The lovely Beaux-Arts Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Pkwy., at Washington Ave., 718/638-5000, www.brooklynart.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed.–Fri., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat.–Sun., suggested admission adults $10, students and seniors $6, children under 12 free) was designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1897. Though one of the world’s largest museums, it’s always lived in the shadow of its mighty cousin across the river, the Metropolitan Museum of Art .
But the Brooklyn Museum is very different from the Met or any other Manhattan  art museum. It’s usually quieter and less crowded.
And more importantly, it stages some of the more unusual shows in town, among them are major retrospectives by African American artists such as Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence, and women artists such as Elizabeth Murray and Louise Bourgeois.
Like the Metropolitan, the Brooklyn Museum’s collections span virtually the entire history of art. Highlights include extensive Egyptian holdings, an excellent Native American collection, and a permanent collection of contemporary art. The museum also has one of the city’s most eclectic gift shops, filled with handicrafts from around the world.
On the first Saturday of every month, the museum is open until 11 p.m. for an evening of special events.