Public Programs


Brooklyn Historical Society offers a wide array of public programming that celebrates the diversity of Brooklyn's past and present and takes a close look at where the borough is headed. With panel discussions with Brooklyn luminaries, screenings of classic and groundbreaking films, thought-provoking talks on Brooklyn's history from new perspectives, family art and dance activities, and more, BHS has something for everyone.

Recently at BHS

WNYC Education Reporter Beth Fertig moderates a discussion on New York State's segregated schools epidemic. Panelists include Norm Fruchter of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times Magazine, Clara Hemphill, founder of, and Craig Gurian, Executive Director of the Anti-Discrimination Center.

For more BHS public programs you can watch from home, browse our Vimeo page.

Calendar of Programs



Free Fridays at BHS!Free Fridays at BHS

Fri, Feb 5, 5 pm – 9 pm
Click here for more information
Join us on Friday, February 5th, for the return of Free Fridays at BHS, when we keep our galleries open late for FREE! From 5pm to 9pm, explore our exhibitions and landmarked library, and sip on a Brooklyn Brewery beer while listening to live music!

Drew Gilpin FaustDrew Gilpin Faust on the Civil War

Wed, Feb 10, 6:30 pm
$15/$10 for BHS and G-W Members
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Drew Gilpin Faust, the 28th president of Harvard University and the Lincoln Professor of History in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, discusses her monumental book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, which looks at the impact of the Civil War’s enormous death toll on the lives of 19th-century Americans. The book won the Bancroft Prize, was a finalist for both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and was named by The New York Times one of the “10 Best Books of 2008.” Faust will be in conversation with Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Ric Burns, who directed the film Death and the Civil War, based on Faust's This Republic of Suffering.

Offered in connection with the exhibition, “Personal Correspondence: Photography and Letter Writing in Civil War Brooklyn.”

CocktailsThe Brooklyn Cocktail: A History

Thu, Feb 11, 7 pm
$12/$8 for BHS and G-W Members
Join the waitlist here.

With distilleries blossoming throughout the borough and some of the world’s top mixologists calling Brooklyn home, Brooklyn has quickly become the epicenter of creative drinkmaking. Is this a new phenomenon, or have we had an earlier incarnation as the cocktail capital? Discover stories of Brooklyn bartenders past and present in a panel including barstool historian, drinks correspondent, and author David Wondrich, Tom Macy of the Clover Club, St. John Frizell of Fort Defiance, and Del Pedro of Tooker Alley, moderated by historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman.

Presented in partnership with Brooklyn Brainery.
Waterfront Wines & Spirits
Cocktail tastings generously
sponsored by Waterfront Wines & Spirits.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Marler.

Cramer, Dickerson, Hertzberg, Ottaway, Steiner, FunkBrooklyn’s Business Boon

Wed, Feb 17, 7 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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Join Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, and a panel of Brooklyn business luminaries for a look at Brooklyn’s evolving economy! Panelists will include the innovators and leaders who have helped define Brooklyn’s business landscape, including Chad Dickerson, CEO, President, and Chairman of Etsy, Jesse Hertzberg, CEO of Livestream, Robin Ottaway, President of Brooklyn Brewery, Douglas Steiner, Chairman of Steiner Studios, and Lexy Funk, co-founder and CEO of Brooklyn Industries.

Clockwise: Jim Cramer, Chad Dickerson, Jesse Hertzberg, Robin Ottaway, Douglas Steiner

The Green BookThe Green Book Chronicles

Thu, Feb 18, 6:30 pm
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In the mid-1930s, postal worker Victor H. Green used his resources at the post office to compile the Green Book, a network of white and black-owned businesses that would welcome African American travelers throughout the South during segregation. Green’s efforts helped African Americans travel safely for nearly 30 years, until the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, when publication of the guide ceased.

Awareness of the guide faded until award-winning author and playwright Calvin Alexander Ramsey started work on The Green Book Chronicles, a documentary that will chronicle the rise and fall of the Green Book as told by those who were around to use it. Join us for a conversation with Ramsey, who will share raw footage from the upcoming film. Please be advised that this is not a screening of the entire film, but a rare opportunity to see raw footage before the film is complete.

Above: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. "The Negro Motorist Green Book: 1947" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1947.

