A few years ago I began bringing my son to certain college campuses. Not necessarily in the hopes he would want to attend the particular institution we were at, but to have a general sense of what it is all about to move from class to class in separate buildings. Being the third oldest university in the U.S., Yale had plenty of beautiful historic buildings scattered throughout campus, as well as modern facilities and grounds that were kept well manicured and appealing. However the surrounding community of New Haven was in shambles, and I would not have felt safe walking around at night. There were numerous blue light security stations, but it was sad seeing how many homeless folks were sleeping in the park that surrounds Old Campus, and the run down state of businesses and homes. Thankfully it was uneventful as we made our way through a few of their amazing museums.
The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History has three floors of collections, both permanent and rotating, of the Earth’s history and cultures. Adults are $13.00, 18 and under is $6.00, and those 3 and under, members, or ID holders, are free. The David Friend Hall is a must; adjacent to the Minerals, Earth, and Science Hall, it is a beautiful display of the most alien jewels on this earth. This was where both my son and I happily spent most of our time as we actually read about each gem and mineral. We didn’t spend terribly long walking the other exhibits and dioramas, but the weather had been nice so we took our time walking from the Peabody Museum over to the Art Gallery. I was fascinated with the Gothic look to a lot of the original buildings on campus so I took plenty of pictures, and since there were quite a few coffee shops around we grabbed a small bite to eat as well.
When we reached the free art museum, it was hard to tell how extensive the space actually was because there are three separate buildings that make up the space. Looking from the outside it seemed as if the main entrance was in the middle, older Gothic building, but it was actually through the modern building that had been added on the left. Then to the far right a third building was accessible by a connecting, elevated and enclosed walkway. It houses over 250,000 pieces of art from all over the world, dating back to ancient times through today, and was sectioned off in about a dozen different displays, all gorgeous. We could have spent much longer than the hour that we did, but I could tell my son was ready to go. His time with the campus over, but I left feeling like he could understand the possibilities of having so much knowledge at his fingertips.