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 February 5th, Jelani Cobb, Director of Africana Studies at the University of Connecticut, discussed "Episode 6: A More Perfect Union (1968-2013)" of the Peabody Award-winning PBS series "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross."

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

Calendar of Programs



Gut RenovationScreenings of Su Friedrich's Gut Renovation

Every Sunday in March, 3pm
Free with museum admission

As part of our Women’s History Month line-up, we will be screening award-winning filmmaker Su Friedrich’s Gut Renovation every Sunday in March. This feature-length documentary looks at the rezoning and subsequent wave of gentrification in Williamsburg in the early 2000s, which transformed the neighborhood from an artist’s haven to a real estate developer’s dream.

Gregg PasquarelliForum: A Landmark in Transition: Domino Sugar Factory 
Gregg Pasquarelli, Principal, SHoP Architects in conversation with Cathleen McGuigan, Editor-in-Chief, Architectural Record

Mon, Mar 30, 6:30pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
Gregg Pasquarelli is a founding partner and principal of SHoP Architects, whose significant projects include the Barclays Center and New York's East River Waterfront. Join us as he presents on one of Brooklyn's most discussed current projects, the Domino Sugar Refinery. Following his presentation, Pasquarelli will be in conversation with Cathleen McGuigan, Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Record.

BHS and the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation are co-sponsoring this forum in honor of the 50th Anniversary of NYC’s Landmarks Law.

AIA-CES Credit.


Tales from the Vault! Wish You Were Here!

Thu, Apr 2, 6:30pm
Reserve tickets>>
Take a trip to a Brooklyn of the past! BHS Map Cataloger Lisa Miller will conduct a tour through maps and guides for 19th century Brooklyn, as the city experienced rapid expansion and a steady influx of new Brooklynites. This expansion and prosperity coincided with a rise in leisure travel, so there will be an excursion via guides and maps to see what destinations a prosperous Brooklynite might have chosen for a summer’s outing.

Movie Mondays: “Making Waves in Film, Then and Now” with The 400 Blows

The 400 BlowsMon, Apr 6, 6:30pm
Reserve tickets>>

Join us as we continue our series of screenings and discussions that connect Brooklyn filmmakers today with innovators of the past. Filmmaker Jeremy Engle of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective shares his NYC coming of age story Mosquito, and introduces one of his inspirations—François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, a strikingly honest portrayal of childhood and one of the founding films of the French New Wave.

“The 400 Blows” courtesy of Janus Films

Dutch Colonial Brooklyn: An Intimate Glimpse

Wed, Apr 8, 6:30pm
$5 General Admission / Free for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
BHS and the Brooklyn Museum join forces to explore the lives of Brooklyn’s founding families. Kevin Stayton, the Museum’s Chief Curator, will discuss several rare items from the Brooklyn Museum Library’s Special Collections, including an 1812 diary written by Jane Schenck, an 1891 travel diary by William Edward Schenck, and a recent acquisition of an 1872 genealogy documenting the Schenck Family in Europe and America. Then, examining handwritten recipe books, seventeenth-century Dutch bibles, and other rich materials from the Lefferts family papers, BHS Director of Public History Julie Golia will reveal how the collections of one Brooklyn family can teach us important lessons about Brooklyn’s agrarian past.

If These Walls Could Talk If These Walls Could Talk

Sun, Apr 12, 2 pm
$50 General Admission / $35 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
Elizabeth Call returns to BHS for her immensely popular introduction to Brooklyn house research. In this intensive workshop you’ll gain hands-on experience conducting house research in our library, using archival images, records, and documents, uncovering the secret history of your Brooklyn home or block!

Image citation: [Flushing Avenue, Bushwick}, 1922, V1974.1.192; Eugene L. Armbruster photographs and scrapbooks collection, V1974.1; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Book Talk: Cokie Roberts, Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington 1848-1868 Cokie Roberts, "Capital Dames"

Mon, Apr 13, 6:30 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
On the eve of the release of her newest book, Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington 1848-1868, esteemed journalist and author Cokie Roberts explores the lives of Washington D.C.'s women during the upheaval of the Civil War. A continuation of the journey she began in Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty, bestsellers about the vital female contribution to the success of the American Revoltuion and our country's early years, Capital Dames chronicles the increasing political empowerment women experienced through their new-found independence and importance during the Civil War.