Yancey StricklerPerson Place Thing with Randy Cohen and Yancey Strickler, Co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter

Please note new date: Thu, Feb 25, 6:30 pm
$5/Free for BHS and G-W Members
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Yancey Strickler, co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter, chats with Randy Cohen in this latest installment of Person Place Thing. Yancey served as Kickstarter’s Head of Community and Communications before becoming CEO. Prior to Kickstarter, Yancey was a music journalist whose writing appeared in The Village Voice, New York Magazine, and Pitchfork, to name just a few.

Cartes de VisiteTales from the Vault: The Carte de Visite

Thu, Feb 25, 6:30 pm
$5/Free for BHS and G-W Members
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Join us in our library as we explore the many dimensions of the carte de visite, the popular 19th century portrait featured prominently in our Personal Correspondents exhibition. BHS Managing Director of Library and Archives Julie May will discuss the photograph’s process and popularity throughout its heyday, share rarely seen examples from our collections, and highlight the many studios that participated in its proliferation throughout Brooklyn. And we are pleased to have on view an example of a camera and other equipment used to create cartes de visite thanks to the generosity of The Penumbra Foundation!


Chester Higgins Jr.Chester Higgins Jr. and Brooklyn’s African Diaspora

Thu, Mar 3, 6:30 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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State Senator Velmanette Montgomery introduces acclaimed New York Times photographer Chester Higgins Jr., who has documented New York’s African Diaspora for over 40 years, with images that range from the Caribbean Festival to African American Hebrews in Bed-Stuy. View these remarkable images as Higgins muses on his work with current City Council Member Laurie Cumbo, who founded MoCADA, Brooklyn’s first Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts.

Photo by Sanviki Chapman.


Why New York? Our Segregated Schools Epidemic Part 2: Tales from the Frontlines

Tue, Mar 8, 6:30 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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In September 2015, BHS hosted a lively discussion about New York State’s segregated schools epidemic with a panel of esteemed experts, academics, and advocates. But what’s really happening on the ground? BHS is pleased to host a similar discussion, moderated by acclaimed journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, with principals, teachers, and parents who are on the frontlines of this debate.

After TillerScreening and Discussion: After Tiller

Wed, Mar 9, 6:30 pm
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Directors Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, along with executive producer and Board Chair of Planned Parenthood of NYC, Diane Max, screen and discuss their Emmy Award-winning film that follows the only four remaining doctors in the United States who perform abortions later in pregnancy.


Benjamin Britten
Brooklyn Art Song Society

Thu, Mar 17, 7 pm
$25/$15 for BHS and G-W Members
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Brooklyn Art Song Society returns to BHS as part of their Britannica series, which seeks to capture the vast English cultural heritage. Laura Strickling (soprano), Samantha Malk (mezzo soprano), Joseph Gaines (tenor), Jarrett Ott (baritone), Michael Brofman (piano), and Spencer Myer (piano), will treat us to the songs of Benjamin Britten.

Art by Joan Chiverton


The Price of Nice Nails: Nearly One Year Later

Tue, Mar 22, 6:30 pm
$5/Free for BHS and G-W Members
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In 2015, New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir wrote a series of articles that brought to light allegations of abuse and exploitative labor practices in the city’s nail salon industry, sending a shock wave that reached salon customers and immigrant advocates and caused city and state lawmakers to act. Join longtime labor reporter Steven Greenhouse in discussion with Maslin Nir as they explore her high-impact articles and what has been happening in salons and with NYC’s immigrant workers over the past year.

Hidden Brooklyn: Green-Wood’s Art Collection

Thu, Mar 24, 6:30 pm
$15/$10 for BHS and G-W Members
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Green-Wood Cemetery’s President, Richard Moylan, takes us behind-the-scenes to view the impressive art collection he has amassed, which features paintings by and portraits of Green-Wood permanent residents. *Please note that this is an off-site tour. Exact meeting location for the tour is included in the confirmation email upon purchasing tickets to this event. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets will not be sold at the door.*

Screening and Discussion of Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 1

Mon, Mar 28, 6:30 pm
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Join us for the first in a series of screenings and discussions of the thought-provoking PBS series Race: The Power of An Illusion, which uses science, history, and more to dispel the many myths and misconceptions surrounding the concept of race. Post-screening discussion led by Erica Chito-Childs, author, CUNY sociology professor, and leading researcher on issues of race.


