Funding will support significant infrastructure updates to modernize 40,000 square feet of existing galleries, create new space for a gallery devoted to the history of Brooklyn, and implement important energy-efficiency upgrades throughout the building.
The Brooklyn Museum has announced a transformative gift of $50 million from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. The funds will support a range of gallery renovations and infrastructure projects aimed at updating the Museum’s 120-year-old landmark building for the twenty-first century, signaling important recognition of the institution’s growing role in the life and wellbeing of Brooklyn, New York City, and beyond. This historic investment from the city will join other exciting initiatives, from creation of the Museum’s first dedicated galleries for its exceptional Arts of Africa collection to full renovation of its education facilities, reopening of the Arts of Asia and the Islamic World galleries, and more.
“Art has the power to shape us and bring people together in conversation. The Brooklyn Museum has always exemplified these values, shaping the rich narrative around New York City for residents and visitors alike,” says Mayor Bill de Blasio. “As New York City’s rich art and cultural institutions emerge from the pandemic, this historic $50 million investment will ensure that the Brooklyn Museum remains an iconic destination for generations to come.”
“The Brooklyn Museum is both a community anchor and an encyclopedic museum that does an amazing job of amplifying the voices of diverse artists from across the ages and bringing them into conversation with contemporary audiences,” says Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals. “As part of the city’s long-term commitment to investing in our cultural institutions, this transformative contribution to the Brooklyn Museum will ensure that this historic facility can continue to engage communities across Brooklyn and beyond for generations to come. The pandemic showed us just how critical culture is to the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers, so we are proud to stand alongside Mayor de Blasio for this historic announcement.”
“The Brooklyn Museum is and has always been the people’s museum. For generations, our audiences have reflected the rich diversity of New York City itself,” says Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum. “This transformative investment will reimagine the Museum for the next hundred years and further our commitments to connect with and serve our community. We are profoundly grateful to Mayor de Blasio and everyone in the administration for their belief in our civic and cultural importance.”
Funding will be used to transform and modernize 40,000 square feet of existing collection galleries, improve infrastructure across the Museum, provide additional education space for more extensive after-school programs, create gallery space devoted to Brooklyn’s great history, and improve the facility’s energy efficiency. The renovations will significantly upgrade the fourth and fifth floor galleries for European, decorative, and American arts, including Indigenous artworks, as well as design, with all new interiors and state-of-the-art building and climate control systems to support thoroughly reconsidered installations of the collection. These investments will transform the visitor experience, enable the Museum to share more of its collection, engage new audiences with interactive digital technologies, and represent a major reduction in the Museum’s climate impact.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brooklyn Museum has played an important role in the community, serving as a food distribution site, partnering with local hospitals, and offering programming focused on mental health and community care. The Museum has also been a gathering place for rallies and other civic action, and serves as an ongoing polling location for New York voters. With these essential building updates, the Museum will continue to serve as a critical resource and cultural hub for generations to come.
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