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Purchase tickets. Some of the Saturday programs have limited capacity and require a separate ticket. Tickets will be available at registration on a first-come, first-served basis.
 

DAY 1: Friday, October 20, 2017

SESSION 1
9:30–11:15 am

Opening Performance
Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Welcome and Introductory Remarks
Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum
Tom Healy, writer and Guest Curator, Brooklyn Museum

“If There’s a Heaven, I Can’t Find a Stairway”: Can Art Create a Way Forward?
Cultural critic Touré in conversation with rap artist Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter of The Roots. They discuss creative responsibilities, artistic imagination, and staying inspired as artists, thinkers, and global citizens.

Keynote
Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator from New York, in conversation with Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum, on the awesome impact of one person, one change, or one story.

When Does Practice Become the Real Thing?: A Talk on Community Benefits
Roberta Uno, Director, Arts in a Changing America, gives a talk on best practices and effective strategies for creating inclusive and dynamic cultural communities. How do we shift institutional priorities, build equitable relationships, and encourage accountability?

Creative Resistance: The Role of the Artist
Paola Mendoza, filmmaker and Artistic Director, Women’s March on Washington, speaks on how artists can help drive change through cultural creation, connecting people through their common humanity.

SESSION 2
11:30 am–1:25 pm

Across the Line: Changing Culture with Virtual Reality
Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Experience Officer, Planned Parenthood, in conversation with Lindsey Taylor Wood, Founder and President, The Helm. This conversation explores how Planned Parenthood uses art and such new media as virtual reality to tell stories, expand their reach, and inspire change. Through these creative strategies they focus not only on policy victories but on changing the culture of shame and stigma around women’s sexual and reproductive health.

Can Politicians Think Like Artists?
A conversation among artists Hank Willis Thomas and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress, moderated by Tom Healy. They unpack what artists and policy-makers may be able to learn from each other as creative dissenters and boundary-pushers.

Everyday Creativity: Making Change in Communities
A conversation among Kemi Ilesanmi, Executive Director, The Laundromat Project; Ebony Noelle Golden, Founder and CEO, Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative; and Sade Lythcott, CEO, National Black Theatre, moderated by Adjoa Jones de Almeida, Director of Education, Brooklyn Museum. Three community arts leaders get together to discuss the complexities and transformative power of their local practices and initiatives in New York City, amplifying the link between creativity, imagination, and neighborhood well-being.

Amplifier: Hear Our Voice
Cleo Barnett, artist, curator, and Program Director, Amplifier, gives a brief talk on making art specifically for movement-building and harnessing the power of positive propaganda for elevating voices, including working with the Women’s March on Washington.

How to Build a Movement
Linda Sarsour and Bob Bland, national co-chairs of the Women’s March on Washington, reflect on the massive global success of the January 21, 2017, protest and the ongoing effort to sustain momentum for intersectional women’s rights. Moderated by Carmen Hermo, Assistant Curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum.

BREAK FOR LUNCH
1:25–2:30 pm

SESSION 3
2:30–4:20 pm

Planting Seeds for Communities of Change
Alvin Starks, Senior Program Officer, Open Society Foundations, in conversation with Anjali Kumar, Chief People Officer and General Counsel, Cheddar Inc., and William Floyd, Head of External Affairs, Google New York and California; moderated by Rashida Bumbray, Senior Program Manager of Arts Exchange, Open Society Foundations. Members of philanthropic foundations and the corporate and start-up sectors discuss how the arts can help institutions create a culture of engagement that supports social justice and helps communities thrive.

Faith and Social Change in Brooklyn
Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, and Reverend Eric Thomas, Interim Pastor, Siloam Presbyterian Church in Bed-Stuy, discuss spiritual life in Brooklyn with Joyce S. Dubensky, CEO, Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, with particular attention to belonging, allyship, safety, and self-expression.

Our Bodies Ourselves: Advocacy through Feminist Filmmakers
Pamela Berger and Jane Pincus, founders of the trailblazing women's health organization Our Bodies Ourselves, unite with Julie Childers, OBOS Executive Director, and Ayesha Chatterjee, OBOS Global Project team, to present their work—remarkable for its longevity—and an intergenerational discussion of feminist activism, including a screening of vintage films from the Global Women’s Health Movement.

Black Lives Matter: The Future of a Movement
CNN political commentator Sally Kohn interviews Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, on systemic racism, the movement, rage, and hope.

SESSION 4
4:35–6:15 pm

Making Brooklyn Well: Designing Healthy Communities for Everyone
Richard Cook, co-founder of COOKFOX architecture firm, and Brenda Rosen, President and CEO, Breaking Ground, discuss the intersection of design and community wellness. They unpack strategies for supporting mental and physical health through connections to nature in the built environment, and the efficacy of good design to create safety and security for Brooklyn’s most vulnerable citizens.

