Playing “I Spy” at the Yale University Art Museums in New Haven, CT

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The city of New Haven, Connecticut is most notably home to Ivy league Yale University, and Yale University (amongst other things) is home to two exceptional art museums, both free and open to the public year round. The Yale University Art Gallery (YUAG), founded in 1832, features nearly 300,000 objects in its collection. The YUAG is the oldest university art museum in America and includes plenty of classrooms, workshops, and opportunities for the public to both visit and study at the museum. The Yale Center for British Art  (YCBA) (located directly across the street) is the largest museum, located outside the United Kingdom, dedicated to British art, with over 20,000 drawings, 2,000 paintings, 250 sculptures, and 40,000 volumes in the museum’s research library. The museum opened to the public in 1977 and features four floors of permanent and rotating exhibits.

Travel Tips:

  • Both museums are closed on Monday; open Tuesday through Sunday with varying hours from 10am-5pm; check here for more information on YUAG and YCBA.
  • There is metered street parking available on  Chapel, York, and High Streets. LAZ operates two nearby parking garages: 161 York Street and 150 York Street. Check here for more information. 
  • Both museums are handicap accessible with elevators; strollers are allowed.
  • Coat rooms and lockers are available in both museums (any bag bigger than 11 x 14 must be stored in a locker). There are plenty of restrooms available on most floors of both museums.
  • Both museums offer plenty of activities and special events- check for family events at YUAG and YCBA.
  • Check here for a mobile app for YUAG and for YCBA.
  • There are no dining facilities on site at either museum, but New Haven offers dozens of restaurants within walking distance of both museums; a few good lists include this one, this one, and this one
  • There are small gift shop kiosks near the entrances to the museums; check online here and here.
  • Plan on approximately 90 minutes to fully explore YUAG and an hour to explore YCBA.
  • Note: Object checklist placards are located at the entrance of each exhibit space with descriptions of artist and heritage of each piece. Guests may also borrow stools, although there is also plenty of bench seating throughout many of the galleries.

Playing “I Spy” at the Yale Art Museums:

  1. Sculpture Terrace of YUAG (with great views of New Haven and plenty of fresh air!)  off the 4th floor of YUAG
  2. American jewelry and decorative arts from 1920s-1950s, which includes lots of serving pieces of the time period.  3rd floor of YUAG
  3. Collection of American silver- jewelry, flatware- pre 1900s. 2nd floor of YUAG
  4. Collection of busts of and medallions on 1st floor of YUAG
  5. The tomb of John Trumbull, buried beneath the stone of the 1st floor hall. 1st floor of YUAG

  1. Geometric paintings by artist Bridget Riley in her Perceptual Abstraction exhibition (through July 2022) (YCBA)
  2. Busts and paintings by 17th century artists in the Britain in the World exhibit (through December 2022) (YCBA)
  3. Father Time Coade stone sculpture by an unknown artist (one of over 200 sculptures in the museum’s collection) (YCBA)
  4. The various animals in the George Stubbs paintings. (YCBA)
  5. Attend a special program geared towards families and children, offered throughout the year- find more information here.

Looking for other nearby fun? Check out our City Guide to nearby Coastal Connecticut, our index of Connecticut posts 30 CT places we love (we’ll be updating this post soon to 50 places!) and where we love to eat in Connecticut.   And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

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6 Comments

  1. What a great way to engage young kids and to make visiting the museums fun and a great learning experience. I’m sure families would love this.

  2. What a GREAT idea!! Excellent way to get the kiddos interested and engaged with art. Brilliant! I wish I would have known about this when my kiddo was younger. Loved the tips too.

  3. It’s been several years since we visited the museum but it’s clear we didn’t see everything that has to offer. Thanks for the wonderful exclamations. We’ll have to go back soon.

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