Visiting one of the many museums in Brooklyn is a great thing to do with the kids. Whether it’s a rainy day or you’re looking for a fun family outing, there are all kinds of indoor and outdoor exhibits you can find here.
There are well-known Brooklyn museums as well as a few hidden gems where you can learn all about the history and culture of the city. If that’s not your thing, there are several art and science museums in Brooklyn, many of which will appeal to all ages.
To help you plan your visit, I’m sharing the 10 best museums in Brooklyn, NY, so you can find the perfect place to go for some education and entertainment.
1. Bushwick Collective, the best free art museum in Brooklyn
The Bushwick Collective is one of the coolest art exhibits in Brooklyn. This outdoor gallery is in the artsy Bushwick neighborhood and features public works by local, national, and international street artists. Since its founding in 2011, the Collective has grown and inspired the world of graffiti and street art.
As you walk along Jefferson and Troutman Streets, you’ll see walls covered in swaths of color, somber black-and-white portraits, and lighthearted creations that explore social commentary and other themes. Among notable artists like Banksy and Blek le Rat, you may also discover some new creators you like.
Also, if you visit during the summer, you can attend the annual street art showcase, a community festival with art, music, food, and vendors.
The Bushwick Collective is one of the best free museums in NYC, but it’s also worth taking this tour, especially if you’re interested in Brooklyn’s street art scene. It’s one of the best walking tours in NYC and takes you past the most vibrant murals and graffiti art pieces in the city.
2. Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the best museum in Brooklyn for kids
Over in the Crown Heights neighborhood, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum is another top museum in Brooklyn. It was the first children’s museum in the country, and it remains one of the best interactive institutions for young kids.
Through hands-on exhibits, children can learn about various cultures around the world, as well as the history of New York. There are also exclusive areas for toddlers, a giant maze, and an outdoor playground with elements that teach kids about science and technology.
Up on the rooftop, you can go skating and explore the art gallery and participate in creative activities. Overall, this is a fun museum in Brooklyn for a day out with the family, especially if you’re looking for things to do with the little ones.
In addition to being one of the best museums in NYC, the institute hosts community events, including workshops at its communal garden and greenhouse. It’s also included in the New York Pass, one of the best NYC attraction passes, and admission is free on Thursdays from 2-5 pm.
3. Brooklyn Museum, a popular art museum in Brooklyn, NY
The Brooklyn Museum is one of the largest museums in all of NYC, in a Beaux Arts-style building with wrought iron details and glass skylights. The rest of the museum is just as impressive, with around half a million cultural and historical artifacts from around the world.
From paintings and drawings to sculptures and photographs, this place has some of the most beautiful art exhibits in Brooklyn. You can see works by modern masters like O’Keeffe, Rockwell, and Rothko, as well as pioneers of the feminist art movement. The museum also has a popular Egyptian collection with classical ancient statues of Egyptian gods and goddesses.
The Islamic art galleries also stand out, thanks to the gorgeous Turkish carpets and tapestries. Here, you can find the largest collection of African art in any American art museum, as well as decorative pieces that span Europe, Japan, and Oceania.
4. Building 92, an interesting history museum in Brooklyn
Building 92 is a unique history museum in Brooklyn where you can learn about the city’s industrial growth over the years. It’s at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, along the East River, and this waterfront industrial park is home to over 450 businesses.
As such, this place holds a lot of economic impact for Brooklyn and the city as a whole. Inside, the museum chronicles the Navy Yard’s history and its contributions to NYC’s urban sustainability. Learn about its past, see what’s happening there now, and discover the plans for its future.
You can take a tour, browse the exhibits, and check out an archive of resources detailing the Navy Yard’s role in the community. Building 92 is in an old naval shipbuilding factory, with one part of it housed in the former Marine Commandant’s residence. Over the years, the building has launched various fighting ships and vessels like the USS Maine, USS Missouri, and USS Arizona.
You can learn all about it in the Building 92 galleries, which feature art, site-specific installations, and historical artifacts.
5. The City Reliquary, a cultural museum in Brooklyn, New York City
The City Reliquary is another history museum in Brooklyn, characterized by interior rooms with floor-to-ceiling shelves crammed with eclectic pieces. Among these knick-knacks and hidden treasures, you can find all kinds of interesting things reflecting the city’s past.
This non-profit museum details the history of NYC’s five boroughs through cultural artifacts, memorabilia, and local relics. Some highlights include an exhibit dedicated to Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers, a collection of various Statue of Liberty figurines, and original objects from the 1964 New York World’s Fair.
