Living in Brooklyn, one can’t help but wonder what used to be – it is a place so associated with change that it can be difficult to keep up with who and what was here last year, let alone decades ago. Thankfully, we have places like the Brooklyn Collection to provide an endless repository of Brooklyn stories. Brooklyn Connections, our school outreach program and recipient of this year’s Society of American Archivists Archival Innovator Award, partners with Brooklyn students to bring these stories into focus. The exhibition before you is a sampling of the myriad ways students used this very archive to peel back layers of change and show us the many faces of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Connections was founded in 2007 alongside the opening of the Brooklyn Collection’s public reading room. The goal was not only to invite students and teachers into this space, but also to bring the excitement of archival research and primary sources into their classrooms. During the 2018-2019 school year, Brooklyn Connections educators traveled to 30 partner schools all over the borough – from East New York to Bensonhurst, DUMBO to Bushwick, and everywhere in between. Brooklyn Connections taught over 1,500 fourth through twelfth grade students valuable 21st century learning skills in critical thinking, information literacy and communication all while engaging them in hands-on research about the place they call home.
This exhibition features highlights from Brooklyn Connections’ culminating ceremony. Here students exhibit local ties to the American Revolution and the Civil Rights Movement; shared new insights about Brooklyn landmarks such as The Brooklyn Bridge and Prospect Park Zoo; and delved into the history of their own schools and neighborhoods. Regardless of the topic, Brooklyn Connections students engaged with maps, atlases, newspaper articles, photographs, and ephemera to tell dynamic stories you won’t find in any textbook. We hope you learn as much from their work as we have!
2018-2019 Partner Schools: Brooklyn Science & Engineering Academy, Bushwick Leaders' High School for Academic Excellence, East New York Family Academy, George Westinghouse High School, German School Brooklyn, Hellenic Classical Charter School, I.S. 171, I.S. 392, Juan Morel Campos, J.H.S. 259, M.S. 352, M.S. 442, M.S. 577, M.S. 61, M.S. 88, Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice, New Utrecht High School, P.S. 131, P.S. 190, P.S. 238, P.S. 307, P.S. 308, P.S. 372, P.S. 506, P.S. 66, P.S. 9, P.S. 93, Queen of All Saints Catholic Academy, Uncommon Charter High School, Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice.