New York City is home to numerous world-famous museums, but if you need a break from classics like the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the MoMA, do check out some of the City’s smaller, off-the-beaten path museums. In the previous installment of this series, we rounded up unique house museums in the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, and Manhattan. Today, we look at some the best that Brooklyn has to offer.
The Old Stone House is a 1933 reconstruction (using original stones) of the 1699 Vechte-Cortelyou House. The house witnessed the famous—though now largely forgotten—last stand of the Maryland 400 during the Revolutionary War Battle of Brooklyn. In 1883, the land became Washington Park, which was the first home of the Brooklyn Baseball Club (later the Brooklyn Dodgers). The 1889 and 1890 World Series were played there and the house served as the team’s first headquarters. Today, it operates as an interpretive and educational center dedicated to Brooklyn history, as well as a cultural resource for the community and is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York.
The Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum is located in Canarsie, and its oldest section dates from circa 1652. Pieter Claesen Wyckoff arrived in New Netherlands in 1637 as an indentured servant to the van Rensselaer family. He went on to become a successful farmer and magistrate. Over the centuries, additions were made to the house and its land was sold away. On December 24, 1967, it became the first building designated as a New York City landmark. Today, the house is open to the public and is operated under the auspices of the Historic House Trust.
Pieter Lefferts, a member of the New York State convention that ratified the United States Constitution in 1788, constructed Lefferts Historic House circa 1783. In 1917, the house was gifted to the City by the Lefferts family on the condition that it be moved onto City property in order to ensure its preservation. Lefferts Historic House was moved into Prospect Park and opened as a museum in 1920. Today, the house is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York.
Johannes Lott purchased a farm in Flatlands in 1719. By the end of the eighteenth-century his grandson, Hendrick I. Lott, outgrew the original house and built a grander, more modern house. Lott kept the original 1719 structure as the kitchen wing for his house. The house, whose farmlands once totaled 200 acres, was occupied by members of the Lott family until 1989. The house was one of the more recent additions to the Historic House Trust of New York and is currently closed for renovations and restorations.
Though you can’t go inside, check out the Commandant’s House in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the first building built by the federal government after they bought the land for the navy yard from shipbuilder John Jackson in 1801.