The Brooklyn Museum has been gifted $50 million from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs to modernize its 120-year-old landmarked building and increase its art and educational offerings.

The museum has said the funding will go towards modernizing and transforming its 40,000 square feet of existing collection galleries, improving infrastructure across the museum, providing additional education space for more extensive after-school programs, creating gallery space devoted to Brooklyn’s great history and improving 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 building and climate control systems.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said as New York City’s “rich art and cultural institutions” emerge from the pandemic, the $50 million investment would ensure that the Brooklyn Museum remains an iconic destination for generations to come.

“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,” he said.

In a statement, the museum said the investment would join other exciting initiatives, including the creation of the museum’s first dedicated galleries for its Arts of Africa collection, the full renovation of its education facilities, reopening of the Arts of Asia and the Islamic World galleries, and more.

Brooklyn Museum Shelby White and Leon Levy Director Anne Pasternak said the museum was and had always been the people’s museum.

“For generations, our audiences have reflected the rich diversity of New York City itself,” she said. “This transformative investment will reimagine the Museum for the next hundred years and further our commitments to connect with and serve our community.”

The city’s Cultural Affairs Commissioner Gonzalo Casals added that the museum was both a community anchor and an encyclopedic museum that amplified the voices of diverse artists of different ages and included them in conversation with contemporary audiences.

“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,” Casals said.

“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.” 

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