In 1893, McKim, Mead, & White won the design competition for what would become the Brooklyn Museum. Their design featured a Beaux-Arts masterpiece , 560 feet square, with four interior light courts. The Greco-Roman building won praise for its sculpture filled façade (noted sculptors include Daniel Chester French, Adolph Weinman, and Charles Kerk). In New York City, the Brooklyn Museum is often overlooked, despite the fact that it is one of the oldest and largest museums in the United States and is well known for its Egyptian Collection.
Construction on the Museum began in 1895 and the first section was completed in 1897. Between 1899 and 1926 other potions of McKim, Mead, & White’s design were realized, but it would never be completed in its entirety. In 1934, Philip Youtz became the Museum’s director and he, unfortunately, felt the need to make the Museum more modern. In order to accomplish his vision, he removed the Museum’s grand staircase (which was twice the height of the staircase at the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan) and served its adherence to its original design plan.
Had the McKim, Mead,& White’s master plan been realized, Brooklyn would have been home to the largest single museum structure in the world.