Celebrating 150 Years of the Peabody Museum

Yale University is home to some of the most impressive campus museums in the world. Its


Ribbon with George Peabody’s face.

earliest museum, The Peabody Museum of Natural History, is an example of why they are so exciting. Since its founding in 1866, the Peabody has become one of the main attractions for visitors to both Yale and New Haven – from its inception, the Museum was far more than a simple campus repository for oddities or study aids. Its 13 million specimens, a selection of which are on display in the Library through December 2016, represent ten areas of study and are the fruit of thousands of hours of exploration:



  • Anthropology
  • Botany
  • Entomology
  • Historical Scientific Instruments
  • Invertebrate Paleontology
  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Mineralogy and Meteoritics
  • Paleobotany
  • Vertebrate Paleontology
  • Vertebrate Zoology

Moreover, the Peabody’s Mission reaches far beyond the gates of the University:

“The mission of the Peabody Museum is to serve Yale University by advancing our understanding of earth’s history through geological, biological, and anthropological research, and by communicating the results of this research to the widest possible audience through publication, exhibition, and educational programs. Fundamental to this mission is stewardship of the Museum’s rich collections, which provide a remarkable record of the history of the earth, its life, and its cultures. Conservation, augmentation


Fiji Coral and illustration by Alfred Agate, brought back by U.S Exploring Expedition.  This is one of the thousands of specimens from this expedition.

and use of these collections become increasingly urgent as modern threats to the diversity of life and culture continue to intensify.”


We hope the collection will whet members’ appetites to learn more about the museum, its history, and its mission of education and conservation. To tide them over until they can make a trip up to New Haven, the staff has pulled a small collection of books from our shelves related to the museum and its collections. Check one out today.

This exhibition was curated by Andrea DaRif, with assistance from Ellen Iseman, Stephen Scher, Andrea Dorfman, and Christina Kasman. Generous assistance was also provided by Richard Kissel, Thomas Near, and Rosemary Volpe of the Peabody Museum.

Photography by Robert Lorenz.

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