Visit the Othmer Library
Hours and Admission
The Othmer Library at Brooklyn Historical Society's main
location on Pierrepont Street will be closed on Thursday, Feb 21. Thank you
for your patience.
The Othmer Library is open to the public Wednesdays - Saturdays from 1:00 - 5:00 pm.
Admission to the library is included with Museum admission. For upcoming closures, directions, and suggested admissions rates, see our general information page
- Requests for appointments to use archival material
must be submitted at least two days prior to the date
you would like to come in. Please email
to request an appointment; you will receive an email confirmation once
you are booked. Please note that several collections are stored offsite
and require three weeks notice to use; these include
Packer Collegiate Institute records, the
Corporation Counsel records,
Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church records,
Bureau of Sewers records, and the
Pierrepont Family Papers.
- The following resources remain available for use during our open hours of Wednesday through Saturday, 1PM to 5PM, and do not require an appointment: books, maps, atlases, directories, periodicals, and land conveyance records, as well as databases including our image and oral history databases, Brooklyn Daily Eagle and Long Island Star newspapers, and ancestry.com.
- BHS is currently working to create the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)-funded Portal to the Past: Creating Brooklyn Historical Society’s Digital Map Collection, a project that will increase public access to the institution’s extensive collection of flat and folded maps through conservation, digitization, and the creation of a web-based portal. At the completion of the project, we expect over 1,600 maps to be digitized and published on a web-based portal, similar to our award-winning Oral History Portal. As we prepare the maps over the next months, there will be limited access to maps in the reading room. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org at least two days ahead of time to check on map availability before your visit. Also note all atlases, including fire insurance atlases, will remain in the reading room and will continue to be available throughout this time. Be sure to stay up to date with the BHS blog for more information and stay current with updates on this exciting project.
What to Expect
All BHS collections are non-circulating, meaning they cannot be checked out or taken home. Plan accordingly!
To help prepare for your visit to Brooklyn Historical Society:
- Our reading room is open to the public from 1:00 – 5:00 pm. You may come and go at any point during the afternoon.
- When you arrive, please check in at the Admissions Desk on the first floor. The museum opens at 12:00.
- You will be asked to check your coats and bags. Keys to lockers are available at no charge at the Admissions Desk.
- You may bring pencils (no pens), notepads, laptops, or tablets into the reading room. No food, drink, or gum.
- It is very cold in our library, so bring an extra layer to keep warm!
- Digital photography is permitted without a flash.
- There is free wireless available in the library using the password bhs123456
- There are a limited number of electrical outlets in our historic reading room.
We have small lockers available at no cost that measure 17” x 12” x 11”
We have a limited number (4) of tall lockers that measure 17” x 12” x 33”
You may sign out a locker key at no cost from the Admissions Desk on the first floor. Please check your personal items in the lockers (located near the ground floor) before entering the library on the 2nd floor.