March 2023, Trey Crumpton, Ph.D.

March Member of the Month: Trey Crumpton, Ph.D., Manager of Visitor Experience and Adjunct Professor in Museum Studies at the Mayborn Museum at Baylor University.

Trey Crumpton, Ph.D., is the Manager of Visitor Experience and Adjunct Professor in Museum Studies at the Mayborn Museum at Baylor University.

What’s one thing – either industry/work-related or not – you learned in the past month?

In wrapping up the fall semester and planning for spring, I realized that especially in our current moment, our students need more opportunities to exercise the muscles they will need in real life. Those of charitable discourse, listening to understand, handling new and stressful experiences, and all types of communication skills. I was impressed with the insight our students brought, and how much they opened up with each other when given the opportunity to share different perspectives. It is our job to train them how to disagree, laugh at themselves, and remain friends.

We added historical context to a now-retired symbol of the university, reframing it in light of our duty as a new generation, and to be truly congruent with Christian values.

If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be?

The President….of the university, of the country…either one just to confirm the 2 or 3 reasons why I want that job, and the hundreds of reasons why I don’t. I am always looking for the reality of a situation, and how to lead better! But maybe John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough on a good day? Maybe someone in the room listening to Frederick Douglass.

Coffee or Tea?

Is it fair to say that I want tea but I need coffee? I make good coffee at home, and had the opportunity to experience espresso in Italy, but sometimes it is difficult to experience coffee the way it was intended. I enjoy tea, especially if I’m staying up late trying to concentrate. So, both, but I have also learned to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Trey with colleague/friends Dr. Veronica Ikeshoji-Orlati and Dr. Davide Zori, Director of the San Giuliano Archaeological Research Project, during Veronica’s visit to examine Italian ceramics in the Mayborn Collection. She then gave a lecture to students on ceramics and her experiences balancing skills in different professional environments.

Book/Author suggestion?

Definitely enjoy Bernard Cornwell’s books, and a couple of different series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It’s great escapism, and I usually learn something. Morality by Jonathan Sacks has a lot to chew on in our time.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Maybe a professional tent camper or wildlife biologist? I still love those things, but have since realized that there are mosquitos, I like to sleep well, and there’s joint pain. Now I get to enjoy the outdoors anytime I want by assisting the public with inquiries, doing exhibits research and identifying natural science specimens.

My wife’s 3rd grade class visiting the Museum in one of the first post-pandemic school groups in 2022!

What do you enjoy most about being a part of an academic museum?

Some museums have to go out and find experts. We do as well, but we just have to walk across the street. Someone at the university either is the expert, or has a few to network us to. I also get to be in the classroom during some times of the year, which keeps me connected to the students and what motivates them.

Opening of a collaborative exhibit project produced by the Mayborn Museum and graduate student Krista Barnum for the re-branding of the Baylor Department of Anthropology. Pictured are Barnum, Anthropology Chair Dr. Michael Muehlenbein, University President Dr. Linda A. Livingstone, Mayborn Museum Director Charlie Walter.

What are your hopes for our industry?

I believe the public trusts museums to present truth, and we should continually seek truth about ourselves and our world, even in times of social pressure. We must not lose the trust of the public, at it can be a difficult route to navigate. Museums are one of the social institutions people look toward for peace, hope, and fact to make decisions in daily life.

In a Wichita grass house during a visit with President Terri Parton of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, at the Wichita Tribal History Center in Anadarko, Oklahoma. Pictured are tribal elder James “Bunny” Ross, President Parton, Trey Crumpton, and Bobby Horner. This is a beginning to a relationship of collaboration for better history-telling in our cultural galleries.

Bonus: Do you have a favorite joke to share?

A traveler visited a monastery and as he walked past the kitchen saw a man frying potato slices. He laughed and asked, “Are you the friar?” He replied “No, I’m the chip monk…”

This one is from my son: “Why did the toad cross the road? He wanted to show his friends he had guts.”