In addition, the City Reliquary hosts community events like workshops, film screenings, and artists’ talks, along with temporary exhibits throughout the year. Plus, this Brooklyn museum is in Williamsburg, one of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn, so you can explore other attractions after visiting the Reliquary.
6. Jewish Children’s Museum, another great museum in Brooklyn for kids
The Jewish Children’s Museum is in the center of Crown Heights, within the Chabad-Lubavitch Chasidic community. It’s the perfect place for this Brooklyn museum, which is the largest of its kind in the U.S.
The museum fosters an inclusive environment that promotes tolerance, understanding, and awareness of Jewish heritage, culture, and life. Through child-friendly exhibits and activities, visitors can learn about Jewish values and traditions, like Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. Families can spend the day walking through an old-fashioned shtetl, exploring the calendar of Jewish holidays, and discovering intimate stories from the Holocaust.
The museum also has a kosher restaurant and café, a theater, and an arts and crafts center. Without a doubt, this is one of the best museums in Brooklyn because it’s full of information that can educate kids and adults, as well as entertaining activities like a mini-golf course, rock climbing, and a game show studio.
General admission is $15, and kids under 2 are free. The museum is open Monday through Thursday from 10 am – 4 pm, and Sunday from 10 am – 5:30 pm.
7. Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, another top museum in Brooklyn
Over in the Fort Greene neighborhood, you’ll find the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA). This Brooklyn museum is the first of its kind in New York and focuses on promoting social change and shared values, amplifying Black voices, and educating the public on the sociopolitical issues within the African diaspora.
MoCADA achieves this goal through youth programs and community events, like the Soul of Brooklyn art performance series. The institute also hosts resident artists and has galleries of contemporary art, including paintings, murals, audio recordings, and installations.
The exhibits at MoCADA range from vibrant celebrations of African culture to somber social commentary on the Black Lives Matter movement, and much more. You can take a guided tour of the museum or explore the exhibits on your own. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids 6-17, and free for kids under 6.
8. Coney Island Museum, a fun museum in Brooklyn, New York City
Coney Island is one of the best places in NYC, but if you needed another reason to visit, it’s to check out the Coney Island Museum. This non-profit arts organization was created to help revitalize the Coney Island economy while promoting its history and culture. Inside, you’ll find a fun Brooklyn museum with all kinds of artifacts and amusement memorabilia. It’s one of the must-visit places in Coney Island.
The objects chronicle the history of the Coney Island neighborhood, beach, and amusement pier. Some of the exhibits you’ll see feature carousel pieces like painted horses and animals, as well as vintage boardwalk signs, rare postcards, funhouse mirrors, and a mid-century photo booth.
The venue also has a theater where you can watch the “Sideshows by the Seashore” presentation, in which circus performers and acrobats do unusual stunts. This museum in Brooklyn is open seasonally during the summer months, but it’s worth visiting. Admission is just $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and the museum also hosts the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade.
9. New York Transit Museum, the best museum in Brooklyn for families
The New York Transit Museum is another cool museum in Brooklyn that will appeal to kids and adults. It’s in Brooklyn Heights, in the old Court Street subway station, which is the perfect setting for such a museum.
Here, you can learn all about the New York City subway, bus, and rail systems through interactive exhibits, historical galleries, and tunnel memorabilia. Among the most impressive artifacts here, the fleet of vintage buses stands out. You can also see the first air-conditioned bus in the U.S., a series of historic subway turnstiles, archival photographs, and old advertisements from former buses and subway cars.
Overall, this is an awesome museum in Brooklyn to explore as a family, and it’s included in the New York Pass.
10. Weeksville Heritage Center, another history museum in Brooklyn, NYC
Finally, the Weeksville Heritage Center is another museum in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood. It’s specifically in Weeksville, one of the first free Black communities in the U.S. during the 19th century.
As one of the last remaining pre-Civil War Black communities, Weeksville played an important role in the abolitionist movement, with several organizations and associations. Today, you can take a guided tour through this preserved community, exploring the schools, churches, and residential buildings, some of which date back to 1860.
This Brooklyn history museum also has public programs and galleries with photos, illustrations, sculptures, and a digital and oral history collection. General admission is only $6, so make sure you don’t miss out.
That’s it for the best museums in Brooklyn. Don’t forget to check out the map below so you can see exactly where each museum is located.
Of course, if you have any questions about these Brooklyn museums, or you’d like to share your experience, feel free to leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you. Until then, have a fantastic trip!