Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences’

Brooklyn Museum, then and now

May 1, 2009

This early-1900s photograph of the Brooklyn Museum—known as the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences when construction began in 1895—shows a neo-Classic beauty of a building, looking majestic on a young Eastern Parkway (those little trees!)

And that grand staircase sure was something, rising 28 feet from street level. It was part of the original McKim, Mead & White design; the famed architectural firm also designed part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

brklynmuseumold

The staircase didn’t last long. In the mid-1930s, Brooklyn Museum officials decided to make the building more “democratic” by removing it. Visitors now entered the building through ground floor doors.

brooklynmuseum2009In 2000, museum honchos wanted a grand entrance again, something that would recall the original McKim, Mead & White staircase.

This is the result, completed in 2004. People seem to either love it or hate it; there’s no in between. 

Architectural monstrosity or “Brooklyn’s new front stoop,” as the museum’s director was quoted in a 2000 New York Times article?  You decide.