Education: Families are Welcome at the Brooklyn Museum!

The Museum is a place where you can choose your own pace, where every corner holds a surprise, where families are encouraged to learn together, to be inspired by what they see, and to take "ownership" of the institution as a special family place. As a regular visitor to the Brooklyn Museum as a child, I "owned" one wonderful Egyptian object that I rushed to on every visit, pulling my mother and father along with me. My hope is to make it easy for every child and family to have that same experience at the Brooklyn Museum.

—Arnold Lehman, Director

Use this page to help plan a visit for adults and children together. It has information about amenities, conversation starters, and activities. A visit to the Brooklyn Museum is an opportunity for you and your family to discover the world of art with each other.

Before Your Visit

Plan your visit with your family’s interests and needs in mind. Ask your family what they would like to see. The Museum has objects from around the world, including paintings, sculptures, mummies, period rooms, objects from homes, and much more.

The collections, calendar, and Education pages tell you about current and upcoming exhibitions and programs and events you can participate in. The Visit section and Amenities page provide information on hours, admission, dining, restrooms, and other important details. If you are going to visit the Museum often as a family, a Family Membership may be cost-effective. The Community area has photographs, videos, and blog entries by other Museum visitors.

Visiting a new space can be exciting—and tiring. Use the floor plan to decide what to see in an hour or two. And choose a time of day that is best for your children and their energy levels.
Limit your time in the galleries. Choose three to four objects to see and then plan to take a break or visit the Café or Museum Shop.
Bring a sketchbook or paper and pencils so you and your children can sketch art objects or take notes.
Talk about good museum behavior. The most important rule is not to touch the art or glass cases. The touch of a finger can damage art and leave dirt and oil behind. Discuss what indoor voice and behavior is like.
Go to the public library to find books on visiting museums and looking at art.

At the Museum with Your Family

Pick up a floor plan, brochures, flyers, or a Family Guide at the Independent Community Foundation Visitor Center in the Rubin Lobby. Visitor Services staff are ready to answer all of your questions.

Remember that Security staff are here to make sure the artwork and visitors are safe. Please be respectful if they ask you or your children to move back from the artwork.

Photography is allowed in the permanent collections, but no flash is permitted.

Have a plan, but be flexible. If your children get tired or restless, be ready to suggest other activities or a break.

What to Do in the Galleries

Make the time memorable by keeping it short. Focus on a theme or a few objects and use activities like sketching, hunting for a shape or color, or “I Spy.” Aim for quality time with a few works of art instead of trying to see as much as possible.

Make connections to everyday life by choosing pieces that relate to animals or places your children like.

Ask open-ended questions about the art, such as “What’s happening here?” or “What do you think will happen next?”

Ask compare-and-contrast questions, such as “How is this painting the same as (or different from) the last one?” or “How is this bedroom different from your bedroom?”

Refer to as many of the five senses as possible. For example, “What would it sound like if you were in the work of art? How would you move?”

Read the label. Labels can include the title, artist name, materials, and information written by the curator or quotes from people in the community.

Look around the galleries, elevators, lobby, etc., and ask your child how they differ from other places you have visited together.

Remember to listen and follow your family’s cues and interests. Share your ideas about the artwork as well.

After Your Family's Visit

What does your family want to learn more about? Write down artist’s names, cultures, or materials used to create an artwork. Research them and come back to the Museum again. Or visit another Brooklyn cultural institution.

Ask questions about your visit, such as “What was your favorite thing we did today?” or “What do you want to go back and do?” Use the answers to plan your next trip.

Did you take photographs? Upload them to the Community page.

Family looking at African art in the Museum