A university has a peculiar opportunity to broaden greatly the common vision of the values of a museum in our general community life.
— Yale president James Rowland Angell to Richard Swann Lull, 1923
The Yale Peabody Museum was the first university natural history museum to establish a public education department. In January 1926, the School Services Department opened its doors with the new Peabody Museum building to serve local public schoolchildren. At that time, Yale president James Rowland Angell encouraged Peabody’s director, Richard Swann Lull, to reach out to area public schools so that the Museum’s pioneering evolution-based exhibitions could be used as teaching tools. To fulfill this broader public mission, Lull invited public school classes to explore the Museum, using child-friendly exhibits and guest lectures.
The Peabody’s commitment as a robust resource for area public school students, in New Haven and beyond, continues today. Almost a century later, offerings and opportunities are enhanced through online outreach and virtual programming, based on world-class collections and research.