Yale Places to Visit
In addition to serving a critical role in supporting teaching and learning for Yale faculty and students, many of Yale’s extensive collections are made accessible to the public, enriching teaching and learning in the broader community. Thousands of local students take class visits to these sites every year—examining paintings up close at the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art, learning about daily life in Ancient Egypt at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, or observing Mars in the night sky at the Leitner Family Observatory and Planetarium.
These museums eagerly welcome student visitors during out of school time as well, with admission to the galleries always free and open to the public. The Peabody Museum welcomes all visitors free of charge on Thursday afternoons, as well as for special community events like Fiesta Latina! and Summer’s Last Roar. Likewise, the Leitner Planetarium hosts weekly free planetarium shows and public observing nights, where visitors are encouraged to peer through the telescope on clear nights to observe the planets or special celestial eclipses or comets.
These institutions house only a portion of Yale’s collections that are freely accessible to the public. The Cushing Center, located in Yale’s Medical Library, honors Harvey Cushing, M.D., the founder of modern neurosurgery. On display are dramatic black and white portraits of his patients, as well as more than 400 jars containing specimen brains and the tumors he excised. The Center offers weekly guided tours of its collection for the public. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is renowned for its Gutenberg Bible, permanently housed on the library’s mezzanine, but also curates rotating exhibits drawn from its extensive collection on the first floor.
For outdoor lovers, Yale’s Marsh Botanical Garden, whose extensive plant collection supports ecological teaching and research at the university, hosts monthly public open house events and weekly guided tours of its six greenhouses. At Yale’s West Campus, the urban farm is always open to the Yale community. Visitors are welcome to come help tend the farm, harvest produce, or just relax. On scheduled volunteer days, the farm manager introduces the farm and provides helpful seasonal growing tips.