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


On September 9th, BHS archivist John Zarrillo gave us a second look at the stories he has uncovered while processing the Brooklyn Corporation Counsel Records in Tales from the Vault: 19th Century Brooklyn, Snapshots of Change Part 2.

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

Calendar of Programs

NOVEMBER | DECEMBER | JANUARY | FEBRUARY | FAMILY PROGRAMS

November

The Impressionist in the Boathouse:
How Artist Mary Rogers Williams Vanished from Art History Until 2014 

Mary Rogers WilliamsFri, Nov 21, 6:30pm
Free
Reserve tickets>>
Mary Rogers Williams bicycled and hiked across Europe, trained with Whistler, ran Smith College's art department, exhibited her pastel landscapes and oil portraits from Paris to Manhattan, drew crowds when she sketched in European town squares, and then ended up utterly forgotten. Eve Kahn, the Antiques columnist for The New York Times, will explain how she stumbled upon the painter's work and archive in a Connecticut outbuilding.

A reception with food and wine will follow the presentation.


Brooklyn's On Fire: After The Fire

Brooklyn Theater FireA Green-Wood Cemetery Partner Program
Sat, Nov 22, 1pm - 3pm
Talk: Free
Trolley Tour: $20 General Admission / $15 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
In 1876, a conflagration ripped through a packed Brooklyn theater, leaving hundreds dead in its wake. Known as the Brooklyn Theater Fire, the loss of life was so great that a mass grave was donated in Green-Wood, and a monument erected at the site to commemorate the tragedy. At this talk and tour of Green-Wood's historic chapel, learn how fires like this shaped a growing metropolis. A trolley tour to Green-Wood's related sites follows. Reserve your spot through the Green-Wood website.

December

My Name is New York: 

Ramblin' Around Woody Guthrie's Town with Nora Guthrie

Woody GuthrieMon, Dec 1, 6:30pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
Although Woody Guthrie hails from Okemah, OK, his travels took him right across the country: from California to the New York Island! Nora Guthrie, Woody Guthrie's daughter and President of Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc., provides a glimpse into the many places Guthrie called home through a multi-media presentation that uses archival photographs, historic audio, and rare film footage to recreate his life in 1940s through 1960's New York City.


Invisible Child: One Year Later

Thu, Dec 4, 6:30pmAndrea Elliott & Andrea Bernstein
$5 General Admission / Free for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
In December 2013, New York Times reporter Andrea Elliott's powerful five-part series Invisible Child introduced us to 11-year-old Dasani and exposed the harsh realities of childhood poverty in NYC. One year later,
Andrea Bernstein
, WNYC News Senior Editor for Politics and Policy, moderates as Elliot, joined by one of Dasani's teachers, takes a hard look back at what has, or hasn't, happened in the intervening year.

BHS would like to thank our media sponsor for this program:
WNYC


Screening and Discussion: The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. Talkback with Professor Christopher Brown

Christopher BrownTue, Dec 9, 6:30pm
Free
Reserve tickets>>
We kick off our three-part series featuring PBS's The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with a screening of Episode One: The Black Atlantic (1500-1800), which explores the experiences of the earliest Africans, both slaves and free, who made the journey across the Atlantic. Join Columbia University professor Christopher Brown, who specializes in the comparative history of slavery and abolition, for a discussion following the viewing.

What's Nu: The State of Brooklyn's Jewish Delis

Brooklyn DeliThu, Dec 11, 6:30pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
While there are no longer Jewish delis on every Brooklyn street corner, some local icons continue to thrive. Deli historian Ted Merwin discusses the glories, challenges, and traditions of serving up corned beef with the owners of three delis: a populist (Junior's), a traditionalist (Jay and Lloyd's Kosher Deli), and a newcomer (Mile End).

Photo courtesy of Brian Merlis/Brooklynpix.com
 


The Moth

Mon, Dec 22, 7pm
$8 General Admission / $5 for BHS Members
*Members receive advance registration privilege in early December via a special BHS eblast!
General Admission tickets to be made available via Moth and BHS eblasts (sign up for BHS eblast here)
The Moth StorySLAM returns to BHS! In honor of the street scenes in the exhibit, She said, She said, the theme will be "Streets!" What better inspiration for storytelling than the eclectic mix of raw emotion and impromptu interaction on urban streets?

January

Nell Painter and Sarah Lewis in Conversation

Tue, Jan 6, 6:30pm
Free
Reserve tickets>>
In conjunction with BHS' exhibition She said, She said: Art and inspiration in the work of Nell Painter and Lucille Fornasieri Gold, historian-turned-artist Nell Painter sits down with author and cultural historian Sarah Lewis for an intimate discussion about what inspires her work and why she chose to shift her focus to the world of visual art.


Screening: The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, Making a Way Out of No Way (1867-1940)

Tue, Jan 13, 6:30pm
Free
Reserve tickets>>
View Episode Four of the Peabody Award-winning PBS series. This hour explores the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration of eight million African Americans North and West in search of a better life. Making a Way Out of No Way (1897-1940) also spotlights the stories of Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, and the Harlem Renaissance.

On the following evening (Wednesday, January 14th), Isabel Wilkerson will be at BHS to reflect, among other things, on the themes in this episode.

Isabel Wilkerson on the Great Migration

Wed, Jan 14, 6:30pm
$20 General Admission / $15 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
**BHS Members receive early registration privileges for this event through December 12th! General Admission opens on December 13th.**
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Warmth of Other Suns speaks about the epic story of The Great Migration. Isabel Wilkerson devoted 15 years to the research and writing of the book and interviewed more than 1,200 people to tell the story of this watershed moment in American history. The Warmth of Other Suns was named to more than 30 Best of the Year lists and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Wilkerson is the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize.


Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Five Centuries of African American History

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.*ANNOUNCING NEW DATE*
Thu, Jan 22, 6:30pm
$20 General Admission / $15 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
Noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the complex history of African Americans, highlighting the vast social, political, and cultural legacies that have emerged from this complicated chapter in American history. Professor Gates' appearance serves as an introduction to the upcoming series of screenings and talkbacks from his Peabody Award-winning PBS series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.





Book Talk: Eric Foner, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

Tue, Jan 27, 6:30pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
**BHS Members receive early registration privileges for this event through December 12th! General Admission opens on December 13th.**
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner sits down with BHS Public Historian Julie Golia to discuss his new book, which exposes the little-known stories of the inspiring and courageous figures who, through networks of antislavery resistance that would become known as the underground railroad, helped to usher more than 3,000 fugitive slaves to freedom between 1830 and 1860.


The Future of Elder Care: What We Need for a Changing America

Thu, Jan 29, 6:30pm
$5 General Admission / Free for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
We live in a rapidly changing country – every 8 seconds, someone turns 65 and soon, there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 15. This elder boom is shaping our country in ways we have only begun to define and experience, from our economy to our homes to our understanding of aging itself.

Ai-jen Poo, a 2014 MacArthur “Genius” award winner for her advocacy work championing the rights of home care workers, will lead a panel exploring the changes in culture and policy needed for people to age with dignity, independence, and self-determination. The program will be moderated by Paula Span, who writes the The New York Times' New Old Age blog, and will include individuals on the front lines of elder care: a care worker, a private employer of caregivers in a home setting, and an administrator at a leading senior services agency who oversees a large caregiver workforce. This panel will shine a candid light on the “Careforce” — the millions of caregivers, both family and professional, who care for our nation’s aging seniors.

February

Movie Mondays: "Making Waves in Film" with Bill Greaves' Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One

Mon, Feb 2, 6:30pm
Free
Reserve tickets>>
Award-winning actor Steve Buschemi introduces this groundbreaking 1968 film, for which filmmaker William Greaves blended fiction and documentary to create an experimental landmark that remains one of the most unique and insightful deconstructions of the filmmaking process. A post-screening discussion will follow with Richard Brody of The New Yorker and Shola Lynch, Curator of the Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Screening and Discussion with Jelani Cobb: The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

Thu, Feb 5, 6:30pm
Free
Reserve tickets>>
View the last of our screenings of the Peabody Award-winning PBS series. Episode 6: A More Perfect Union (1968-2013) focuses on recent decades, moving from the civil rights movement and the economic and political forces that isolated the black urban poor, to Reagan’s War on Drugs, Rodney King, Hurricane Katrina, and the election of President Barack Obama. Jelani Cobb, whose writings about race frequently appear in The New Yorker and The New York Times, leads the talkback. Professor Cobb is the director of Africana studies at the University of Connecticut.

Person, Place, Thing with Randy Cohen and Lev Grossman

Wed, Feb 18, 6:30pm
$5 General Admission / Free for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
Emmy Award-winning writer Randy Cohen brings his popular podcast and public radio show back to BHS! This time, he is joined by Lev Grossman, award-winning author of The Magicians and book critic and lead technology writer for TIME.


Told It First Hand: Conversations with Hip-Hop's "Do-ers"

Wed, Feb 25, 6:30pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
Brooklyn Bodega’s Wes Jackson sits down with Albert Johnson, a.k.a. Prodigy of Mobb Deep, best-selling author K’wan, and Johnny Temple of Akashic Books to talk about Hip-Hop’s next frontier: the literary world.

Hidden Brooklyn: African Art Collection

Thu, Feb 26, 6:30pm
$15 General Admission / $10 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
**BHS Members receive early registration privileges for this event through December 12th! General Admission opens on December 13th.**
Over 40-plus years, Brooklynite Eric Edwards has amassed one of America’s largest private collections of African art and artifacts, with approximately 1600 works spanning four thousand years displayed in his Clinton Hill loft. Join us for a rare and exciting opportunity to view a collection with incredible depth and breadth, and meet a collector with extraordinary focus, dedication, passion, and expertise. Artist and African art collector Danny Simmons will moderate our conversation with Mr. Edwards

BHS Family Programs

Sing Back, Brooklyn! With Lloyd H. Miller

1st Saturday of the month, 11am-12pm
October through May 
Ages 5-10, Free, BHS Great Hall
Click here to reserve tickets for December 13th!
*Please note that December's Sing Back, Brooklyn! Will take place on the second Saturday of the month, December 13th. It will resume it's regular schedule of the first Saturday of every month in January.*

A monthly sing-a-long event for the whole family featuring songs, stories, skits, movies, and more. Join Lloyd H. Miller in singing and dancing about Brooklyn's fun and sometimes quirky history!


Handmade History!

2nd & 3rd Saturday of the month, 11am-12pm
October through May

Ages 5-10, Free, BHS Classroom
Click here to reserve tickets for December 6th!
Click here to reserve tickets for December 20th!
*Please note that December's Handmade History! will take place on the first and third Saturdays of the month, December 6th and 20th. They will resume their regular schedule of the second and third Saturday of every month in January.*

Get inspired! After visiting one of BHS' galleries, participants can let their creativity run wild with a fun art making project that they can take home with them!


Brooklyn Family Boogie 
with Together in Dance

4th Saturday of the month, 11am-12pm
October through May

Ages 5-10, Free, BHS  Great Hall
Click here to reserve tickets for November 29th!

Now the whole family can move and groove in tune with Brooklyn history! This unique workshop will use our borough's diverse past to inspire creative movement in children and parents alike.

Together in Dance