BHS DUMBO is our new second location, located in the historic Empire Stores warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park.


Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm

Suggested Admission

$10 for adults
$6 for seniors and teachers
Free for members and students of all ages.


Enter at 55 Water Street or through Brooklyn Bridge Park. 

Join us on 3/30 for Family Time at BHS DUMBO - Storytelling!

Join us in Waterfront, our new exhibition at Brooklyn Historical Society DUMBO, for a free family program.

The last Saturday of each month sends children and their caretakers back in time through a storytelling event featuring a reading by one of BHS’s educators. This program also invites participants to design and make their own book! 

Following the activity, stick around to enjoy the many family-friendly parts of Waterfront with children as young as one-year old to…

  • Dress up like the women welders of the Brooklyn Navy Yard in WWII.

  • Touch and smell goods, like cochineal bugs and coffee beans, which passed through Empire Stores when it was a busy warehouse.

  • Use our Brooklyn waterfront magnet board to design your own city.

  • Film videos of yourself traveling back in time.

  • Color a Brooklyn waterfront themed postcard to mail to family & friends.

Don't miss this special morning for families! Click here for more information and to RSVP.

Now On View:





About Waterfront

Step back in history! Waterfront is an exhibition and multimedia experience for all ages that brings to life the vibrant history of Brooklyn’s coastline through stories of workers, artists, industries, activists, families, neighborhoods, and ecosystems. Waterfront is on view at BHS’s second location in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Empire Stores.

Waterfront traces a personal, local history of the borough’s waterfront while also revealing the coastline's global significance. The exhibition engages with important debates about the shoreline’s future by taking on the waterfront’s most pressing contemporary topics including sea level rise and gentrification.  Highlights include:

Landfilling the Shore

Visitors explore a sculptural installation of 82 archaeological artifacts excavated from the ground beneath Empire Stores.
Brooklyn Bivalves
This section tells quirky story of oysters and sewage in the early 20th century.
An Unfree Waterfront
Visitors unlock the untold stories of three enslaved Brooklynites and their struggle for freedom.
The Walled City
Visitors are immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of Brooklyn’s 19th-century warehousing district.
A Laboring Family
Visitors become historians themselves to recreate the story of one 19th-century Empire Stores dockworker, Michael Harkins, and his family.
Made In Brooklyn
An object installation highlights iconic products made along Brooklyn’s coastline.
Factory Women
This section honors centuries of women workers along the waterfront, and provides a dress-up and play opportunity for younger visitors.
 After Industry
Salvaged artifacts and oral histories tell the story of the waterfront’s midcentury economic decline and its 21st century rebirth.
Rising Waters
Through a series of short videos, historians, business owners, politicians, scientists, and activists explore key questions about climate change and sea level rise. 
Waterfront Neighborhoods Magnet Wall
Here, kids and adults can create their own whimsical waterfront on a ten-foot magnetized landscape.

The exhibition features two cutting-edge digital installations that will delight visitors of all ages.

At Water’s Edge
, an eight-minute multimedia experience, introduces visitors to the epic sweep of more than 20,000 years of Brooklyn’s waterfront history and glimpses its future. The installation transports visitors into the landscapes, sights, and sounds of ten moments in the waterfront’s past.

Using Kinect technology, History in Motion drops visitors into ten historic paintings and photographs, records them interacting with historical figures and objects, and weaves their actions into a 60-second movie starring themselves that can be shared on social media.

Join us at BHS Dumbo for this interactive experience of Brooklyn’s waterfront!

About Empire Stores

Situated in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Empire Stores is one of the few remaining 19th-century warehouses that once lined Brooklyn's waterfront. Erected between 1869 and 1885, Empire Stores housed countless tons of coffee, sugar, jute, animal hides, and many other commodities when Brooklyn was one of the largest commercial waterfronts in the world. Redeveloped and reopened in 2017, Empire Stores is now a hub of food, culture, and tech with BHS DUMBO as the sole cultural institution in the complex.

Empire Stores

Thank you to the generous donors whose support make Brooklyn Historical Society DUMBO and the upcoming Waterfront exhibition possible:

Major Supporters

• American Express
• Bank of America
• Bloomberg Philanthropies
• Dormitory Authority of the State of New York
• Empire State Development
• FHLBank San Francisco
• Fiduciary Trust Company International
• Institute of Museum and Library Services
• Midtown Equities
• M&T Bank
• National Endowment for the Humanities
• The NYC Council, Brooklyn Delegation
• NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
• The Office of the Brooklyn Borough President
• The Office of the Mayor of the City of New York
• The Rockefeller Foundation
• The Thompson Family Foundation

National Endowment for the Humanities Institute of Museum and Library Sciences Bloomberg Midtown Equities
Bank of America American Express FHL Bank San Francisco M&T Bank
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs New York State Council on the Arts  Fiduciary Trust  The Rockefeller Foundation 

BHS programs are also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Marketing support provided by Empire State Development’s I LOVE NEW YORK program under the Market NY initiative.

Special thanks to Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation