Renovated Peabody Museum to offer free admission — forever

A brontosaurus skeleton in the Peabody’s renovated main hall.

The Yale Peabody Museum announced today that it will offer free admission in perpetuity once its galleries reopen in 2024, following the museum’s first major renovation in nearly a century.

The Peabody, which continues to operate many of its programs online, will join the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art as free public admission museums.

This has been part of the plan from the beginning and donors to the Peabody made this possible,” says David Skelly, the Peabody Museum director. “I am deeply grateful to all of them for their leadership in helping us realize a vision for the museum’s future.”

The Peabody has received a number of significant contributions from local and national donors through its continuing efforts to support public education and student programs, including a landmark $160 million gift in 2018 from Edward P. Bass ’68.

Founded in 1866, the Yale Peabody Museum is one of the world’s oldest and largest university museums of its kind. Home to over 14 million objects and specimens across 10 distinct collections, it preserves and displays more than four billion years of Earth and human history. It has long served as a gateway to science for the Greater New Haven community, hosting exhibitions and public programs that connect tens of thousands of visitors each year with the latest research occurring at Yale and around the world.

The Peabody and its collections are a tremendous asset to the university,” said Yale University President Peter Salovey. “They enhance the student experience and are used extensively by faculty in their research and teaching. Increasing access through free admission will help us to enrich the lives of individuals from our home city and state and of visitors from around the world.”

The renovated museum will feature a new K-12 Education Center with dedicated classrooms for local schoolchildren, a light-filled Central Gallery designed to host outreach events year-round, and a new outdoor courtyard space for community gatherings. And, of course, there will be dinosaurs: alongside a wealth of newly displayed fossil material, the first Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops specimens ever discovered will stand beneath Rudolph Zallinger’s celebrated “The Age of Reptiles” mural in the redesigned Great Hall of Dinosaurs. In all, the museum’s total gallery space will expand by over 50%.

Free admission is a means, not the end,” said Skelly. “It’s a tool in a much larger effort toward becoming a more accessible and welcoming institution. We view the renovation and the changes in admissions and programming as an opportunity to become the Peabody Museum our community needs, because that’s the museum we want to be.”

The Yale Peabody Museum’s galleries are scheduled to reopen in early 2024. Track the progress of the renovation at Peabody Evolved or by following the museum on social media.

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Media Contact

Karen N. Peart: karen.peart@yale.edu, 203-980-2222