The last phase in the creation of the Luce Center for American Art concludes with the opening of the 5,000 square-foot Visible Storage ? Study Center. The dense display of objects in the Visible Storage ? Study Center offers you an inside look at how museums work and provides a glimpse of the breadth and scope of the Brooklyn Museum's extensive American collections. As huge as the Museum's building is, just a small fraction of the permanent collections can be displayed in its limited exhibition gallery space. Whereas only about 350 works are on view in the adjacent American Identities exhibition, this facility gives open access to some 2,000 of the many thousands of American objects held in storage, which are now available for viewing and research by students, scholars, and the general public.
The Visible Storage ? Study Center is a working Museum facility as much as other storerooms throughout the building that are not open to the public. As in the closed storerooms, the works held in Visible Storage are available for study, and maintained under proper conditions of temperature, humidity, and light levels. Two large, glass-walled bays in the Visible Storage ? Study Center contain nearly six hundred paintings from the permanent collection on rolling racks; the selection on view will be periodically rotated to provide an ever-changing array from the collection's holdings. Large glass vitrines also put on view the majority of the Museum's collection of historic (that is, pre-1945) American sculpture. Other vitrines contain a selection of objects from the American decorative arts collection: pewter, commemorative pressed glass, Tiffany glass and lamps, examples of contemporary industrial design and furniture, silver, eighteenth-century furniture, nineteenth-century seating furniture with original upholstery, and Brooklyn-made ceramics. There are also representative displays of Native American and Spanish colonial objects. Three areas are devoted to small special exhibitions that change periodically and provide focused examinations of different art historical themes or aspects of the permanent collections.
Although this is an operating storage facility rather than a conventional exhibition gallery, the exhibition planning team has designed it to welcome you and orient you to the resources in the facility. Selected "focus objects" are displayed on colored shelves, with texts offering additional information in booklets hanging from the cases. You will find focus objects in the cases, on the screens of paintings, and in small special exhibitions that highlight rotating selections of works on paper, decorative arts, paintings, and sculpture. There is also a searchable database, available in the Visible Storage ? Study Center and online, with detailed information about the objects. We invite you to explore the Brooklyn Museum's great American collections through a tour of the display.