Thursday, July 3, 2014

New Haven, CT: What I Saw

After my stay in Worcester, I headed a few hours south to New Haven, Connecticut to do work at the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

New Haven is an interesting place. 

Everyone in Worcester was like "OMG it's so scary be careful!" My friend Ashley, who is from New Haven, was like "you've survived Memphis for years, you'll be fine...just stay near campus." And, also from Ashley: "It's sort of like Memphis actually. Really nice parts, nice little street, really safe, then BAM! oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit."

It's not scary. 

But Ashely absolutely was right. 

About a block west of the Apple Store? Nope. About a block south of Chapel? Nope. But I never felt unsafe or like I didn't realize yeah, I should turn around.

When I got into town, I went to my apartment. I used AirBnB for the first time on this trip and it was, without a doubt, one of the best traveling decisions I've ever made. Basically you rent out apartments of people who are out of town or who have extra space (although I've only rented entire apartments). I think this is much cheaper/easier than a hotel, especially if you're staying on a tight budget (which grad students perpetually are) or for a long period of time. Having access to a full kitchen and a full apartment is fantastic. 

Luckily for me as well, Lauren, my first host, also has an amazing apartment and excellent taste!

Um, I need to do this.

So much light!

The cutest!

That giant red chair almost got packed in my suitcase...

And a full kitchen!

Best of all, Lauren's apartment was just on the edge of campus, and her landlord, who met me with the key, was amazing. He showed me the best way to get to campus, how to use the laundry room, where to avoid, and greeted me whenever I passed. Just a great place to stay!

I got to New Haven late afternoon on Saturday, so I hit up a grocery store and explored the neighborhood a bit. After running to the Apple Store for a forgotten cord, I went to a little market just up the street, Gourmet Heaven.

While it was a little pricey (think a small Whole Foods), it had a good selection and super friendly employees.

And some great scenery on the way.

On Sunday, since all of the archives were closed but most of the museums were open, I decided to see how many museums I could make it to in one day. 

Nerd Challenge!

First up, the Yale Center for British Art.

The YCBA has a great collection of British Art from the early modern and modern periods. Most of it is later than my time period, or landscapes (meh...), but the museum is still great. When I do research I spend most of the time in the museum library (no, I don't just wander around and look at art all day) so it was nice to get to see some of the art at my leisure!

Like my girl, and one of my dissertation subjects, Mary of Modena, queen consort to James II.

One of my favorite allegorical painting of Henry VIII. A giant "fuck you" to Catholicism, Mary I, and Henry's gout-induced obesity basically.

British art is the best.

Also at the YCBA, they had the best gift shop, with lots of British themed kitsh, including all this:

So. Much. Doctor. Who.

After the YCBA, I headed across the street to the Yale University Art Gallery. 

It's housed in a beautiful building on the south side of Yale's campus. 

They had lots of amazing artifacts, including a Mithraeum. I took plenty of pictures for my students, who always think Mithras is the best.

Lots of ancient American art as well, which is always a big hit with my students.

Of course even the stairways at Yale have faux stained glass. 


Holbein, my boy.

Next it was all the way to the other side of campus, to the Peabody Natural History Museum. This is the only one of Yale's museums that costs to get in - not much, just $5, and totally worth it. 

The directions that I was given were "keep walking until you see the building with the giant dinosaur."

They weren't kidding. 

On the way I got to see some pretty sights too. 


My yard WILL have pink flamingos someday. Sorry, Kyle.

Yale is beautiful.

But back to the Natural History Museum.

(Every time I go to a natural history museum I'm convinced it's a "this is old and cool, but not a specific category of things - to the natural history museum it goes!")

For those keeping count, that's 3 museums. But I had one more left to get in all four at Yale!

I played flute in high school, so the exhibit on woodwinds and flutes was really interesting to me. 

No I did not go to band camp.


The museum is pretty standard, but upstairs is a real treasure. It's an audio tour of this huge room full of harpsichords and pianos from the early modern and modern period where you walk around, listen a bit, and then someone on the audio (they give you a little iPod) plays that actual instrument. Yeah, I've heard someone play a 17th century harpsichord.


Four museums in one day!

Nerd achievement unlocked!


On Monday, I started doing my work in the archives, which is not terribly interesting...and I'm counting on you all to buy my dissertation when it gets made into a book, so I don't want to give the whole thing away. :)

But I did spend a lot of time at the Beinecke, which is one of my favorite archives ever. 

And it's where the books live!

Selfie with the books!

All in all, New Haven is a beautiful town especially around campus. Tomorrow I'll be back with what I ate/did (spoiler alert: Dolly Parton and a giant burger are the stars of the show).

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