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When you visit the Brooklyn Museum, you can use our app to ask us questions or chat about the artwork you see.

You’ll be connected with a team of art historians and educators who know our collection, can answer your questions, and can give you recommendations on what to see next. 

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Explore our permanent collection or a special exhibition on a guided group tour led by one of our friendly and experienced Museum Guides, or on your own with a self-guided group tour. These tours are for adult groups with at least 10 people, last about one hour, and can be tailored to meet the interests and needs of your group.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

We're renovating our second floor to bring you a better experience, which means the Libraries and Archives are closed to the public until fall 2017. If you're a researcher who would like to access our resources, send us an email and we'll do our best to assist you.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Fifth Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Fourth Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the Third Floor

Also on the Third Floor: Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Our Second Floor galleries are currently closed for renovations.

Also on the Second Floor

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk on the first floor.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Parking
Parking is available in the lot behind the Museum, off Washington Avenue. On Target First Saturdays, there's a flat rate of $6 starting at 5 p.m. Park your bicycle in the rack behind the building, next to our sculpture garden.

Shopping
Our Shop offers an eclectic mix of gifts, jewelry, books, clothing, crafts, and foods from around Brooklyn and around the world. Shop hours

Dining
Have small plates, dinner, or drinks at The Norm restaurant and bar, led by Michelin-starred Chef Saul Bolton. Or stop by the BKM Café or Bowl. Planning a group tour? Consider a catered lunch for your group.

Rest Rooms
Rest rooms are on the first and third floors (floor plan), are wheelchair accessible, and have baby-changing tables. A family rest room is located just off the main lobby.

Coat Check
A free coat check is available on the first floor, where you can leave any packages, large bags, umbrellas, or strollers.

Wheelchairs
Complimentary wheelchairs are available at the coat check on the first floor. Our entrances and rest rooms are wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit our Accessibility page.

Strollers
You're welcome to use strollers throughout the building (although from time to time there are certain areas where we might need to restrict their use, on account of small spaces, especially fragile art, or other circumstances). If necessary, leave your stroller at the coat check.

Wireless Access
We offer free wireless access throughout our galleries and grounds. During your visit, we encourage you to switch to wifi (BrooklynMuseum) for faster download speeds. The wireless project was created by the Brooklyn Museum Technology Department, with help from NYCWireless.

Go Mobile
Need information on the go? Planning your next visit? Access www.brooklynmuseum.org from your mobile phone to view our mobile-friendly website.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

We're committed to making our galleries and facilities accessible to everyone.

  • We are fully wheelchair accessible. Check our online and printed floor plan for details.
  • If you need a wheelchair during your visit, they're available for free at the coat check in the lobby.
  • Companions of people with disabilities are admitted for free.
  • The parking lot behind the Museum is fully accessible. There's a free, 15-minute grace period for pickups and dropoffs.
  • If you need an assistive-listening device, they're available for free at our Admissions Desk, on the first floor.

We also offer a wide range of services for our visitors of all ages with special needs.

  • For those who have low or no vision, guided visits that include verbal descriptions can be scheduled for both adult and school groups, with advance notice. We also offer Sensory Tours, monthly public tours designed to accommodate and engage both sighted and non-sighted visitors. Verbal descriptions of collection highlights are available via Art Beyond Sight.
  • For those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, American Sign Language interpretation for both adult and school group tours can be arranged, with advance notice.
  • For those with intellectual disabilities or other special needs, we offer specially tailored guided gallery visits to adult and school groups.

We hope that you'll get in touch with us via email or at 718.501.6229 if you have questions about any of the above services, or if you'd like to make advance arrangements.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

No matter what your interest, there's a tour for you:

  • Join our Museum Guides for daily public tours (free with admission) focusing on a variety of themes, eras, and movements in art.
  • Book a group tour for ten or more adults.
  • Explore tours and programs for school groups, all designed to help students and teachers construct meaningful experiences with works of art.
ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

Exhibitions on the First Floor

Also on the First Floor

  • Admissions Desk
  • Museum Shop
  • Dining (The Norm restaurant and bar; BKM Café and Bowl)

Rest rooms are on the first, second, and third floors; those on the first and third floors are wheelchair accessible. The second-floor rest rooms can be reached only via the stairs from the Schapiro Wing on the third floor. Water fountains are near the first- and third-floor rest rooms.

