Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Historical Society announces greater access to its famed archives

January 31, 2014 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS), which holds the most extensive collections of Brooklyn-based materials in the world, has announced two new ways for educators and the general public to access its archives and collections., which will launch on Feb. 13 with an open house party from 4:30-7:30 p.m., is a new website that shares an innovative way to teach with primary archival material. The website shares sample in-archives exercises and other resources that can be used to teach subjects as diverse as history, literature, art history, design, fine arts and religion.

The site also includes articles on pedagogy and guidelines for best practices aimed at instructors, administrators, librarians, archivists and museum educators around the world. is based on the findings of Students and Faculty in the Archives (SAFA), an award-winning program that brought more than 1,100 first-year college students to Brooklyn Historical Society’s Othmer Library. This three-year project was funded by the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE).

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BHS is also providing expanded hours for the public to visit the Othmer Library and Archives. In response to demand, the library is now open every Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m., in addition to the current weekday hours on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 1-5 p.m. Professional librarians and archivists are available during public hours to help visitors with their research.

Located on the second floor of the BHS’s landmark 1881 building, the reading room of the Othmer Library transports the visitor to an earlier era with its stained glass windows and carved wooden columns. It has been designated an interior landmark by the New York City Landmarks and Preservation Commission.

Its materials range from the journals of 17th century Dutch explorers Jasper Danckaerts and Peter Sluyter to the the papers and sermons of Henry Ward Beecher, the famed 19th century pastor of Plymouth Church, to the files of Arnie Goldwag, community relations director of the Brooklyn chapter of CORE.

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