Local Residents Celebrate the New (and Old) Peabody

Thousands visit the new museum after four-year renovation

By Steven Scarpa, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications

As soon as New Haven native Dani Barnett found out the date of the Peabody’s opening, she made sure to take off from work so she could share her childhood experience with her two grandchildren.

“It’s so good to be back here,” said Barnett. “I think it’s something that everyone in New Haven should utilize.”

Over the course of the museum’s first week open after a four-year renovation, thousands of people from the region streamed through the Peabody’s doors, many of whom hoped that the new museum would live up to their nostalgic view of the old one.

Sixth grade students from the Augusta Lewis Troup School and first grade students from the Family Academy of Multilingual Exploration (FAME), both in New Haven, were the first to see the Museum on opening day, followed by the public. All Peabody tickets, available either by reservation or via walk-up, are free.  

Among those people were thousands who remembered the old Peabody, could talk about the huge squid, the pendulum clock, the murals, and the Brontosaurus all as treasured parts of their childhoods. As adults, they found that the new Peabody, with its increased gallery space and dynamic new dinosaur mounts, didn’t disappoint.

“It is absolutely wonderful,” said Noah Bielinski, one of the first people to visit at the March 26 opening.

“So far, it has been amazing. I had no idea,” said Stephanie Kristy, who took a moment during the day to rest in the comfortable chairs in the new Central Gallery with her parents and her 10-month-old son.

East Haven resident Stacey Bonet visited many times as a kid and grew up assuming everyone had access to a cool natural history museum in their backyard. Like Barnett, Bonet saw coming to the museum as a rite of passage for New Haven kid, so she brought along her children, Lola, 12, and Tito, age 9, to check it out. “I think it’s just fantastic,” she said after a tour of the museum. “It’s spacious. There’s just so much to do and see.”

While she praised the new aspects of the Peabody, there were some aspects that still scratched that nostalgic itch. “You are still walking into that big Gothic entry way,” Bonet said.

Ella Teixeira, 14, copped to being so excited for the Peabody to reopen that she was a little nervous before she arrived. But, after a tour around the museum, all was well. “I have been waiting for years for the museum to reopen,” said Ella, who was there on opening day with her dad Armando. “This museum is my childhood – I am a big dinosaur nerd.”

Ella noticed that the museum was brighter and that the exhibits in the Burke Hall of Dinosaurs were “so much cooler.” But, in the end, Ella gushed about the refurbished “Age of Reptiles” mural – it’s her favorite.

Last updated on April 9, 2024

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