An insider’s guide to Brooklyn’s museums

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Top Museums in Brooklyn, New York

It’s been said that if “you live anywhere else other than Brooklyn, then you ain’t living at all.”

But even if you don’t take up permanent residence in New York City’s most populous borough, there’s more to Brooklyn than meets the eye. And when it comes to the beauty of the city, the nature gardens and stunning metropolitan Brooklyn museums that play a vital role in the arts and culture. Give yourself a taste of what visiting Brooklyn is really like. And who knows, you may just find yourself calling Brooklyn your favorite borough.


The New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum: Old Subway Car

Source: Flickr

Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street

What would any trip to New York City be without experiencing the phenomena that is the subway system? And what better way to explore the storied past and evolution of mass transportation in the Big Apple than with a trip to this unique museum in Brooklyn.

Featuring everything from subway cars from the early 1900s to corresponding advertisements found on subways through the years, the New York Transit Museum offer more than 10 exhibitions that will lead you through the transit story in as smooth and seamless of a way as its trains do the city.

The metropolitan museum explores the coming about of all mass transportation mediums — including bridges and tunnels — and makes clear just how important each are in the success and fluidity of New York City. With activities and a fun atmosphere, this museum is the perfect stop for families looking for fun within Brooklyn. But be sure to keep your eyes peeled, as the entrance to this museum is situated right on the street and heads below ground like any other subway station entrance.

Museum admission:

  • Adults $10
  • Children (2-17) $5
  • Seniors 62+ $5, Seniors are free on Wednesdays (excludes senior group visits)
  • Museum members free


Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Brooklyn Children's Museum

Source: Flickr

145 Brooklyn Avenue

Why stress about getting the kids through the madness of midtown Manhattan when just across the bridge is a museum of art with more than 30,000 different objects and hands-on activities and things for children to do.

Built in roughly 1899, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is billed as the world’s very first arts museum for kids and has permanent collections that include a fun sensory room and an introduction to ecologies found in Brooklyn. The museum’s visiting exhibits include art education and wilderness camp.

Centrally located in Brooklyn, the success of this art museum has sparked more than 300 similar metropolitan museums around the world and works continuously to fulfill its mission of encouraging “children to develop an understanding of and respect for themselves, others and the world around them by exploring cultures, the arts, science, and the environment.”

Museum admission:

  • $11 per person
  • Members and children under the age of 12 months are free


Brooklyn Museum

Brooklyn Museum

Source: Flickr

200 Eastern Parkway

Located on the northern tip of Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Museum is the perfect alternative to the busier, and perhaps trendier Manhattan museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

With the first Saturday of the month usually granted as a free-entrance day, it’s a must to check out the permanent selection and exemplary art exhibitions including Georgia O’Keeffe, Rodin and more American art.

Just around the corner from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, this metropolitan museum has been called a miniature version of the more world-renowned Met in Central Park. Paintings and sculptures from all over the world aren’t the only things on display as the art museum plays host to a concert series, which is included in the free Saturday entrance day each month.

Museum admission:

  • Adults, $16
  • Students (valid ID), $10
  • Adults 65 and over, $10
  • Ages 19 and under, Free
  • Visitors with disabilities (care partners admitted free of charge), $2
  • Members, Free


Waterfront Museum

Brooklyn Waterfront Museum

Source: Flickr

290 Conover Street, Pier 44

Lost in the grandiose scene of large museums and exhibitions in the New York City area is a small museum right on the water in Brooklyn — the appropriately named Waterfront Museum.

While it may be small and those wishing to take in the museum may need to plan more for their day to accompany the 20-30 minutes it usually takes to experience this museum, the trip is well worth it.

The Waterfront Museum focuses on education of maritime history and the expansion of waterfront access in the metro area. It’s housed on the water aboard the Lehigh Valley Barge #79, which was constructed in 1914 and is the only wooden barge of its kind that is still floating.

With free admission hours on Thursdays and Saturdays, the Waterfront Museum is a fantastic, unique museum experience.

Along with maritime exhibits and historical artifacts and tour information, the Waterfront Museum also offers actual barge cruises that take your museum experience mobile for a trip on the Hudson River.

Museum admission:

  • Free (Asks for donation)


Brooklyn Historial Society

Brooklyn Historical Society

Source: Flickr

128 Pierrepont Street

Separate from the New York Historical Society, the Brooklyn Historical Society puts a large emphasis on human rights and many of the civil rights movements by exhibiting historical documents and expressions, while also highlighting many modern displays of art and inspiring movements.

Its location in Brooklyn Heights makes it a great trip for any family seeking a walk through history, and it’s made even better for families through many of the free family programs offered every Saturday from October through May. Along with many civil rights exhibitions, both of days modern and past, the Brooklyn Historical Society also features a water color exhibit of 19th Century Brooklyn by James Ryder Van Brunt, a descendant of one of Brooklyn’s earliest settlers.

Museum admission:

  • Members, Free
  • Adults, $10
  • Seniors 62+, $6
  • Teachers, $6
  • Students (with I.D.), Free
  • Children under 12, Free

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