NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – “It is thrilling. It’s also a worldwind,” says Kailen Rogers, Associate Director of Exhibitions at the Yale Peabody Museum.
Every day, find a delicate team sport as employees are once again displaying artifacts from the Mesoamerican collection.
Daily strides are being made in preparing for the grand re-opening in early 2024.
“As a mount maker, our best work is stuff that you can’t see,” says Steven Hurlburt, lead exhibition mount maker.
He believes the artifacts will now speak for themselves with no distraction from what holds them.
Next door in a gallery about ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt, Associate Curator of the Yale Babylonian Collection, Agnete Lassen, shows off the first-ever authored pieces of literature.
One was written by a woman in 2350 BCE.
“These have never been on display in a public museum before,” says Lassen, noting that the pieces come from the area that is now Syria and Iraq.
“The case here is another one of our highlight pieces, it holds one of the world’s first cookbooks, almost 4,000 years old,” says Lassen.
The museum’s new look is matched with a new mission: To tell stories about everyday people, not just royalty and the elite.
See ancient math homework which modern-day visitors can relate to.
“We’re hoping to open the new Peabody as a place where more people feel it’s a space for them,” says Rogers, adding that there’s now more museum to enjoy. “When we re-open, we’ll have about 50 percent more gallery space than we did when we closed.”
She says the crew is having fun, solving puzzles, like how to properly display a 900-pound sarcophagus from ancient Egypt.
“We had to do a lot of work on figuring out how to engineer a case this tall with doors to open on both sides,” she explains.
Expect increased accessibility and engagement with the public. Precision in thought and work is resulting in a fresh institution that will educate and inspire.
“I think visitors will be completely shocked and excited when they walk into this space. It’s a completely new Peabody,” says Hurlburt.
Community members and Yale students will have the chance to write some of the exhibit labels – rather than museum curators – to ensure that they are relatable and conversational.
The museum will offer free admission when it re-opens.
Stay tuned! News 8 will continue to provide preview pieces in advance of the museum’s re-opening.