Historic funding will modernize 40,000 square feet of existing galleries, create new space for a gallery devoted to the history of Brooklyn, and support energy-efficiency upgrades
Today, Mayor de Blasio announced a historic $50 million capital investment in the Brooklyn Museum. Provided through the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the funding will support a transformative plan that encompasses gallery renovations and infrastructure projects aimed at updating the Brooklyn Museum’s 120-year old, City-owned landmark building for the 21st century and signals an important recognition of the museum’s growing role in the life and wellbeing of Brooklyn, New York City, and beyond.
“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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “As New York City’s rich art and culture institutions emerge from the pandemic, this historic $50 million investment will ensure the Brooklyn Museum remains an iconic destination for generations to come.”
“The City’s $50 million investment emphasizes the administration’s commitment to ensuring that the great cultural institutions across the City are able to meet the needs of our changing boroughs,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “Community members and tourists alike will benefit greatly from the forthcoming improvements to the beloved Brooklyn Museum, a world-renowned icon.”
“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,” said 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,” said Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum. “This historic 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.”
The major public investment announced today 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 permanent 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, and 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.
The Brooklyn Museum has been the site for rallies and civic action, and played an important role in community support during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a food distribution site for neighbors suffering from food insecurity, as well as a polling site during the election. The Museum has also worked to center the needs of its surrounding communities, partnering with local hospitals and offering programming focused on mental health and community care. These important building updates will enable the Brooklyn Museum to continue to commit to its mission of public service and be a source of inspiration for the next generation of New Yorkers.