A Museum for a Modern World

Central Gallery - North View

Overall Goals

Add welcoming spaces for more exhibitions and programs; Improve care of and access to our collections; Create new opportunities for Yale students to work with us; Expand educational services for schools; Make it easier to get around the Museum; Increase our energy efficiency and environmental sustainability

Focus Areas


The new Peabody Museum is designed to be accessible to all. From large elevators to touchable fossils, our expanded and renovated spaces will serve visitors of all ages and abilities. We look forward to welcoming members of the public and the Yale community to explore, create, and make lifelong memories.

overview shot from SE corner of Whitney and Sachem, showing entrances and garden

Outside the Museum

  • Four building entrances featuring gentle inclines
  • A route from public parking that avoids street crossings
  • A school bus zone leading directly to a special group entrance
  • Rendering of Museum Lobby

    Inside the Museum

  • Two large public elevators
  • State-of-the-art inclusive bathrooms, wellness rooms, and water fountains
  • Reception desks and other furnishings at accessible heights
  • Wide doors and pathways and clear circulation paths
  • Quiet areas—and spaces where it’s okay to be loud
  • Rendering of new Great Hall

    In the Galleries

  • Touchable objects and large, high-contrast text
  • Assistive listening devices and visually descriptive audio tours
  • Sensory-friendly events and visiting hours
  • Multilingual audio programming
  • Seating in every gallery
  • Storytelling from a range of perspectives
  • We are stewards of natural history, but also promote, educate, and advocate for the natural future, including renovating the Peabody Museum in a way that respects natural resources and enhances the experience of visitors and staff. The 13 million objects in our collections tell the three-billion-year history of life on Earth, which Peabody scientists use to study the impact environment and climate change have on the quality and composition of life. From the outside in, we have found ways to protect resources and improve accessibility and well-being for our visitors.

    Our new and renovated buildings promote sustainability in four ways:



    Monitoring and reducing our carbon footprint



    Reducing indoor and outdoor water consumption and controlling stormwater



    Improving accessibility getting to and within the museum



    Providing education and access to all in a healthy environment

    Cretaceous Garden


  • Native plants for less water consumption and more insect pollinators
  • Outdoor seating areas for relaxation
  • Improved bike and pedestrian access
  • Rainwater runoff systems that allow water to soak into the ground
  • Peabody Museum Tower


  • Insulation retrofit to minimize heating/cooling and save energy
  • Double-glazed windows throughout
  • 50% reduction in energy use overall
  • Innovative heat recovery chiller to reclaim waste heat
  • LEED Gold certification anticipated
  • Rendering of the new Central Gallery

    Galleries & Visitor Amenities

  • Natural lighting where possible
  • Low-toxicity paints and building materials, and FSC-certified wood
  • Low-energy LED lighting
  • Green cleaning policy
  • 35% indoor water use reduction (<20 gallons/person/day)
  • Bottle-fillers to discourage bottled water use
  • Rendering of classroom space in the new Museum

    Offices & Staff Features

  • Environmentally responsible office furnishing materials
  • Common electronic resources, swap desks, and kitchen facilities
  • Showers for bike commuters
  • Open floor plan offices with meeting rooms
  • Photo of compactorized collections storage

    Collections Storage

  • Integrated pest management plan – pest monitoring to avoid pesticide use
  • Heating and cooling shutdowns during unoccupied hours
  • Compact cabinets and gasketed doors to buffer climate
  • Auction and salvage of outdated cabinets and furniture