The Hall of the Gowanus, a mini-museum and gallery of art, artifacts, maps, documents and books, was created to acknowledge our post-industrial neighbor and namesake, the Gowanus Canal. As the site of the Revolutionary Battle of Brooklyn, the locus of vital 19th century industry and water commerce, and inspiration and setting for present-day artists, writers and small businesses, this polluted waterway has played a central role in the colorful history of Brooklyn. The Hall of the Gowanus is the only exhibition space dedicated to the Gowanus Canal.
Proteus Gowanus has exhibited Gowanus-related artifacts since it first opened its doors. In 2010, as part of the Transport year, the Hall of the Gowanus was established in its own gallery space with an expanded collection, including artwork, exquisitely preserved Gowanus flora, a beautiful collection of mounted maps displayed chronologically from the early 1600s to the present, and an extensive collection of historical documents and reports.
The Hall of the Gowanus has attracted numerous school and tour groups interested in the history and development of the canal and its environs. Proteus Gowanus staff will provide guided tours of the museum/gallery by appointment.
Proteus Gowanus celebrates the history and existing culture of the area by organizing and hosting Gowanus-related events connecting art, science, history, literature, architecture and urban planning.
In addition to our onsite books and exhibition, Proteus Gowanus has assembled an online archive of information and ideas related to the Gowanus Canal and its neighborhood. The archive includes data, images, maps, films, stories, design plans (including submissions to the Low Line design competition, 2011) and various additional miscellany. The site is a work-in-process and is not yet fully organized. Click here to visit the site.
Highlights from the Collection
Three Canvases from the Project for Gowanus – part of a series of canvases by David Eustace that were hung in the canal to track its tidal flow.
Gowanus Crossing – prismacolor drawings by Michael Koehler exploring a Gowanus viewscape interposing an imagined baseball field in its midst.
Gowanus Phonoscope – an audiovisual portrait by Kevin T Allen using 3D images and 3D sounds of the Gowanus at the Union Street Bridge
Historical Maps of the Gowanus from 1639-2010 – sized and mounted by Eymund Diegel on historic yellow pine salvaged from Gowanus dumpsters and vacant lots, these maps provide a visual history of the area’s development.
A Flora of the Gowanus – pressed and framed flowers collected along the Gowanus by James Walsh.
A Timeline of the Gowanus – an 8 ft tall rolling timeline of the key historical events of the Gowanus area from 1636 to 2010 written and installed by Dan Wiley.
The Grand Gowanus – a limited edition set of four giclee prints by Karla Roberts showing the Gowanus Canal and the canals of Venice side by side, forcing the comparison of our polluted industrial canal, frequently referred to as the “Venice of Brooklyn”, with the real thing.
19th C Newspaper Clippings from the Brooklyn Eagle – drownings, murders, real estate speculation, environmental debates: a collection of clippings about the Gowanus Canal from its early years as an industrial waterway.
Star of the Gowanus - the official Superfund Site Sediment Sample, donated by the Environmental Protection Agency to Proteus Gowanus in April, 2011.
Hours: Thursday & Friday 3–6; Saturday & Sunday 12–6