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School group engages with Albert Bierstadt’s A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt. Rosalie (1866) at the Brooklyn Museum, February 2018. (Photo: Kolin Mendez)

Museum Spotlight: 200 Years of Learning and Creativity with American Art

April 5–August 18, 2024

American Art Galleries, 5th Floor

A single artwork can contain a multitude of meanings; an art educator can help us unravel and understand them all. For two centuries, education has been central to the Brooklyn Museum. As we count down to our 200th anniversary celebration this fall, and celebrate the opening of our new Toby Devan Lewis Education Center, we’re revisiting and reaffirming our steadfast commitment to learning. 

200 Years of Learning and Creativity with American Art presents sixteen works—from Gilbert Stuart’s 1796 portrait of George Washington to Acoma Pueblo potter Grace Chino’s 1989 vase inspired by ancient Pueblo pots and shards—that illuminate connections between history and contemporary life. Prompts accompanying the works exemplify how Brooklyn Museum educators use art to engage visitors of all ages and walks of life, encouraging dialogue, play, and critical reflection.

Visually and thematically rich, these paintings, drawings, vessels, and masks are highlights of our Arts of the Americas and American Art galleries, sections of which are currently closed in anticipation of a major transformation this fall. As we reflect on the history of the Museum’s education department, whose roots date back to 1913, we continue to build on this legacy, supporting learning and creativity for centuries to come.

Museum Spotlights are intimate installations of noteworthy collection works, recent acquisitions, and loans, presented to encourage deeper conversations about art, history, and justice.

200 Years of Learning and Creativity with American Art is organized by Michael Reback, Senior Manager of School Programs; Shamilia McBean Tocruray, Director of Education; Stephanie Sparling Williams, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of American Art; Caroline Gillaspie, Assistant Curator of American Art; Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator, Arts of the Americas; and Dare Turner, Curator of Indigenous Art; with Grace Billingslea, Curatorial Assistant, Arts of the Americas and Europe, and the Education Division, Brooklyn Museum.