Brooklyn is home to some of the most fascinating museums in New York City. From the illustrious Brooklyn Museum (one of the oldest and largest art museums in the country) to the charming New York Transit Museum set in a decommissioned subway station. There’s a lot of ground to cover so let’s dive into the best Brooklyn museums to explore!
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Best Museums in Brooklyn Brooklyn’s
(Table of Contents)
Brooklyn Museums (Table of Contents)
- Best Museums in Brooklyn Brooklyn’s
- More Time? Here’s Some Unique Brooklyn Museums
- Brooklyn Museums for Families (Post Summary)
The Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum is often overlooked by those visiting Brooklyn for the first time, which is a pity. One of the largest and oldest museums in the country, it was established in 1896 and houses an impressive collection of more than 500,000 objects.
The museums spans various cultures and time periods, offering everything from ancient Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art. Best known for the extensive collection of Egyptian antiquities, the Brooklyn Museum is a hit with locals due to the innovative rotating exhibits (that tackle social and political themes).
The Brooklyn Museum stands out not just for its vast collection, but also for its commitment to education and community engagement, offering a plethora of programs and workshops for all ages. All told, visiting the musuem is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Brooklyn for locals and visitors alike.
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum
Established in 1899, The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is famous for being the first museum in the world specifically designed for kids. This innovative museum spans 102,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and educational programs, making it a great spot for young minds to explore and learn. With a commitment to serving the diverse communities of Brooklyn, the museum offers a wide range of exhibits that cover topics from natural science to cultural diversity.
The museum was founded with the acknowledgement that existing musettes were not designed with children in mind. Hoping to correct course, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum focuses on engaging children in hands-on learning experiences that are both fun and informative. Another big perk of this Brooklyn museum is the commitment to sustainability, made evident by the eco-friendly building, which is the first green museum in New York City.
The Brooklyn Children’s Museum is a pioneer in the world of children’s museums, making it one of the best museums in Brooklyn for families.
New York Transit Museum
Housed in a decommissioned 1936 subway station, the unique New York Transit Museum takes a deep dive into the evolution of New York City’s robust public transportation system. Housing an extensive collection of vintage subway cars, visitors can (literally) step back in time and experience the commute folks made 100 years ago.
The museum offers a hands-on learning experience with interactive exhibits, detailed reconstructions, and engaging tours that illuminate the engineering marvels that lay below ground. From the early days of horse-drawn carriages to the modern subway, visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Brooklyn Heights for families.
Jewish Children’s Museum
The Jewish Children’s Museum takes an interactive approach to education kids about the importance of Jewish history and traditions. Opened in 2004, this Brooklyn museum is one of the largest Jewish-themed children’s museums in the country and is open to families of all backgrounds.
Highlights include a miniature golf course (outlining biblical stories), a mock kosher supermarket and a climbable Noah’s Ark. The museum’s dedication to fostering understanding and tolerance among diverse communities earns it a spot on our list of the best museums in Brooklyn.
Center for Brooklyn History
Located in a magnificent Queen Anne-style building, the Center for Brooklyn History was formed in 2020 by uniting the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Brooklyn Public Library. The Brooklyn Historical Society been serving as a custodian of Brooklyn’s rich past since 1863 (for more than 150 years!).
The center houses an extensive collection of maps, photographs, and manuscripts that tell the story of Brooklyn’s evolution from a small Dutch settlement to one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods. There’s also a slew of engaging exhibitions and speaking panels that offer deeper insights into everything from architectural to current social issues. Visiting the Brooklyn Historical Society will give you a deeper appreciation for the area’s history, it’s a must-do in Brooklyn Heights!
More Time? Here’s Some Unique Brooklyn Museums
Building 92 at the Navy Yard
Building 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a fascinating Brooklyn museum that offers a deep dive into the rich maritime and military history of one of America’s oldest naval shipyards. Established to celebrate the Yard’s extensive 200-year history, this musuem is a joy for history buffs.
This Brooklyn museum showcases the transformation of this 300-acre site from a shipbuilding powerhouse (which once launched the USS Missouri), to its current role as a model for urban revitalization. You can explore the Yard’s impact on American industry, technology, and innovation through tons of interactive displays.
The Interference Archive is volunteer-run archive and museum that was established in 2011 from the personal collection of two local activists, Dara Greenwald and Josh MacPhee. It houses an impressive collection of materials centered around social movements around the world, including posters, flyers, publications, and other ephemera.
The archive’s mission is to preserve and share the often-overlooked histories of activist groups and their efforts to effect change (try saying that three times fast). The collection is mean to be interactive, visitors are encouraged to open boxes and sort through the collection.
The space also hosts exhibitions, workshops, and events that encourage community involvement and dialogue on critical social issues. This unique intersection of art, activism and history makes Interference Archive one of the most underrated museums in Brooklyn.
The City Reliquary
The City Reliquary is one of the most underrated museums in Brooklyn. Showcasing a quirky and captivating glimpse into the lesser-known facets of New York City’s history, this gem worth a detour. Established in 2002, the City Reliquary is home to a fascinating collection of NYC artifacts, ranging from vintage subway tokens to fragments of landmark buildings. The rotating exhibitions, often assembled with the help of local residents, highlight the personal narratives and contagious community spirit that define New York.
Coney Island Museum
This quirky museum captures the spirit of Coney Island, from its beginnings as a seaside resort (in the 1800s) to its evolution into the “People’s Playground.” Through a collection of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia, the museum chronicles the highs and lows of this beloved landmark, including the thrills of the Cyclone roller coaster and the wonder of the original Luna Park.
The museum also delves into the cultural impact of Coney Island, showcasing the area’s role in popular culture. The Coney Island museum offers a fascinating journey through time, making it an essential visit for those looking for the most unique museums in Brooklyn.
Old Stone House of Brooklyn
The Old Stone House played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. Originally built in 1699, this Dutch stone farmhouse was the site of the 1776 Battle of Brooklyn, the largest battle of the Revolutionary War. Today, it operates as a museum and cultural center, offering a fascinating window into 18th-century life.
The house itself is a meticulous reconstruction, completed in 1933, and serves as a venue for historical exhibits, educational programs, and community events. The well-preserved architecture and interactive displays connecting visitors with the area’s past. Any way you slice it, this is one of the most fascinating museums in Brooklyn for history buffs.
Brooklyn Museums for Families (Post Summary)
In sum, here’s a quick list of the best museums in Brooklyn, hope you enjoyed!
- The Brooklyn Museum
- Brooklyn Children’s Museum
- New York Transit Museum
- Jewish Children’s Museum
- Center for Brooklyn History
- Building 92 at the Navy Yard
- Interference Archive
- The City Reliquary
- Coney Island Museum
- Old Stone House
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