Brooklyn Historical Society

Brooklyn: Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn & Dumbo

Housed in a majestic, landmarked 1881 building with striking terracotta details, this museum is devoted to all things Brooklyn. Its priceless collection contains a rare 1770 map of NYC and a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation. Exhibits on Brooklyn life and history rotate regularly. Peek into the stunning 33,000-book Othmer Library, with its original 19th-century balcony of black ash.

The lobby gift shop (open noon to 5pm daily) is a fantastic resource for Brooklyn-themed books and upscale gifts.

The society also organizes regular exhibitions and neighborhood walks; check the website for details.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Brooklyn: Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn & Dumbo attractions

1. Plymouth Church


Founded in 1847, this Protestant church became one of the centers of the mid-19th-century anti-slavery movement, thanks in large part to its first pastor,…

2. Brooklyn Heights Promenade

0.32 MILES

Six of the east–west streets of well-to-do Brooklyn Heights (such as Montague and Clark Sts) lead to the neighborhood’s number-one attraction: a narrow,…

3. New York Transit Museum

0.32 MILES

Occupying an old subway station built in 1936 (and out of service since 1946), this kid-friendly museum takes on 100-plus years of getting around town…

4. Invisible Dog

0.53 MILES

In a converted factory dating to 1863, the Invisible Dog is an interdisciplinary arts center that embodies the spirit of Brooklyn's creativity. Check the…

5. Brooklyn Bridge Park

0.54 MILES

This 85-acre park is one of Brooklyn’s best-loved attractions. Wrapping itself around a 1.3-mile bend on the East River, the post-industrial site runs…

6. Empire Stores

0.59 MILES

Built just after the Civil War, the Empire Stores are a vestige of Brooklyn's historic waterfront, which once supported 3 miles of brick warehouses…

7. Jane’s Carousel

0.66 MILES

Behold the star attraction of the north end of Brooklyn Bridge Park: a vintage carousel built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company back in 1922. In 1984…

8. Brooklyn Bridge


A New York icon, the Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s first steel suspension bridge, and, at almost 1596ft, the longest when it opened in 1883…