When the Brooklyn Museum recently rented out its giant neoclassical space to a real estate conference celebrating the borough’s economic zeitgeist, locals in the arts community vocally criticized the institution for complicity in the capitalist momentum that’s driving out the creative class that made Brooklyn great in the first place. The museum’s new director, Anne Pasternak, didn’t get defensive. Instead, she invited artists who were critical of recent changes to bring their protest inside as part of a new exhibit. That kind of moxie and incredible fund raising–plus its vibrant local community–explain the museum’s 21st-century success in building on its historic Egyptian collection and globally significant collection of African art with a long-term installation of Judy Chicago’s feminist inception “The Dinner Party” and rotating exhibitions of work by the likes of Ai Weiwei and Kara Walker.
The museum’s mobile app prompts visitor interaction with an ASK button that sends questions to staffers who not only answer pronto but use the conversations to adjust current shows and plan future ones. The doors are open late on Thursdays, and on the first Saturday of every month the party never stops with free admission (though you can pay what you wish anyway), live music, kids’ event, and curator talks.