Brooklyn's Newest MuseumOpened on Veterans Day, 2011, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Visitors Center is a not-to-be-missed visit for Brooklyn residents and visitors.
This unique new museum offers the public an unusual view of the significant role the Brooklyn Navy Yard has played, and continues to play, in the history of the United States and Brooklyn.
Housed in the renovated 1857 Marine Commandant’s Residence with a modern extension, the new Brooklyn Navy Yard Visitors Center, a $25 million, high-tech museum and event space, explores and documents that legacy.
The Visitors Center features the extraordinary history of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which for over 150 years (from 1801 when it was founded until 1966, when it closed) was a key part of the US Navy's string of such facilities.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard Center also showcases several of contemporary Brooklyn's creative, green micro-industries which are now housed in the old Navy Yard buildings.
And, from its perch on the edge of Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Navy Yard also affords unusual, romantic-industrial views of the East River and of Manhattan.
Videos and Oral Histories Bring History AliveLike the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center features video interviews and oral histories of workers from the past, to enliven the presentation of its rich history.
They include exhibits on some of the 5,000 women who volunteered here during World War 2 to work in manual jobs, like Rosie the Riveter.
Videos also document the role of African American workers in the Navy Yard. For instance, there's a short film of a black nurse describing his memories of working in the then-segregated military hospital on the premises, during the Second World War.
About the Visitors Center
- Hours are Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 6 pm. Located in Building 92
- Near the Flushing Avenue entrance
- The original building designed by Thomas Walter, the architect who designed the dome on the U.S. Capitol
- Museum curators spent seven years collecting the items on display today
- Free to the public
- Opens Veterans Day, 2011
Why Visit the Brooklyn Navy Yard Visitors CenterThere are several reasons to visit. The views are amazing. The history (of all kinds) here is even more so. It's a huge area, and interesting to tour around (by guide only), with landmarked buildings, handsome historic structures, and glimpses of rare views of New York's waterways. And, the reconstitution of an area dedicated to warship building into a site for creative, environmentally sustainable businesses is as much as statement about the fabric of urban life in New York as anything could be.
It's rare that a new piece of urban history is opened to the public after decades of being off-limits. As a destination for locals and NYC tourists with an interest in military history, adaptive reuse, and NYC urban history, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center should be top of the "to see" list.