Having a rich heritage dating back to the 1860s, the Brooklyn Historical Society preserves the history of Brooklyn, New York. Having two locations in the borough, the society hosts temporary exhibits on politics, economics, sports, and many other important topics. Several New York City Subway trains and MTA buses stop within walking distance of the society’s two branches.
Collection and Exhibits
The society has an on-site library with an extensive collection of printed materials relating to the history of the borough and New York City. Occupying the second level of the building, the Othmer Library has a classic interior design with elegant woodwork. More than 33,000 books are included in the society’s exclusive collection. Thousands of maps and tens of thousands of photos are also in the possession of the library. Additionally, the archives include paintings, manuscripts, and other materials that are primarily designated for academic research.
The temporary exhibits at the Brooklyn Historical Society present important topics from various eras in Brooklyn and NYC. From the Civil War and the Great Depression to World War II and the September 11 Attacks, the galleries highlight the borough’s connection to significant events in politics, economics, and pop culture.
Many of the society’s previous exhibits focused on Brooklyn’s role in various movements on a national scale. For example, the borough had strong ties to various movements relating to civil rights, labor unions, and LGBTQ rights. This museum ultimately celebrates NYC’s strong impact on national and international issues since the late 19th century. Of course, many of the exhibits also present some of Brooklyn’s and the region’s early history, dating back to the 17th century.
Visitors should note that Brooklyn was originally an independent community without any official ties to New York City.
Background and History
The Brooklyn Historical Society traces its roots to the height of the Civil War. Originally known as the Long Island Historical Society, the organization rapidly expanded during the 19th century. In the late 1870s, the organization relocated to a charming property with a beautiful Queen Anne design.
One of the most prominent architects in the nation at the time, George B. Post designed the society’s new building. Today, the historic dwelling is considered one of Brooklyn’s most prominent architectural landmarks.
The Renaissance Revival style is another common label for the society’s headquarters. Inspired by the European design of the Renaissance period, most of the original stonework has been thoroughly preserved. Terra cotta gives the building its distinct reddish color that surely stands out among dozens of modern commercial facilities in the neighborhood.
Visiting Brooklyn Historical Society
The Brooklyn Historical Society’s main building is located on Pierrepont Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. Situated just one block away from the attraction, the Court Street Station is served by the N, R, and W lines of the New York City Subway. The 2 and 3 subway trains also stop at the Borough Hall Station, which is also just a few blocks away from the museum. You can also take several MTA buses to various points along Cadman Plaza West.
Most of the streets in Brooklyn Heights have one-way traffic with limited parking space. Several covered parking garages are available near government buildings at Cadman Plaza. You can also travel to this historic district of Brooklyn by ferry. Overlooking the East River, Pier 6 at the Brooklyn Bridge Park is served by the SB route. The society’s other branch, known as the BHS DUMBO, is located on Water Street near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Location: 128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11201
Click here to visit Brooklyn Historical Society official website.