Open Access: A Creative Practice
Canadian social practice artist Carmen Papalia presents on the empathic possibilities of his work, which has been described as an “open-sourcing of his own access . . . making visible the opportunities for learning and knowing through the non-visual senses.”

Indigenous Art and Organizing: A Conversation on Policy, Practice, and Representation
Jodi Gillette, former advisor to President Obama; Kevin Gover, Director, National Museum of the American Indian; and artist Jeffrey Gibson discuss the ethics of representing and supporting indigenous art, history, and culture. They share lessons learned and strategies for ensuring inclusion, growth, and exchange among institutions, artistic communities, and governments. Moderated by Catherine Morris, Sackler Senior Curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum.

The Fight for Opportunity: Immigration Now
Tania Bruguera, artist and inaugural Artist-in-Residence of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, joins Murad Awawdeh, Vice President of Advocacy, New York Immigration Coalition, and artist Felipe Baeza for a discussion of political challenges facing New York’s immigrant communities and the creative possibilities of Arte Útil, or “useful art.”

SESSION 5
6:30–8:15 pm

The Value of Storytelling in Education with performances from SLUT: The Play and Now That We're Men
Teacher, writer, and director Katie Cappiello and Beau Willimon, playwright and creator of House of Cards, explore the fusion of theater arts and activism in education and the active benefits of the theater as a space to encourage challenging conversations on topics like gender norms and sexual assault.

I Can’t Breathe: A Reflection
Artist and performer Shaun Leonardo presents a performative reflection and meditation on self-preservation, aggression, and the fight to survive in over-policed communities of color. Conducted in memory of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Jamar Clark, Laquan McDonald, Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Ramarley Graham, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin… and countless others.

Who Says Who We Are? The Ethics of Representation
Claudia Rankine, poet, essayist, and founder of The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII); artist Sam Durant; Coco Fusco, artist, writer, and professor; and Antwaun Sargent, writer and art critic, approach a topic of recent museological and political urgency, tackling the ethics of representation, the current state of racial and identity politics in the art world, and the repercussions of visual culture.

Closing Remarks
Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum

Concluding Performance
The Resistance Revival Chorus

Reception, Rubin Pavilion, 1st Floor
 

Day 2: Saturday, October 21, 2017

11:15 am–12:45 pm Mirror/Echo/Tilt, Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st Floor
MELANIE CREAN
A performative workshop led by Melanie Crean and developed by Shaun Leonardo, Melanie Crean, and Sable Elyse Smith focused on questioning and shifting the American concept of criminality. Attendees engage in short physical storytelling exercises to explore how ideas of criminality are represented in popular media as well as everyday social exchange.

11:15 am–12:45 pm ArtChangeUS Presents: Grounding from Knowing, Luce Center for American Art, 5th Floor
EMILY JOHNSON
How can we imagine change without understanding our present and past relationship to place and land? This workshop focuses on where we are—Lenapehoking—the Lenape homeland. It is not a history lesson, but rather an exploration of how to build relationships with land and place so that we are better able to extend care and enliven true change.

11:15 am–12:45 pm Creative Resistance, Beaux-Arts Court, 3rd Floor
PAOLA MENDOZA and SARAH SOPHIE FLICKER
Join Paola Mendoza, Artistic Director, Women’s March on Washington, and Sarah Sophie Flicker, cultural organizer and activist, for an intimate roundtable about the role of artists in resisting injustice. They discuss lessons learned from the Women's March and how they use art to combat oppression and marginalization. Brainstorming sessions, break-out groups, and sharing of ideas to follow.

11:30 am–12:15 pm We Shouldn’t Have Policies That We are Afraid to Talk About, Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
LAURIE JO REYNOLDS
Artist and activist Laurie Jo Reynolds presents a dynamic talk that considers state responses to sexual abuse and violence, examining unintended consequences of public registration, notification laws, and related restrictions. Q&A with audience members follows.

11:30 am­–12:30 pm; 12:30–1:30 pm; 2–3 pm Amplify Your Voice: Silkscreening Protest Art, Rubin Pavilion, 1st Floor
AMPLIFIER
Amplifier, the organization that flooded the streets with images of hope during the Inauguration and Women’s March, offers a screenprinting workshop and discusses how images can be used to fuel movements. Participants get to screen-print their own protest poster.

