This encyclopedic museum, imagined as the centerpiece of the 19th-century Brooklyn Institute, occupies a five-story, 560,000-sq-ft beaux-arts building stuffed with more than 1.5 million objects – ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, 19th-century period rooms, and a cornucopia of art. This elegant, airy space is an inspiring place to explore, and a calmer alternative to Manhattan's manic museums. The collection is augmented by thought-provoking temporary exhibitions on diverse subjects from European art retrospectives to provocative contemporary art, often with a spotlight on feminist thought and LGBT+ artists.
Special events run until 11pm on the first Saturday of each month (except September and January).
The museum's Sackler Center for Feminist Art features the must-see permanent installation by Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party. The epic 1970s feminist artwork honors 39 great historical or mythical women with place settings around a giant triangular table (another 999 names are inscribed on the floor).
Construction on the building began in the early 1890s, when Brooklyn was still an independent city – the intention was to make it the largest single-site museum in the world. The plan lost steam in 1898, when Brooklyn was incorporated into New York City.