Director's Welcome
Derek Briggs

Derek E.G. Briggs
Director, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

G. Evelyn Hutchinson Professor of Geology and Geophysics
Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology

One of the most fundamental challenges of the 21st Century is the documentation and conservation of the world's cultural and biological diversity. As part of a University with a strong commitment to environmental research, the Yale Peabody Museum, with its world-class collections (numbering over 13 million specimens and growing), is able to bring tremendous resources to bear in addressing this challenge. Our mission—to advance knowledge and a broad understanding of Earth's history, life and cultures—has never been more important. Every year, our Curators and staff conduct field research on every continent, while advanced technologies help us draw fresh information from specimens, some of which have been in the collections for decades. Our educational activities inspire people, especially children, with a love for the natural and cultural world and an appreciation of its importance to human health and wellbeing.


Global change brings new urgency to questions the Museum has asked throughout its distinguished history—what species exist on Earth, where they live, and how they have changed over time. It also means that increasing public understanding and engagement with these issues is of vital importance. Whether you visit us in person or online, whether you come to learn about our collections or simply have fun, I hope you will be excited to join us in this mission.


From the Director: Fall 2013

Throughout 2013, we are celebrating the influence of ancient Egyptian culture with Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs, our fabulous new temporary exhibition. Reflecting 2,000 years of fascination with ancient Egypt, Echoes of Egypt brings together art from all of Yale’s major libraries and museums, as well as important loans from institutions in the United States and around the world. Echoes of Egypt is on view now for a limited engagement – a unique and unprecedented opportunity not to be missed!


A smaller temporary exhibition celebrates a very different sort of emergence – that of the 17-year cicada, which appeared in huge numbers in certain Connecticut hotspots. Return of the 17-Year Cicadas! features Peabody specimens dating to 1843 and dramatic new video footage, telling the story of this amazing species and its remarkable life cycle. Together with our popular summer camp programs, it will keep the Museum buzzing throughout the summer.


Please mark your calendars for our slate of fall programs, including our 11th Annual ¡Fiesta Latina! on October 12th, and don’t miss Dr. Peter Crane, Dean of the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Curator of our Division of Paleobotany, who will begin our annual John H. Ostrom lecture series with a talk on the tree that time forgot—the ginkgo—on September 26th.



The Peabody at Yale

The Peabody Museum of Natural History is an administrative unit of Yale University, reporting through the Provost to the University, President and the Yale Corporation. The Yale Peabody Museum operates under the authority of the Yale Corporation, which appoints the Museum Director on the nomination of the President. The Museum’s Board of Curators is comprised of 19 full-time Yale faculty members, including the Director, who are appointed by the Corporation on nomination by the President. The current governance structure at the Museum integrates the academic expertise of its faculty curators with the professional skills of a full-time staff. The Director, aided by senior administrative staff, bears responsibility for management. In 1995, a formal collaboration was established among the Yale Peabody Museum, the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. This environmental partnership recognizes the Peabody Museum as a resource and catalyst for interdisciplinary research on the earth’s history and environment, and seeks to strengthen the intellectual ties between the Museum and other groups with a shared interest in environmental research at Yale. The Museum’s collections are a major component of the research and teaching activities of the Peabody and Yale. The Curators and staff are engaged in contributing new knowledge based on the Museum’s research materials and making this knowledge available to the general public and to specialized audiences. All collections are used in undergraduate and graduate teaching and research, as well as in public programs and exhibitions. The Yale Peabody Museum fills many important roles on the Yale University campus, particularly as it has expanded its role in the community and the region, thereby offering a “front door” to the University for the general public.


Engaging Our Communities | Download the report here [PDF 2.1 MB]


Officers of Yale University | Yale Peabody Museum Board of Curators