11:30 am–1 pm Film Retrospective of the Global Women’s Health Movement, Sackler Center, Forum, 4th Floor
OUR BODIES OURSELVES founders
In this session, Our Bodies Ourselves founders present the films Abortion (1971) and Jane: An Abortion (1995) and lead a post-screening discussion.

12:30–2 pm; 3:30–5 pm D.I.Y. Zine-Making, Beaux-Arts Court, 3rd Floor
CON ARTIST COLLECTIVE
Before the internet there were zines. Learn about the history of zines and their political engagement, with artists from New York’s Con Artist Collective, which invites participants to make their own zines.

1–2 pm Google’s Love Letters, Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
MALIKA SAADA SAAR and others to be announced
Join Malika Saada Saar, Google's Senior Counsel on Civil and Human Rights, for a video presentation and discussion of Google’s project partnering with criminal justice reform groups to connect kids with their incarcerated parents.

1:30–3 pm Film Retrospective of the Global Women’s Health Movement, Sackler Center, Forum, 4th Floor
OUR BODIES OURSELVES
Our Bodies Ourselves founders present La Operación (1982), a seminal documentary by filmmaker Ana María García on the mass sterilization of Puerto Rican women in the 1950s and 1960s, and leads a post-screening discussion with a focus on contemporary activism.

1:30–4:30 pm Staging Change: The Fusion of Theater Arts and Activism, Robert E. Blum Gallery, 1st Floor (free teen workshop)
KATIE CAPPIELLO
This free hands-on workshop led by playwright Katie Cappiello guides teens in the creation of plays grounded in social justice themes. Through acting exercises, group discussion, and creative writing, teens collaborate to devise original performance pieces that shed light on the challenges they and their peers face locally, nationally, and even worldwide.

2–3:30 pm The Laundromat Project Presents: We the News, Beaux-Arts Court, 3rd Floor
LIZANIA CRUZ
Join the Laundromat Project’s 2017 Bed-Stuy Create Change artist-in-residence Lizania Cruz for a discussion and hands-on zine-making workshop from her project We the News, based on the idea of sanctuary. Lizania co-creates spaces of sanctuary through the use of language, personifying the role storytelling plays in uniting, empowering, and building community.

2–4:30 pm Film: New York Premiere of Winnie (2017), Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
The Brooklyn Conference in partnership with the March on Washington Film Festival proudly presents the New York premiere of Winnie (2017), directed by Pascale Lamche, followed by a conversation with Gay McDougall, U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and others to be announced. This is the untold story of the mysterious forces that combined to take down Winnie Mandela, who fought on the front line and underground against apartheid in South Africa while her husband Nelson Mandela served a life sentence. In the end, Nelson was labeled a saint and Winnie a sinner.

3:30–5 pm Open Access, Sackler Center, Forum, 4th Floor
CARMEN PAPALIA
In reaction to his own challenges in receiving institutional disability support services, artist and disability activist Carmen Papalia developed a new, relational model for accessibility called Open Access. In this participatory discussion-based workshop, Papalia introduces participants to the Open Access framework and discusses his experiences organizing for accessibility and mutual aid.

4:30–5 pm The Dream Unfinished Orchestra Performance, Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
Join us for a performance by activist orchestra The Dream Unfinished.

4:30–5:15 pm Artist’s Eye: Natalie Frank and Zoë Buckman, Sackler Center, 4th Floor
This series of intimate, in-gallery talks by contemporary artists illuminates our special exhibitions with fresh and alternative perspectives. Artists Natalie Frank and Zoë Buckman respond to Roots of “The Dinner Party”: History in the Making.

5–6 pm Hewing a Stone of Hope from the Mountain of Despair: The Art of a New Politics, Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
For the concluding talk of the conference, writer and New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, Vice President, Open Society Foundations, and Brittany Packnett, Vice President, National Community Alliances for Teach For America, are in conversation about the interplay of the creative imagination and practical politics. How is the society we actually build shaped by the worlds we can imagine? 

Generous support for The Brooklyn Conference has been provided by Open Society Foundations.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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.

Use our award-winning app to get the most out of your next visit to the Brooklyn Museum.

Ask questions, get info, and share insights—via live, one-on-one texting—with one of our knowledgeable and friendly experts. Our team currently includes an archaeologist and anthropologist as well as art historians and educators.

It’s easy and fun, and you’re in control the whole time—use it a little, or a lot. All questions welcome!

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 currently open by appointment only. 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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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

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

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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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

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

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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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

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

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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 Second Floor:

Also on the Second Floor

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

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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 pm. 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.

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

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

Coat Check
A 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 restrooms 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 our 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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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

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

Pick up Assistive Listening Devices at the Admissions Desk.

ASK Brooklyn Museum Bloomberg Philanthropies

Here's what people are asking.

