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Step back into the coastline’s rich history.

This exhibition and multimedia experience brings to life the vibrant history of Brooklyn’s coastline through stories of workers, artists, industries, activists, families, neighborhoods, and ecosystems for visitors of all ages.

Waterfront traces a personal, local history of the borough’s waterfront while also exploring 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.


Friday, January 19, 2018 - Thursday, October 01, 2020

Exhibition Highlights

Visitors explore a number of themes throughout Waterfront, including labor and commerce, environmental history, gender and race, art and gentrification, and much more.

Digital Installations

Waterfront 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 key moments of the waterfront’s past.

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

Take a Tour

We’ve partnered with Turnstile Tours for their new tour, Walking the Waterfront: Touring DUMBO with Brooklyn Historical Society. Experts from Turnstile Tours will lead weekly 90-minute guided tours of the Waterfront exhibition and the surrounding neighborhood to see the dynamic waterfront as it is today, and illustrate its many transformations over the past two centuries and the challenges that lie ahead.

Major Sponsors

Waterfront was made possible thanks to generous support from 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, and The Thompson Family 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.