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

By Subway

2/3 to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum. Transfer to 2/3 from 4/5 (at Nevins Street) and B, D, Q, N, R, and LIRR (at Atlantic Terminal-Barclays Center). See a subway map. Make sure to check with the MTA for any service changes, especially on the weekend.


By Bus

The closest bus stops are:

B41 and B69 at Grand Army Plaza

B45 at St. Johns Place and Washington Avenue

Check with the MTA for the most up-to-date bus information.


By Car

From Manhattan:

Brooklyn Bridge; left at Tillary Street; right on Flatbush Avenue for about 1.5 miles to Grand Army Plaza; about 2/3 around Plaza; right on Eastern Parkway. We're at the first intersection (Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue). Or: Manhattan Bridge enters directly onto Flatbush Avenue.

From Westchester, the Bronx, Queens, or Connecticut:

Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (Triborough) to Brooklyn Queens Express (BQE); Manhattan Bridge exit to Tillary Street; left onto Flatbush Avenue and proceed according to the directions from Manhattan.

From Staten Island and southern or central New Jersey:

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to Gowanus Expressway (Route 278 towards Manhattan); exit to 38th Street; left on Fourth Avenue for about 2 miles; right on Union Street; 5 blocks to Grand Army Plaza; go 1/2 around Plaza; right on Eastern Parkway. We're at first intersection (Eastern Parkway and Washington Avenue).

From northern or north central New Jersey:

George Washington Bridge/Holland or Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan; follow directions from Manhattan.

From Long Island:

Grand Central Parkway to Jackie Robinson Parkway; exit at Bushwick Avenue; left at third traffic light to Eastern Parkway; about 3 miles to Washington Avenue. We're across intersection at left.


Parking

On-site parking is available in the lot behind the Museum, off Washington Avenue. On Target First Saturdays there's a flat rate of $5 beginning at 5 p.m.


