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Brooklyn Historical Society Gets a $5.5 Million Makeover

By Janet Upadhye | November 8, 2013 9:59am | Updated on November 8, 2013 12:28pm
 The historic museum recently completed $5.5 million dollar renvovations.
Brooklyn Historical Society
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BROOKLYN HEIGHTS — The Brooklyn Historic Society gave itself a $5.5 million dollar birthday present.

In celebration of its 150-year anniversary, the museum — housed in a landmarked 1881 Queen Anne style building — reopened its original entrance way, upgraded the visitor's center and auditorium, and added new retail space, art galleries, and classrooms.

"These renovations are all intertwined with the new, forward-thinking Brooklyn Historic Society," said Vice President Marcia Ely. "We are throwing the doors open to this amazing space and we really want people to come and see."

Brooklyn Historic Society's upgrade also included technological advances. The newly added classrooms have smart boards for visiting students and the auditorium — otherwise known and the "Great Hall" — now has overhead projector capabilities and a new audio system.

"The new space has already attracted hundreds more people than it used to since we cut the ribbon less than two weeks ago," Ely said.

Hot on the heels of the unveiling of its new look, Brooklyn Historic Society has also added new programming including trivia nights and beer gardens where staff wearing white gloves bring artifacts out from behind the glass to show beer-drinking guests.

Ely is also excited about their new exhibit, opening in December, called "Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom." The multi-media exhibit features the "the unsung heroes of Brooklyn’s anti-slavery movement."

Other current or upcoming exhibtions include photographs of New York City's 30,000 landmarked structures and environments, a photographic tour of Hurricane Sandy, and "Lefferts Family Papers," that show Brooklyn’s transition from an agricultural frontier to an urban center.

The Brooklyn Historic Society is opened Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and costs a "suggested donation" of $10.