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The Brooklyn Museum’s new ‘late’ show

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The Brooklyn Museum will expand its hours well into the evening in an effort to lure new visitors, the venerable institution quietly announced last week.

Beginning on Oct. 6, the museum will remain open until 10 pm on Thursday and Friday, plus add an hour to its normal 5 pm closing time on Wednesday.

Top administrators at the museum said that a year-long analysis of admissions data determined that the extended hours would bring in more visitors.

“This important and positive change … will enable us to better serve a 21st century audience by providing greater access for visitors who work during the day, for families, as well as for those who prefer to visit weekday evenings,” said Arnold Lehman, the director of the museum.

Others noted that the museum’s current hours did not accommodate the modern museum-goer.

“[We] believe that the previous hours did not appropriately address the changing needs of the museum’s community,” said Norman Feinberg, a member of the board of trustees.

Lehman elaborated a bit on this notion in a letter to the New York Times, writing, “Our interest is in who is coming to the Brooklyn Museum — and embracing them — not in their numbers.”

The new hours would seem to be more inviting to both Brooklynites living around the museum, as well as tourists from out of town. The hours should also beef up attendance — whether that is the museum’s stated goal or not.

Lately, the museum has taken criticism for “populist” exhibitions that appear to diminish its world-class collection.

The main example of this is “Libation,” a small exhibit, which was awarded to an artist after he won a “Top Chef”-style reality TV show on the Bravo network.

Still, the museum has put on other well-received exhibits, including the ongoing Andy Warhol retrospective examining the latter portion of the pop legend’s career. Other shows that have met with praise include the “To Live Forever” exhibit from the Museum’s astounding collection of Egyptian artifacts, as well as Kiki Smith’s “Sojourn.”

The new hours are also more in line with other major museum in the city, including the Met, the MOMA, and the Whitney — though it’s worth noting the Brooklyn Museum’s new hours actually go later into the evening than its peers in Manhattan.

Under the new hours, the museum will also open at 11 am Wednesday through Friday, and will retain its normal 10 am to 6 pm hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000]. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

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Reader Feedback

JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
The problem with this Museum, Ask any Brooklynite the hours this Museum is open? For 30 yrs I still can not answer that question confidently. Ask someone who lives across the street. They probably couldn't answer that question confidently. Not knocking the Museum, I love it. Everyone is familiar with First Saturday's, but that's recent and that's it.
Aug. 25, 2010, 10:08 pm
zeus from Prospect Heights says:
Really? so a city owned, tax-payer subsidized institution does a "year long analysis" to determine that opening more than 21 hours in the work week (they are closed monday and tuesday, and were open from 10am to 5pm on wed., thurs., and friday) may result in greater attendance? Wonder what they paid to figure this one out. . .

will it work? or at least justify the additional staff expenses? I'm sure brooklyn paper will be on hand October 6th to observe and report
Aug. 25, 2010, 10:32 pm

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