Bikes

Park your bicycle at the racks behind the Museum, next to the Sculpture Garden. Bikes are parked at your own risk; we don't accept responsibility for vandalism or theft.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How was it used perhaps? The shape is weird, maybe it was a pediment for headboard for a bed?
That's a great question! Let me look into that and see if I can find an answer. In the meantime, I can tell you that this a later version of a full-length work entitled "My Children," which is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thayer sometimes made copies of his own paintings, and he deliberately left this one looking "unfinished" to show his process of making the painting.
The shape you see here certainly does recall Italian Renaissance altarpieces, and the imagery itself alludes to the art historical past of the Renaissance (for example, depictions of angels, or of the Virgin and Child).
The frame was made specifically for this painting.
The pattern on the skirt is a reference to a specific king's reign. The skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and leaf forms. Leopards are often symbols of powerful individuals like the king memorialized by this work. You may have read this on the label, but "A motif on the figure's kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, who ruled from 1504 to 1550."
The decoration around the top edge of the ceiling is interesting. What's the story on that?
The general style of this room, part of the Aesthetic Movement, was influenced by the Moors in northwest Africa and southern Spain.
So lots of detailing and decoration, like the Ahlambra in Spain.
One interesting fact about this room: the house where this room was located was demolished after Rockefeller died, and the land was given to the Museum of Modern Art. Their sculpture garden is in the location where this room used to be! Something nice to think of next time you visit.
Would this much fruit be realistic? I thought of fruit as really expensive/hard to come by until our time. Also how wealthy was the family that lived here? What were their occupations?
The lemons and limes would have had to be imported and grown potted. So it could be a symbol of wealth chosen by our curator to include citrus fruits.
The owner of this house was originally Dutch, they settled in the area in the 1650s. Jan Martense Schenck became a miller. So though he wasn't exceedingly wealthy, they could afford some luxuries.
None of the furniture or stylings inside the house are original, the curators have made specific choices to give a larger narrative about lifestyle in early colonial Breuckelen (Brooklyn), and innovations in design and international trade at the time.
For example, including different types of glass, porcelain and silver objects hints at the proposed wealth of the owners.
What was the popular response like for "A Ride for Liberty"?
He made three versions but unfortunately he never exhibited them so it's hard to know what the public response would have been.
I also wanted to thank you for placing a Zuni jar with contemporaneous paintings. What a great reminder of other art going on at the same time!
How did you choose what to display in the Life & Death exhibit? Did you work with Native people to find out what would be ok to show? For example, some kachinas are taboo. Very interesting exhibit!
Good point about the Kachinas, the Zuni and the Hopi have very different views about the secrecy of the Kachina culture.
The Hopi actually make and sell Kachinas at Indian Market, while the Zuni are much more secretive. Some of the Zuni ones we have on display were actually commissioned for the museum in 1920s in secrecy. Others were purchased from traders working in the area. However, since the days of our collecting ideas and approaches to curating from these cultures have significantly changed. Members of both Zuni and Hopi tribes have worked with the curators for this display. The curators also work closely with many Native people tribes to ensure that the exhibits are respectful of the native cultures. 
I knew the modern ones were for sale. I'm fascinated by the old commissioned ones. I didn't know that was done back then.
It's actually a really interesting story, about the Zuni figures in particular. Give me a second to write out for you what it entailed.
Stewart Culin, our curator of Ethnology from 1903-1929, traveled often to the Southwest to collect for the museum. He tried really hard to get some Kachina dolls and masks over multiple visits, but the Zuni made it impossible. He was even supervised during his stay to make sure no sacred objects were purchased by him.
However, in 1904 (sorry, not the 1920s as I mentioned earlier..) Andrew Vanderwagen, a missionary who had a trading store in the Pueblo at the time, was able to secure many dolls and different masks for Culin. Vanderwagen had hired three She-we-na (Zuni) to make these objects, and had them work in a locked room in his basement.
Culin expressly stated that all the kachina dolls on view at the museum were new, and hadn't been used during any of the Kachina ceremonies. Authenticity in fact, couldn't be guaranteed, since the men were working in secrecy and under the pressure of a deadline, and the dolls were not viewed by the community for vetting. These dolls do not carry ritual paraphernalia like most dolls, and their kilts are not hemmed, so it's questionable whether they represent specific Kachina spirits or not. Though the Zuni who have visited the museum since have approved their display and have expressed that they do seem authentic.
It's part of the complexity of being a museum of such long standing, where collecting practices, understanding of culture, and respect for communities has shifted so dramatically over time. That's why our curators are so eager to work with different tribes and First Nation communities about the display and explanation of their objects.
I'm glad to hear that, thank you. Your integration of Native art in the American story is a huge contrast from some others nearby (I visited AMNH earlier this week and was pretty traumatized!). It's great to see the old and contemporary Native items together, too. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me. This app is a great resource, btw.
What else is papyrus used for?
To make paper from the Cyperus papyrus plant, they would have first soaked the stalks in order to remove the green rind and then split them into thin strips. These strips of soft pith were arranged into vertical and horizontal layers, then pounded with a stone or mallet and dried to form a single sheet which was rubbed with a stone or shell to create a smooth texture for the application of ink or paint. Papyrus sheets were joined together in long rolls that could be over a hundred feet long. That was the basic use, for writing. And in fact it was one of the most valuable items Ancient Egypt traded with foreign lands. The term paper actually comes from "papyrus" from the Latin paper-reed.
What direction did ancient Egyptians write? And do you know why?
They wrote both horizontally and vertically, though primarily they wrote right to left. You always read into the faces of the people and animals. I can direct you to a really interesting information panel in the middle galleries of the Egyptian collection which speaks about the use of hieroglyphics and their complexity if you'd like to learn more about the process of writing.
Which of these women was wealthier?
Both women were wealthy. Even if we didn't know anything about them, we could guess this, because portraits were luxury items in the 18th century and only the elite owned fine portraits like these.
However, eighteenth century Spanish America was generally wealthier than British America. (The woman in yellow is Spanish-American, and the woman in rose and green is British-American.)
The British-American colonies hasn't yet established themselves in international trade the way Spain's colonies had, and the British colonists were still working to market their colonies' natural resources.
Spain was exporting gold and silver from places like Mexico, but the British-American colonies (Copley painted portraits in New England, for example) were not yet doing business on that scale, so the Spanish territories often had more money.
Can you tell me more about the recessed areas?
The depression in the center was most likely used for ritual offerings. The eyes and ears may have been filled with incrustation of precious metals or stones. 
Can you tell me more about this?
 Churches in Spanish New Mexico started being decorated with native craftspeople rather than with paintings and furniture imported from Europe in the 1750s and the cross is an example of a typical decoration, created from a local pine wood.
ASK App ASK Team

Curious about how we developed ASK Brooklyn Museum? The project team is blogging regularly on BKM Tech, and we've open sourced our code on Github.