Be one of the first to pick up Cokie Robert's new book and hear from the author herself about the "Rosie the Riverters" of the Civil War. 

The Greening of Brooklyn: Exploring New Parks and Unexpected Spaces

Wed, Apr 15, 6:30pm
$5 General Admission / Free for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
Brooklyn is going from gritty to green. Robin Lynn, co-author of the Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes, moderates a conversation between landscape architect Matthew Urbanski of Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates (the design firm responsible for Brooklyn Bridge Park); Milton Puryear, a founder of BGI;  and Nina Browne, who manages the Botanic Garden's competition.  Dr. Chris Filardi, Director, Pacific Program, American Museum of Natural History, and a biodiversity researcher, will examine the global importance of these exciting local initiatives to create and conserve green spaces.

Part of the “Nature in Our Midst” program series with Green-Wood Cemetery.

Extreme Brooklyn Trivia: All Star Edition

Thu, Apr 16, 6:30pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
The result of an unprecedented détente between two trivia titans, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Collection and the BHS Trivia Masters are joining forces to present the mother-lode of Brooklyn-inspired trivia, while raising the bar to the heavens for all future pub trivia competitions. This multi-round, multi-media competition is not for the faint of heart, but should be edifying (and fun!) for nerds of all abilities and Brooklyn lovers of even the most recent vintage.

The Re-zoning of Downtown Brooklyn: Ten Years Later

Tue, Apr 21, 6:30pm
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Downtown Brooklyn is evolving and changing rapidly with a surge of new development. But will these changes give us the downtown we all desire? This panel will explore the future of Downtown Brooklyn with the 2004 Special Purpose District Zoning Resolution as the starting point. We will explore the goals of the rezoning and assess the results so far, and then turn to a panel of experts on planning, community advocacy, government affairs, and development for a discussion touching on key issues still critical to Downtown Brooklyn’s future, including public space, pedestrian experience and safety, public and private development, transportation, and connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods. 

Benjamin Shepard (Associate Professor from City Tech’s Dept. of Human Services) will moderate this panel discussion, which will include Ryan Grew (Downtown Brooklyn Partnership), Hilda Cohen (Make Brooklyn Safer), Michael Cox (Assistant Director, Office of Community Affairs, NYU), and more.

Offered in partnership with the Downtown Rising Working Group.

Timothy O'Neal of Borough BeesBrooklyn and the Bees: Talk and Taste with Borough Bees

Thu, Apr 23, 7:00pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
You’ve heard of urban gardening, but have you heard of urban beekeeping? Timothy O’Neal of Borough Bees gives us the history and know-how behind this increasingly popular enterprise that is quickly joining the illustrious ranks of Brooklyn-made gastronomy. Deliciously sweet tastings included!

Presented in partnership with Brooklyn Brainery.

Zine Fest 2015

Sat, Apr 25 & Sun, Apr 26
11 am – 6 pm
The Brooklyn Zine Fest returns to BHS for a second year, showcasing self-published magazines by independent writers, artists, and publishers from the five boroughs and beyond. Featuring a different line-up of 75 exhibitors, workshops and panel talks each day.

Roses: Tracing the American Beauty’s Roots in NYC with Stephen Scanniello  Stephen Scaniello

Tue, Apr 28, 6:30pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
The earliest gardens and conservatories of old New York from Harlem to Brooklyn Heights overflowed with roses. As a result of the efforts of rose preservationists, these same roses are once again filling our neighborhoods with intoxicating fragrances. Learn all about the little-known lore and deep-rooted history of these American beauties from Stephen Scanniello, Curator for the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden and the President of the Heritage Rose Foundation.

Part of the “Nature in Our Midst” program series with Green-Wood Cemetery.

Brooklyn Jazz Hall of Fame CeremonyBrooklyn Jazz Hall of Fame Ceremony

Wed, Apr 29, 6pm
For information about donations/ticketing, email
BHS is proud to host the Brooklyn Jazz Hall of Fame Ceremony as part of the 16th Annual Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival, New York City's longest continually running grass roots festival dedicated to jazz.


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.

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
Next Program: April 4th
Admission is first-come, first-served, so please arrive a few minutes early to settle in!

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
Next Program: April 11th 
Admission is first-come, first-served, so please arrive a few minutes early to settle in!

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
Next Program: March 28th
Admission is first-come, first-served, so please arrive a few minutes early to settle in!

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

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