Art lovers have called New Haven home for years. That is because the art community here is very vast and very diverse. New Haven, with the help of great universities, has curated an art collection comparable to world-renowned museums.
With many collections ranging from modern American History to Latin America, Ancient Egypt, and more, the museums in New Haven will take you back in time.
Love dinosaurs? There is a museum for you.
Want something fun for the kids and the whole family? There is definitely something here for you.
Some of the museums in New Haven have live exhibits, live lectures or films and concerts, and many other interactive ways for you to enjoy modern art.
We found the best museums in New Haven so that no matter which one you pick, you know you are getting the best experience.
Some of them have free admission on certain days too, so be sure to be on the lookout for that.
The 6 top museums in New Haven
Yale Center for British Art
Nestled on Chapel Street, the Yale Center for British Art is the home of some of America’s best British Art.
The Yale Center for British Art holds the biggest collection of British Art that is not in the United Kingdom, making this museum a premiere destination.
The art ranges from works in media from The Elizabethan era, all the way to modern history. That’s over 500 years of curated British Art.
The Yale Center for British Art holds exhibitions all year, and different programs like lectures, films, concerts, symposia, family events, and private or public tours.
They are open from Tuesday until Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and on Sundays from noon to 5 pm.
The Yale Center for British art also has a gift shop, and the museum is completely free and open to anyone to visit.
Connecticut Children’s Museum
On the corner of Wall Street, the Connecticut Children’s Museum is an interactive, inclusive, and innovative museum with awesome hands-on exhibits.
There are 8 rooms housing the exhibits, and there is an observation beehive.
The Great Green Room from Goodnight Moon is one of the most popular hands-on exhibits, and the pint-size post office is perfect for the kids to really immerse themselves and enjoy the exhibit!
Their regular hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am until 4 pm. Admission for adults is $14.75 and includes the planetarium show.
Children from 2 to 12 and seniors 62 years old and up are $13.75. Every ticket includes the immersive planetarium show.
The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments
The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is calling all music lovers!
Not only do you get to appreciate the history of music, but you can see the evolution of musical instruments and hear music from European traditions.
The American music traditions are mixed in and they even put on a concert series that is in seasons, from April to September. There are over 800 16th through the 20th century musical instruments that represent American and European music traditions.
The Yale Collection of Musical Instruments is open September through July and on Tuesdays through Fridays from 1 pm to 4 pm. Sundays, they are open from 1 pm to 5 pm.
August is the only month they are closed. For admission, they request a $2 donation.
Eli Whitney Museum
The historic Eli Whitney Museum is a stone’s throw away from New Haven.
The museum is meant to appreciate Eli Whitney’s life, all his inventions, and his legacy.
The historic exhibits are accompanied by a water learning lab and a few study areas outdoors.
The Eli Whitney Museum barn has been there since the year 1816, and still holds many special events year-round.
Their hours vary by season. From Labor Day to Memorial Day, they are open on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm, and on Sundays from noon to 5pm.
Then, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, they are open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm. The water learning lab is open every weekend from May through October.
Admission is completely free, but you can build your own walk-in projects with a small fee of $10 to $12.
Shore Line Trolley Museum
The Shore Line Trolley Museum can take you back in time to the 20th century when trolleys were the sole method of transportation and you can learn all about how they were built and maintained.
The Shore Line Trolley Museum is a very large trolley yard that showcases the old trolley systems.
Come learn all the stories behind painted trolleys, see the trolley equipment from the 20th century, and view many photos from that time period too.
Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History is the largest and oldest university museum in the entire world.
The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History was founded by George Peabody, a well-known philanthropist in 1866. The Peabody Museum is home to a vast variety of interesting items.
The Great Hall of Dinosaurs is its most famous, showcasing a 34-meter mural called the ‘Age of Reptiles’.
You can also take in curated exhibits commemorating mammal and human evolution, and unique wildlife dioramas.
Their Egyptian artifacts and minerals are one of a kind and a must-see! The Yale Peabody Museum should be at the top of your must-see list if you are in New Haven!
Their hours are normal, but they are closed on Mondays. The average time people spend is about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Sunday, they are open from noon to 5 pm, while Tuesday Through Saturday, they are open from 10 am to 5 pm.
Oh, and admission is free.
Make a day or a weekend out of trying the best museums in New Haven. There are plenty more to see, but, for a mix of the best New Haven has to offer for world history, our picks are sure to satisfy your art-loving needs.
Yale has been a big contributor to many New Haven museums, but admission and entry are open to the public and are sometimes even free.
You can’t go wrong with a nice museum day in New Haven!