The Brooklyn Museum has had a long and complicated history, as well as its ups and downs. Long in the shadow of wealthier and much-more-visited museums in Manhattan, this was a really down-at-the-heels museum in the 1980s. I recall wandering through gallery after gallery of incredible treasures just with my husband - hardly any other visitors. And the place looked like a mausoleum, with old-fashioned displays that hadn't changed for decades and architecture in desperate need of renovation. All that began to change in the late 80s and early 90s. I am not a total fan of their director (who became infamous for bringing the Sensation Show to Brooklyn in the mid 90s), but I have to acknowledge the incredible progress he has made with the institution. They have many interesting changing shows, and the place has never looked better since they unveiled their recent expansion/renovation a year or so ago.
The two major reasons for undertaking the renovation was to create a much larger and more welcoming public space at the museum's entrance, as well as to create a better public space in the front of the building. This has always been a problem since the monumental staircase that originally graced the building face was removed decades ago. I'm not sure if the modern glass canopy that was glommed onto the neoclassical facade was the best solution, but it is an improvement in many ways, and people seem to enjoy milling around the plaza in a way that was never possible before.
As for the shows, some are great, such as the Basquiat show earlier this year. They still have a ways to go, but this is a serious institution working hard to serve its public.