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“Gorgeous rare books in a spectacular marble building!”

Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Ranked #5 of 59 things to do in New Haven
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Northampton
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Gorgeous rare books in a spectacular marble building!”
Reviewed January 1, 2014

Gutenberg Bible housed in a spectacular building, of Vermont marble and granite, bronze and glass, designed by Gordon Bunshaft.

Visited August 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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178 reviews from our community

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Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Must see”
Reviewed December 29, 2013

This place is a must see in New Haven! Even for non-bibliophiles, the central book stack is a spectacular sight. I loved that it was free to wander in, look in the vitrines at very old and significant books, and to learn a little bit from the display texts. The building itself is really interesting, and if you go on the Yale tour, they'll tell you about it in more detail.

Visited August 2013
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1 Thank Kristen N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Haven, Connecticut
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Jewelbox of Learning”
Reviewed November 26, 2013

New Haven Ct. has been long known as "the Little Athens" for it's collection of buildings from the greatest architects in the world. Architecture students have long regarded it as a laboratory where prime examples of almost all of the architectural styles of the last 200 years can be seen & studied in one fairly small area. The Beineke Librbary , built in 1963 is. for me, the jewel in the crown. Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill built an astounding example of form following function. It is a "perfectly" proportioned rectangle of marble squares, (seemingly) sitting on 4 massive pyramidal pillars. One would guess that the windowless box must be dark & gloomy inside. Upon entry, exactly the opposite is the case. The marble panels that make up the sides of the box are actually translucent, flooding the interior with a warm, golden light. (which is also kind to the precious books & manuscripts stored within). The vast open space is dominated by the central, glass enclosed, stacks of shelving housing the volumes & surrounded by a mezzanine with display cases. A stroll around the mezzanine allows an appreciation of the space from all sides. In fact, only about 12% of the mass of the building is supported on the external pillars. Actually, most of the structure is held up by the central structure of the multi - story, temp. & humidity controlled stacks. It's a magical, cathedral of human learning. The cases on the mezzanine display current items from the collection. On my last visit there, I saw one of Yale's Guttenburg Bibles, a folio edition of Audubon's "Birds of N. America", & some of Benjamin Franklin's papers. This is the largest space dedicated to rare books & manuscripts in the world & it's design & execution is worthy of the priceless treasure it holds. Of course, the stacks, underground reading rooms, & collections are off limits to casual visitors. Even the objects on display are encased in airtight glass, so a visit here will probably be less than an hour, but it will be an hour very well spent.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank James K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Haven, Connecticut
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“I love the Beinecke”
Reviewed November 25, 2013

First thing first, I work some times at the Beinecke, so for me it is not just a tourist attraction. I love working with old books! That being said, whenever a friend comes to Campus at Yale, I bring them to the Beinecke: why? To see Gutenberg Bible to start, to see the fantastic building with translucent marble window, to see the impressive glass tower with rare books and manuscripts inside, or to admire one of the fantastic exhibitions that they routinely host. Their best exhibition to date, according to my opinion was the one on Alchemic manuscripts! I totally recommend this as a visit to anyone on Yale Campus.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Ele_11_979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Haven, Connecticut
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Go on a sunny day!”
Reviewed November 21, 2013

If you are in town on a sunny afternoon, stop in the library and walk up to the second floor. You will see the light actually coming through the translucent marble panes. Amazing.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank TravelNH_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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