Not all sentimental journeys are blissful. Consider Brooklyn Museum celebration of its 200th year. There’s a bunch of memories to sift through, but the pilgrimage isn’t always pretty.

Let’s begin with a good memory – Walt Whitman at age six recalling the ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone when the museum was founded as the Brooklyn Apprentice Library in 1825.

Little Walter attended the cornerstone laying ceremony and said he was lifted up for a better view by the Marquis de Lafayette, the French aristocrat who became a Revolutionary War general.

The cornerstone became a bedrock for the museum collection of early and mid-20th century American art by the likes of Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Cole, and my personal favorite – Stuart Davis’ bold, brassy abstractions inspired by the streets of New York.

About Sargent. This collection holds close to 10 works of his that make clear that aside from his portraits, he was a pretty good seascape painter.

In celebration of this bicentennial, the museum is inviting local artists to participate, and that’s a good thing. Director Anne Pasternak told the New York Times: “We’re trying to reflect our deep roots as a center for social good in art.” Uh, oh!

'A center for social good'?

I wish she hadn’t said that about “the social good.” A Brooklyn Museum show in 1999 mocks that bragging right: “Sensations: Young British Artists From The Saatchi Collection”?

If you ever have the sickening feeling that the art world has gone to hell, “Sensations” would be your verification. The museum’s warning label for this thing tells the story: "It may cause shock, vomiting, confusion, panic."

Descriptions of some of the work make the case.

Two dead pigs halved, floating in formaldehyde, titled "This Little Pig Went To Market, This Little Pig Stayed Home" by Damien Hirst.

And rendering of the Virgin Mary in elephant dung gotten from the London Zoo, and 24 cutouts of buttocks clipped from porn rags, titled "The Virgin Mary" by Chris Ofili.

And the hits kept coming

By his own admission, Hirst told the New Yorker magazine: "I want to get to those people, get them to come in and go 'ARRRGH!' "

Why did Brooklyn Museum put on this show? The only daring work in its collection at the time was Stuart Davis loudly colored abstractions.

Even in London, this British show prompted outrage. When on view at London’s Royal Academy, three members of the Academy resigned in protest, and demonstrations by the London public were accompanied by defacing with eggs and paint.

So, to the why question for Brooklyn Museum, which seems easily answered when you consider that the London show attracted 300,000 in its three-month run. The NY museum had been experiencing lagging attendance.

“Sensations” conjures up memory of a story in 1997 when Brigham Young University pulled from a sculpture show "The Kiss" by Auguste Rodin, saying the image would offend some viewers.

I don't know about you, but next to the dissolute images in “Sensations.” Rodin's carving of an enfolded couple is so irreproachable, it’s practically virginal.

Brooklyn Museum’s bicentennial will offer a bunch of events, starting in October. It remains to be seen how it will congratulate itself. Odds are, “Sensations” won’t be in the mix. It nearly marred the brand as the home of American art.