Research: Luce Center for American Art

General Information

Visible Storage • Study Center: Behind the Scenes at the Brooklyn Museum

The dense display of objects in the Visible Storage • Study Center offers you an inside look at how museums work and provides a glimpse of the breadth and scope of the Brooklyn Museum's extensive American collections. As huge as the Museum's building is, just a small fraction of the permanent collections can be displayed in its limited exhibition gallery space. Whereas only about 350 works are on view in the adjacent American Identities exhibition, this facility gives open access to some 1,500 of the many thousands of American objects held in storage. Among them are paintings, works on paper, sculptures, and decorative arts, including Native American and Spanish colonial works.

The Visible Storage • Study Center is a working Museum facility as much as other storerooms throughout the building that are not open to the public. When you visit, you'll notice immediately that the works on view here are displayed in a much more compact fashion than in a gallery presentation. These objects are also organized as they are in storerooms, by medium and type--such as pewter objects or bronze sculptures. As in the closed storerooms, the works held in Visible Storage are available for study; maintained under proper conditions of temperature, humidity, and light levels; periodically rotated onto view at the Museum; and sometimes loaned to exhibitions at other institutions all over the world.

Most works in Visible Storage are identified only by the accession number assigned by the Museum's registrar. This number is your key to more information about the object on this special Web program created for the Luce Center for American Art. You can choose to browse through suggested categories or to search the database for particular objects or types of objects. Images of many objects are available on-line (eventually images will be included for all objects), and you may wish to use the computer database for a closer look at a work that is out of immediate range of view.

Although this is an operating storage facility rather than a conventional exhibition gallery, the exhibition planning team has designed it to welcome you and orient you to the resources in the facility. Selected "focus objects" are displayed on colored shelves, with texts offering additional information in booklets hanging from the cases. You will find focus objects in the cases, on the screens of paintings, and in small special exhibitions that highlight rotating selections of works on paper, decorative arts, paintings, and sculpture. We invite you explore the Brooklyn Museum's great American collections through a tour of the display of objects here and on this Web program.