The Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences embraces twenty-six departments, of which those of music, philology and the fine arts have each more than 1000 members; the total membership of all departments in 1906 was 5894. The museum building of this institution is in Institute Park, which is separated from Prospect Park on the north-east by Flatbush Avenue. It contains, besides paintings and statuary, special collections for service in nearly all of the departments; among its purely art collections the most notable is that of J.J.J. Tissot's water-colour drawings, to illustrate the life of Christ. Since 1890 the Institute has received appropriations from the city, but it is maintained chiefly by private contributions. It is the outgrowth of the Apprentices' Library Association, founded in 1824, of which General Lafayette laid the corner-stone on the 4th of July of that year. In 1888 Franklin W. Hooper (b. 1851), who did much to increase the efficiency of the work of the Institute, became director.

Pratt Institute, founded in 1887 by Charles Pratt (1830-1891), and the residuary legatee of his wife, who died in 1907, is one of the most successful manual and industrial training schools in the country, and its kindergarten normal is one of the best known in the United States. The Polytechnic Institute, opened in 1855, is a high-grade school of science and liberal arts. It has two general departments, the college of arts and engineering and the preparatory school, which are conducted independently of one another. In connexion with the college there is provision for graduate study and for night courses, and there are teachers' courses to which women are admitted. The Packer Collegiate Institute, opened as the successor of the Brooklyn Female Academy, in 1854, and endowed by Mrs Harriet L. Packer, an institution for women, has primary, preparatory, academic and collegiate departments. Adelphi College, opened in 1896, is for both sexes and gives special attention to normal training; it is the outgrowth of Adelphi Academy, founded in 1869, now the preparatory department.

St Francis' College, opened in 1858, and St John's College, opened in 1870, are institutions maintained by Roman Catholics. Here, too, are the law school of St Lawrence University, the Long Island Hospital Medical College, with a training school for nurses, the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy and several schools of music. Brooklyn's public schools rank especially high; among them there is a commercial high school and a manual training high school. Among the larger libraries of the borough are the Brooklyn public library, those of the Long Island Historical Society, on Brooklyn Heights, of Pratt Institute, and of the King's County Medical Society, and a good law library. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, which occupies an attractive building near the borough hall, has been a newspaper of strong influence in the community. It was established in 1841 as a Democratic organ, and Walt Whitman was its editor for about a year during its early history.

Brooklyn is well provided with charitable institutions, and has long been known as the "city of churches," probably from the famous clergymen who have lived there. Among them were Henry Ward Beecher, pastor of Plymouth church (Congregational) from 1847 to 1887; Lyman Abbott, pastor of the same church from 1887 to 1898; Thomas De Witt Talmage, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle (Presbyterian) from 1869 to 1894; Richard Salter Storrs (1821-1900), pastor of the church of the Pilgrims (Congregational) from 1846 to 1899; and Theodore L. Cuyler (1822-1909), pastor of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian church from 1860 to 1890.