What Is the Brooklyn Museum?

B. Turner

The Brooklyn Museum is the second largest museum in New York City after the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This facility sits near Brooklyn's Prospect Park, and can be reached by subway from Manhattan in about 30 minutes. The Brooklyn Museum houses a collection of more than 1.5 million works of art and historical artifacts in a classic Beaux Arts building. Despite its size and its massive collection, this museum often attracts smaller crowds than those found at museums in Manhattan, making it a popular attraction with tourists.

The Brooklyn Museum has a mummy exhibition.
The Brooklyn Museum has a mummy exhibition.

In 1897, work was completed on the Brooklyn Museum, and the public was able to enjoy its extensive collection for the first time. Part of the appeal of this museum lies in the building itself, which was designed based on the Beaux Arts style of architecture. This design style is heavily inspired by the French Baroque, and incorporates high ceilings, statuary, and sculpture and large arched windows.

The Brooklyn Museum sits near Brooklyn's Prospect Park and can be reached by subway from Manhattan in about 30 minutes.
The Brooklyn Museum sits near Brooklyn's Prospect Park and can be reached by subway from Manhattan in about 30 minutes.

While the museum features nearly half a million square feet (46,500 square meters) of floor space, the original plans were even more staggering, and called for more a structure more than four times this size. For its first 100 years, the facility operated under the name Brooklyn Museum. On its 100th anniversary, the name was briefly changed to Brooklyn Museum of Art, but was then switched back in 2004.

The collection at the Brooklyn Museum includes many different types of art work. A 4,000 pieces Egyptian collection is a major attraction for visitors, and include unique artifacts as well as an Egyptian mummy. The museum also houses an extensive array of American art, including works by Georgia O'Keeffe and Normal Rockwell. The Brooklyn Museum is widely-recognized for its African and Asian exhibits, as well as its outdoor sculpture garden that features salvaged architectural pieces. The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art houses the museum's unique collection of feminist art work.

Visitors to the Brooklyn Museum are asked to pay a suggested donation rate that varies by age. Children under the age of 12 enjoy free admission. These fees are combined with funding from state and local governments to finance the operations of the museum and expand its collections. Visitors can also take part in art classes and arts education lectures in the facility's education center. One popular draw is the free "First Saturdays" program, during which the museum stays open late for dancing, drinks, and art appreciation during the first Saturday night of each month.

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Discussion Comments


@TreeMan - If you have the time, I would give yourself at least one day for each museum. It comes down to a matter of personal preference, but I like to take my time and not feel rushed when I go to the museum.

When you think about the Brooklyn Museum having more than 1.5 million pieces of art and artifacts, it doesn't seem possible that you could ever see everything even in one day.

If you had to make a choice between the two, I have no idea which one to recommend to you. Fortunately, I have been to both of them, and each of them has their own unique displays and works of art.

You can't go wrong with either one of them, and I always the smaller crowds at the Brooklyn Museum. It has a slower, relaxing pace that I find very soothing.


Not everybody enjoys spending time in museums, but even my husband, who is one of those people, enjoyed visiting the Brooklyn Museum.

He was mostly interested in seeing all the Egyptian artifacts they had on display. Even before he saw this display, he was impressed with the lofty feeling of this museum.

The high ceilings and arched windows certainly add to the charm of the building and the displays.

Come to find out, he was just as fascinated with the outdoor sculpture garden as he was with the exhibits inside.

After such a successful and interesting visit to the Brooklyn Museum I am hoping he will join me for future visits to different museums.

I always find so much to learn and explore when I visit a museum that is rich in culture and history.


When I was on a trip to New York, visiting the Brooklyn Museum was on my to do list. I had been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art before, and was looking forward to checking out this museum.

It was just my luck that I was there on the first Saturday of the month, not knowing about their First Saturday free special.

When I was there I got a ticket to come back in the evening and was glad I did. They only give away tickets while supplies last, and that day they gave away all the tickets that were available.

This was a very enjoyable evening of free art and entertainment. The museum even offered sandwiches and salads. Visiting museums in different cities is one of my favorite things to do.

If you are planning to be in New York City, this is definitely one to add to your list of places to visit.


I am currently planning a vacation to New York City and I am wondering if I should visit both of these museums.

It seems to me that both of these museums have something good to offer and something that I would enjoy, but I would like to see a variety of things as opposed to exhibits that only deal with one discipline.

It would make sense that I would go to the Brooklyn Museum if I am looking for variety, but I would completely miss out on what the Metropolitan Museum has to offer in their art.

Is there any way that one can visit both of these museums in the same day or is it better to give them both a day apiece?


@matthewc23- That may be true, but would that not meant that the museum has a much larger audience?

I know the the Metropolitan Museum tends to attract a more professional audience, but does that not minimize the number of people that show?

I would think that a place like the Brooklyn Museum would be more appealing to people because it shows a broad range of different exhibits that people of an interest can enjoy.

I guess what I am saying is that the Brooklyn Museum can be seen as more of a tourist destination as opposed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is going to attract serious minded people to see and study the art, with a few tourists thrown in the mix.

Personally I would find the Brooklyn Museum much more appealing to go to simply because of the variety of exhibits that it displays.


@Emilski - To be totally honest I do not think that it the reason. I honestly feel like it is because the Metropolitan Museum of Art is so large and well known that it overshadows the smaller, but still quite large, Brooklyn Museum.

The other factor to take into consideration should be that the Brooklyn Museum is a museum that houses all kinds of exhibits and not just art exhibits like the Metropolitan museum does.

The Metropolitan museum concentrates its exhibits on art and this means art minded people are going to go to this large and vast museum with the sole purpose of seeing art and being around people that appreciate and study it. In the Brooklyn museum, it encompasses more of a museum that deals with a variety of aspect that would appeal to a broad range of people, so it does not have a real niche like the Metropolitan Museum does. This means it lacks the notoriety of the Metropolitan Museum and is seen more as a place everyone can go as opposed to the place people need to go to.


I have heard of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City but I have never heard of the Brooklyn Museum.

I find this odd considering it is apparently the second largest museum in the city and has a variety of exhibits, like the Egyptian exhibits, that would appeal to a lot of people.

I wonder if the reason for it not being as well known would have to be due to the fact that it is located in the Brooklyn borough as opposed to another place in the city that one would suspect the museums to be.


I think it's awesome this museum is in a classic Beaux Art building. I feel like half the fun of visiting a museum is often the architecture. A lot of museums are true architectural classics, and it sounds like this one is no different!

I just love going to museums where they actually put a lot of thought and time into how the building would look. I think it just adds a certain something to the whole museum experience.


@JaneAir - I know just how you feel. There's nothing worse than visiting a museum and not even being able to see half the exhibits because there are so many people around.

Anyway, I'm planning a trip to New York City sometime soon, and I'm going to add this museum to my itinerary. I really enjoy Georgia O'Keefe and I'm a feminist. I have to say, I've never yet seen a museum that featured a whole collection of feminist artwork. I think I would really enjoy something like that!


I've never even heard of the Brooklyn Museum! I guess it isn't as famous as the Metropolitan Museum of Art of the Museum of Modern art. However, it sounds really, really cool.

It also would be nice to visit a museum that isn't so crowded. I know it's a bit hypocritical (I love museums, why shouldn't others love them too?) but I absolutely hate visiting a museum when it's very busy!

Also, I love Egyptian mummy exhibits, so this would probably be right up my alley. One of my favorite local museums has an Egyptian section, but it isn't anywhere as large as the one at the Brooklyn Museum sounds like it is!

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