Not Your Mother’s Feminism: Sisterhood in the Digital Age

Tue, Apr 5, 6:30 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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From Beyoncé and The Lenny Letter to #YesAllWomen and Bad Feminist, feminism is a trending topic on the Twitter feeds and in the dorm rooms of millennials across the country. A panel of innovative female voices who look at pop culture, politics, race, gender, and everything in between, debunk the myth that millennials are lazy or narcissistic and discuss their generation’s developing embrace of feminism. Panelists include Mallory Ortberg, co-founder of The Toast, Heben Nigatu, co-host of BuzzFeed’s Another Round, Lori Adelman, Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, and Susana Polo, founder of The Mary Sue. Moderated by Angélique Roché, Senior Director, External Affairs at the Ms. Foundation.

Moving Beyond the Rhetoric: Creating a Diverse Workplace in the 21st Century

Wed, Apr 6, 6:30 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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What does it actually mean to integrate diversity into workplace practice, policies, and initiatives? Join an esteemed panel, General Counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, and an esteemed panel of professionals, including Erika Irish Brown, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Bloomberg LP; Kristen Titus, Founding Director of NYC Tech Talent Pipeline; and Anthony Crowell, President of New York Law School, as they discuss their experience with creating and implementing strong workplace diversity policies.

Screening and Discussion of Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 2

Mon, Apr 11, 6:30 pm
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We continue this series of screenings with Episode 2: The Story We Tell, which seeks to show that the concept of race is a surprisingly recent invention, closely linked to the development of the United States. Post-screening discussion led by author and CUNY sociology professor Erica Chito-Childs.

Dodgers at MonarchMan-O-Manischewitz: Brooklyn’s Wine in a Kosher USA

Tue, Apr 12, 6:30 pm
$5/Free for BHS and G-W Members
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Roger Horowitz will dip into his just-published book, Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food, to talk about the history of Brooklyn- produced Manischewitz wine. Created in the 1930s for a Jewish market, Manischewitz became the first branded kosher product to achieve a predominantly non-Jewish consumer base—and one that was overwhelmingly African American. Endorsed by leading black musicians and actors in the 1950s and 1960s, and a fixture at Jewish Passover Seders, Horowitz will trace Manischewitz’s pathbreaking role in modern kosher food and discuss why its contribution has been forgotten.

The Changing Face of Brooklyn’s Latino Community

Thu, Apr 21, 6:30 pm
$5/Free for BHS and G-W Members
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Many neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn are home to a high number of Latinos, and the community’s demographic make-up is only growing more and more diverse. Jarrett Murphy, Executive Editor of City Limits, speaks with a panel of experts, including Nisha Agarwal, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; Laird Bergad, Executive Director of CUNY’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies; and Javiér Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road NY, about this evolving community and what it means for the city.

This program is offered as part of Immigrant Heritage Week.

Screening and Discussion of Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 3

Mon, Apr 25, 6:30 pm
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We conclude this series with Epsiode 3: The House We Live In, which turns a discerning lens on the ways in which our institutions and policies often quietly advantage certain groups over others. Post-screening discussion led by author and CUNY sociology professor Erica Chito-Childs.

 Family Programs

Art, Movement, Music, Pretend!

Join us every Saturday at 11am, October 10th through April 16th.

For children ages 3-7. Program admission is $5 per participating child; accompanying adults and siblings are free! Make sure to arrive early, as admission will be first come, first served.

Coming Up:

Brooklyn Family BoogieBrooklyn Family Boogie: What's Up Down There?
Saturday, February 6th, 11am-12pm
$5 suggested donation per participating child

Find out "What's Up Down There?" at the next Brooklyn Family Boogie, when we explore BHS's exhibition on one of Brooklyn's oldest and most extensive infrastructure projects: its sewer system! After visiting the gallery, our friends from Together in Dance will help us create dance studies inspired by this twisting, turning, flowing world under Brooklyn's streets!

Handmade History!Handmade History!
Brooklyn Urban Seascapes

Saturday, February 13th, 11am-12pm
$5 suggested donation per participating child

First, we will examine an image from our Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom exhibition and learn about the early sailboats used in 19th century shipyards. We will then return to the studio to create seascape collages using a variety of textured and patterned paper to illustrate the sailboats, ferries, and bridges of the Brooklyn waterfront!

To keep up-to-date on whether we will be singing with Lloyd H. Miller, making history-themed crafts, or moving and grooving with Together in Dance,
sign up to receive our weekly eblast reminding you of this week's BHS Family Program HERE.


Brooklyn Historical Society requires 24 hours notice before the date of the event to refund a ticket. No refunds are provided after that point. This means no refunds are provided on the day of the event and all subsequent days.

Bank of AmericaPublic Programs are made possible, in part, by a generous grant from Bank of America. 

Additonal funding provided by The Agnes Varis Trust.