Announcement - Reappointment of David Skelly

April 17, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

I am very pleased to announce the reappointment of David Skelly, Frank R. Oastler Professor of Ecology, as director of the Yale Peabody Museum for a third term of five years, effective July 1, 2024. This renewal reflects Professor Skelly’s exemplary leadership in spearheading the renovation and expansion of one of the world’s oldest and largest university museums.

Over the past decade, Professor Skelly has guided the Peabody Museum through reimagining what a university museum could and should be. The result is an expanded space that brims with reinvigorated scientific inquiry, interactive exhibits, and fossil mounts, including a redesigned Great Hall of Dinosaurs, to further spark the imagination of museum visitors. By emphasizing accessibility in its design and interactions, the museum boasts increased collection and classroom spaces to serve the Yale, greater New Haven, and surrounding communities.

Since Professor Skelly assumed his role in 2014, the Peabody has raised over $250 million to advance the renovation project and provide free admission in perpetuity. As part of these achievements, the museum established a $35 million endowment to support the hiring of faculty curators in collaboration with departments and schools across the university. Professor Skelly has also taken meaningful steps to deepen and broaden the museum’s relationships with other cultural heritage institutions both on and off campus, as well as with individual collectors. In 2017, for example, the Peabody welcomed the Yale Babylonian Collection within the museum’s Division of Anthropology.

Under Professor Skelly’s leadership, the Peabody has expanded access to its collection of 14 million objects for scholars and students working in a range of academic disciplines and strengthened its link with Yale’s university initiatives. The Peabody Office of Student Programs, founded in 2016, supports classroom instruction, provides imaging and recording resources, and facilitates research and teaching across twenty departments and professional schools. Over the past eight years, the number of Yale courses and individual students interacting with the Peabody has more than doubled, and the strongly student-facing infrastructure of the renovated museum will make it even easier for student and faculty engagement. Professor Skelly has also worked closely with colleagues at the School of Architecture to design and build a new research station on Horse Island and to support marine and coastal projects.

I send my thanks to all in the Peabody community who contributed to the reappointment review process. One recurring theme among the comments I received was appreciation for the steadfast commitment Professor Skelly displayed during a period of transformation and growth for a museum that has become ever more dynamic and accessible.

Professor Skelly has led the Peabody with great distinction, and I am certain the museum will continue to thrive with him at the helm. Please join me in thanking Professor Skelly for all that he does for the museum, in congratulating him on his reappointment, and in sending him best wishes for the years ahead.


Peter Salovey
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology