Yale Peabody Museum to Reopen Hall of Minerals

SourcingJul 08, 2024

Yale Peabody Museum to Reopen Hall of Minerals

The Connecticut museum will unveil the newly renovated galleries on July 9.

Yale Peabody Museum quartz sandstone concretion
More than 170 specimens, including the quartz sandstone concretion pictured above, will be on display in its upgraded Minerals, Earth, and Space halls, the museum said.
New Haven, Conn.—The Yale Peabody Museum in Connecticut is reopening its Minerals, Earth, and Space halls this week.

The galleries, newly upgraded as part of a museum-wide renovation, will become open to the public on July 9. 

More than 170 specimens, some of them the largest and rarest of their kind, the museum said, will be on display.

The David Friend Hall, which contains some of the museum’s mineral and gem displays, has been upgraded with new customized cases and LED lighting, as well as event seating for up to 125 people.

The new galleries will showcase free-standing, large-scale minerals—such as a 1,900-pound quartz crystal from Namibia—as well as small-scale specimens displayed in rotating visual cases.   

The David Friend Hall at the Yale Peabody Museum
The David Friend Hall at the Yale Peabody Museum contains this nearly 2,000-pound quartz crystal from Namibia.

Presented in a “frozen fireworks display” at the entrance is a 436-pound stibnite. 

It was donated by owner, founder and president of The Arkenstone, Robert Lavinsky, who also donated a large stibnite to an Arizona gem museum earlier this year. 

The Yampol Family and The Mineral Trust, who are among many donors and lenders who contributed to the project, loaned more than 200 specimens to the museum, including the “The Rocket,” the largest elbaite specimen recovered from a legendary Brazilian mine, according to the Peabody. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

In 2020, the Peabody began renovating the entire museum, expanding its total gallery space by 50 percent.

The first two floors, which included dinosaur exhibits, reopened in March, and additional galleries opened in April. This week’s opening of the Minerals, Earth and Space halls will be followed by the final reopening, the Hall of the Pacific, set to take place later this summer.

David Skelly, director of the Yale Peabody Museum, said he has seen “enormous anticipation” from visitors about the reopening of the gem and mineral collections and the David Friend Hall, which first opened in 2016 in time for the Peabody’s 150th anniversary. 

The museum said it demonstrated “what a contemporary museum experience could be,” and ultimately influenced the decision to renovate the entire museum. 

“David Friend Hall and the surrounding galleries exhibit some of the rarest and most extraordinary specimens in the world. This hall inspired us to rethink the entire museum when it first opened years ago. Now, with new exhibits and features, it looks more stunning than ever,” said Skelly.

Philanthropist David Friend had an interest in minerals since his childhood, which later sparked in him an interest in crystals, chemistry and other sciences. This led to an eventual career in engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1969, double majoring in engineering and music. 

In 2014, Friend joined the 22-member Peabody Leadership Council, which the museum said provides philanthropic support and advocacy for the Peabody’s academic mission to advance knowledge and understanding of Earth’s history, life, and cultures.

“I envisioned a mineral gallery for Yale designed to inspire rather than lecture. So, we chose specimens that are jaw-droppingly beautiful, the room is subtly lit so that the specimens themselves shine, and there is a minimum of descriptive labelling. I want visitors to leave this hall overwhelmed by the beauty of what they have seen and anxious to go home and learn more, or even start collecting minerals themselves,” David Friend said. 

The Yale Peabody Museum gem hall
The upgraded galleries feature customized cases and new LED lighting.
The Peabody is home to one of the nation’s oldest collections of gems and minerals and the oldest meteorite collection in North America, the museum said. 

It contains nearly 100,000 mineral specimens and over 3,000 meteorites, along with some of the most significant private mineral collections in the United States, the museum said. 

The Peabody is open to visitors Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. 

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