While you wait for the Brooklyn Museum to reopen later this summer you can take a virtual tour through the past with a series of historic interior images.
The black and white photos all date to the early 20th century, when the building at 200 Eastern Parkway was newly finished after years of phased construction and the organization was known as the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences. For a deep dive into the the early 19th century origins of the Brooklyn Museum, check out this three part series by Brownstoner columnist Suzanne Spellen.
While the photographer is not identified, the images in the collection of the Library of Congress were all produced by the Detroit Publishing Company. Established in the late 1890s, the photo publishing firm produced postcards, prints and albums for the mass market. It folded in the 1930s.
To get a sense of where in the museum each of the photographs would have been taken, the 1911 Annual Report for the Museums of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences has a handy gallery guide.
The photo publisher labelled this image as the Egyptian Gallery and it is likely a view one of the first floor gallery spaces, which included everything from modern sculpture to Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities.
The second floor was filled with natural history exhibits, including mammals and birds of Long Island, insects, local geology, reptiles and fish.
Located on the third floor, the Sargent Gallery contained a collection of watercolors by John Singer Sargent purchased by the institute in 1909.
The spacious Old Master Gallery on the third floor included indirect lighting from a skylight and benches from which to admire the collection.
Another third floor space was dedicated to more modern works, with galleries for both modern European and modern American art.
[All photographs by the Detroit Publishing Company via Library of Congress]
- Building of the Day: 200 Eastern Parkway
- Walkabout: The Great Gathering
- Take a 19th Century Shopping Trip Along Fulton Street
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