the Mayer Museum will captivate visitors of all ages as they experience a window to the past and a vision of the future,” said ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr. “We have all been looking forward to opening this new crown jewel of our campus, and we can’t wait to show it off. The Mayer Museum will serve and educate students and citizens throughout the Concho Valley for years to come, and accentuates our Core Values of ‘Significance’ and ‘Community.’”

The Mayer Museum will be open free to the public every Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More details are available at angelo.edu/mayer-museum.

Funding for the new museum is also just the latest example of the Mayers’ philanthropy on behalf of Angelo State. They have continuously funded multiple academic and athletic scholarships, as well as construction of the Mayer Softball Field and the Mayer Press Box at LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field. They also joined with family members to help fund construction of the Mayer-Rousselot Agricultural Education Training Center at the ASU Ranch.

For their outstanding and ongoing support, the Mayers have both been honored by the ASU Alumni Association. Richard Mayer has been named a Golden Ex, and B.J. Mayer has been named an Honorary Alumna.