How can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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 can we be sure that we are interpreting the meaning of the symbols correctly? Languages change and words are lost/modified - Are these meaning we derive usually best guesses or do we have concrete links?
That is, actually, quite a big issue for the Catholic Church throughout the Medieval and Renaissance period: How can we be sure the people understand what we want them to understand? Well, to achieve that, they made their stories and figures appear super simple and almost symbol-like! Blue coat, then, "equals" Mary, spotting a gold finch "equals" Jesus, and so on. You can think of these symbols almost like traffic signs - you want to make sure you keep them as simple as possible, because misunderstanding the message can lead to potential trouble.
How integral were acts such as sacrifices to various gods to the daily operations of Egyptian societies?
To be honest, we aren't entirely sure how religion figured into the daily lives of Ancient Egyptians. Most what we know about Ancient Egyptian religion is based on monumental temples and funerary archaeology. An implement like this Ritual Saw in the shape of a Maat Feather would have been used in a temple or other elite setting.
How common were objects such as this in an average household? Was it something only the upper echelons did? Or a practice common across all of the levels of society?
The Pair Statue of Nebsen and Nebet-ta has a sweet story. As with many Ancient Egyptian objects on view in museums, it comes from a tomb rather than a household. A statue like this would belong to anyone who could afford a tomb. People of an upper middle class-type status and above afford tombs with statues. This particular example did belong to a high-ranking couple.
What's the story?
The couple's original statue actually went missing from their tomb, it may have been stolen, not many years after their death. So the statue that you see in the gallery was commissioned by the couple's son, Weserhat, to replace it and so that his parents would be able to receive offerings properly. What's also interesting is that the clothing and hairstyles seen in this statue have been updated to the time when the statue was made rather than when the couple lived. Weserhat was keeping his parents current!
Are there any well known craftsmen/women at all?
That's pretty rare. Sometimes a workshop can be identified by a style. In the even rarer case that the workshop has been excavated we may know the name of the lead artisan in charge of the operation.
Some workshops have been excavated at Tell el-Amarna, the capital during the reign of Akhenaten. In the Amarna Period gallery here you can see a small incomplete relief referred to as "The Wilbour Plaque" which does come from a workshop and is understood to be a model for young artisans to learn from.
This right?
Yes! Workshop models from Amarna, like this and the famous Bust of Nefertiti, are especially important because, as you can see below, the completed monuments were intentionally defaced.
Who is the figure in the red on the left? A representative of the church?
You're right! Spain, especially during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, was largely inhabited by devout Catholics so it was important to include a reference to the religion in "Columbus Before the Queen" painted by Emanuel Leutze.
How can a foot represent strength when there is such a thing as an Achilles Heel?
In the case of this particular foot, it is associated with the god Serapis (identified by the style of the sandal) who would not have been understood as having the same weakness(es) as Achilles. Serapis was a composite deity based largely on the Greek Zeus and the Egyptian Amun as well as the Egyptian Osiris and incorporated elements of other Egyptian and Greco-Roman deities. The Mediterranean was an incredible melting pot as the Empires got larger and larger.
I had a question about the red spindle thing in the background, does anyone know what that was used for?
 It's described as a wooden spinning frame. The older man, in the white turban, must have just been using it to spin thread or yarn from fibers (like cotton).  
What was the purpose of the sculpture? Was is for a church?
This work is 'Fallen Angels' by Salvatore Albano, a 19th century Italian sculptor who owned a major sculpture studio in Florence. While the topic is a religious one - it depicts the fallen angels who, according to the Bible, have rebelled against God - it was likely made for a private owner's enjoyment. Many of Albano's pieces were, in fact, made for American tourists!
This is interesting!
This incensario lid comes from the Pacific coast of Guatemala but shows the style of the city of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico, hundreds of miles away. At the time, Teotihuacan was a major cultural magnet and its style can be found throughout Mesoamerica!
There's a chimney hidden behind the figure, which ties into its use as a incense burner. I just love the jewelry the figure is wearing, especially the nose piece! It's actually removable.
What can you tell me about this art? 
This figure comes from the Campeche coast of Mexico (along the Gulf!) and shows a male figure inside a water lily. It was likely found in a cemetery. It would have been made by hand and painted. Some of the colors are still present.
If you look closely, there's a particularly special blue color that the artist used. It's a shade of Mayan blue, a type of blue pigment used by the Classic Mayan cultures that people only learned how to replicate recently. It was quite a mystery for scholars!
Does the color represent anything?
It does! Blue was associated with sacrifice in Mayan cultures at the time. It had connotations of healing and rebirth, as well.
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.