Online view: Digital Brooklyn exhibits you can view from home

MTA New York City Transit – After the Snow
Cold comfort: An online exhibit by the Transit Museum shows how the city’s transit system weathered previous crises, such as when workers had to clear the tracks in Coney Island after heavy snowfall in 2014.
MTA New York City Transit/Marc A. Hermann

You can see ’em at the online museum!

All of Brooklyn’s museums have shut their doors to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus, but you can check out many of their exhibitions for free online. Here are three of the best digital showcases that you can cruise through without leaving your home.

Subway stories

The current coronavirus crisis has led to plummeting numbers of subway riders, but the city’s sprawling public transportation has bounced back from much more dire physical and financial crises, including the attacks of 9-11, the 2003 Northeast Blackout, Superstorm Sandy, and many other extreme weather events.

The New York Transit Museum offers a digitized photo exhibit of those emergencies in “Bringing Back the City.” The online exhibition showcases dramatic photos of collapsed subway stops near the former Twin Towers, commuters walking on an elevated track during the 2003 blackout, and workers clearing feet of snow off the Coney Island tracks after the Christmas Blizzard of 2010.

A heavily damaged bus sits near Ground Zero on September 11.NYC Transit, Corporate Communications, Courtesy of Barbara Orlando, New York Transit Museum Collection

Transit history buffs will also enjoy the museum’s online exhibit on the Grand Central Terminal. “Grand by Design” shows how the transportation hub shaped the Big Apple into the form we know today.

A shore thing

Take a deep dive into the history of Brooklyn’s coastline, with an online exhibit hosted by both the Brooklyn Historical Society and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The Brooklyn Waterfront History site explores how a steam-powered ferry by inventor Robert Fulton starting in 1814 provided an early form of mass transit between what is now Dumbo and Manhattan, which transformed Brooklyn from a sleepy waterfront village into a bustling industrial city. Other portions of the sprawling site discuss how Brooklyn became the coffee capital of America in the early 1900s, and its status as a hotspot for immigrant workers during 19th and 20th centuries.

Indoor disco

The Brooklyn Museum’s recently-launched exhibit on the iconic 1970s disco club Studio 54 was shuttered before any member of the public could step past its velvet rope. The organization’s curators do not plan to put the exhibit online, according to a spokeswoman, but they have posted some resources for those who want to turn their apartments into a dance floor.

The museum’s Youtube channel offers a lesson on how to get your groove on with a Disco Break, featuring professional dancers Belinda Adam and Alexandra Wood. And the exhibit has a Spotify page, featuring a playlist of 40 hot, hustlin’ disco tunes.


The museum also offers many online resources on its wider collection, including digital images of thousands of objects in its collections, art history pop quizzes on Instagram, a playlist of artist talks on YouTube, and several educational materials on its website for parents teaching from home.