Public Programs



Zines from the Borderlands: Storyingtelling about Mixed-Heritage

Zines from the BorderlandsThu, Apr 24, 7pm
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Come participate in a vibrant conversation about race, gender, sexuality, and media with Nia King, Daniela Capistrano, and Jenna Freedman, moderated by Ann Hayes of Sleeping Creatures and Storyscape. This event is part of BHS's weekend of zine activities, all in connection with Brooklyn Zine Fest at BHS on April 26th and 27th.

Wallabout Walking Tour

Wallabout Walking TourSat, Apr 26, 11am
$25/$15 for BHS Members
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Recently landmarked, the Wallabout Historic District, near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, contains one of largest concentrations of intact pre-Civil War wood-frame rowhouses in the entire city! Stroll with Chelcey Berryhill and Elizabeth Finkelstein of the Wooden House Project and explore the new landmark district’s fascinating early roots.

Brain Frame!

Brain FrameFri, Apr 25, 8pm
$8/$5 for BHS Members
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Kick off BHS’ weekend of zine-love with Brain Frame, an evening of comics and zine artists sharing work that’s  impossible to put on the printed page. Be prepared for costumes, puppetry, songs, and much more. Expect the ambitiously weird!

Credit: Anna White for Brooklyn Brain Frame 2013

Brooklyn Zine Fest

Brooklyn Zine FestSat/Sun, Apr 26-27, 11am-6pm
BHS is home to a full weekend of Zines – self-published magazines by independent writers, artists, and publishers from Brooklyn and beyond. It’s the place to connect with your favorite creative, independent, and talented voices. Over 100 exhibitors present plus panel talks. Organized by Matt Carman and Kseniya Yarosh and named “the best reassurance that print will survive” by the Village Voice in 2013.  Learn more about the weekend on the Brooklyn Zine Fest website!

Demystifying Landmarks: A Panel Discussion

Demystifing LandmarksTue, Apr 29, 6:30pm
$5/Free for BHS Members
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You own a brownstone or live in a landmarked district, but what happens when you want to make a repair or change? Learn about what the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission does, what your neighborhood association can do, and your neighbors’ experiences. Panelists include Tom van den Bout, architect and former BHA President, homeowners, building managers, and a Landmarks representative.


Screening: The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations, with author Norton Juster, hosted by Jon Scieszka

The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond ExpectationsThu, May 1
6pm book signing
6:30pm screening
$15/$10 for BHS Members
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Brooklyn Historical Society is excited to invite BHS Members to this very special evening with early registration tickts available to members-only through April 24th! Seats are limited, so learn more about how to sign up early here.

This playful documentary explores how Brooklyn neighbors Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer created one of our most beloved children's books. Afterwards, children's book author Jon Scieszka (The Stinky Cheese Man) interviews Juster in a meeting of two wildly imaginative minds!

Doors open at 6pm for book signings with both authors, with the film screening beginning at 6:30pm. This program is presented with the Brooklyn Public Library.

Spinning Wheels! Pedal-Powered Trivia with the Trivia Masters

Spinning Wheels TriviaMon, May 5, 6:30pm
$15/$10 for BHS Members
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Celebrate Bike Month NYC with Trivia Masters Chris Kelley and Stuart Post and their bike and trans-alt themed multimedia mix of pop culture questions, songs, and film clips. The top secret mystery round will blow your tires! Prizes, plus plentiful beer courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery. Presented with Transportation Alternatives.

Image Credit: Brooklyn Historical Society.

Brooklyn on Brooklyn: Elizabeth Streb and Jed Walentas

Brooklyn on BrooklynWed, May 7, 6:30pm
$5/Free for BHS Members
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Join two Brooklynites who transformed community through art: MacArthur Genius Award-winning choreographer Elizabeth Streb, and Jed Walentas, whose Two Trees Management Company made DUMBO an art mecca. Expect an evening of unvarnished talk about art, real estate, and an ever-changing Brooklyn.

Screening: Twenty Feet From Stardom, followed by Talkback with featured singer, Lisa Fischer

20 Feet from StardomSun, May 11, 4pm
$10/$5 for BHS Members
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A Mother's Day treat: enjoy the Academy Award-winning documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom, spotlighting the untold stories of the backup singers for some of our greatest musical legends. Then hear from one of the film's stars, Lisa Fischer, Grammy Award-winning backup vocalist for the Rolling Stones, Beyonce, and Aretha Franklin.

The Black Church: Faith and Community-Building in Central Brooklyn

Thu, May 15, 6:30pm
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In conjunction with BHS' exhibition Brooklyn Abolitionists/In Pursuit of Freedom, join us for this compelling conversation with prominent Central Brooklyn clergy, moderated by Colvin Grannum, President of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. The panel will discuss the role of African American churches and congregations in tackling complex community issues, historically and today. Panelists include Dr. Arlee Griffin, Jr., Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson, Rev. Dr. Fred Lucas, and Rev. Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood.

If These Walls Could Talk

If These Walls Could TalkSun, May 18, 2pm
$50/$35 for BHS Members
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Uncover the secret history of your Brooklyn home or block! In this intensive workshop you'll gain hands-on experience conducting house research in our library, using archival images, records and documents. Led by BHS' Head of Reference & User Services Elizabeth Call.

Image Credit: Brooklyn Historical Society.

Pizza: The Brooklyn Story

Pizza the Brooklyn StoryWed, May 21, 7pm
$8/$5 for BHS Members
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Pizza historian and founder of Scott's Pizza Torus, Scott Weiner, talks about the history of pizza and Kings County's important role in the evolution of New York's favorite food. This is a partner program with Brooklyn Brainery.

Book Talk: Greg Grandin, Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom and Deception in the New World

Empire of NecessityWed, May 28, 6:30pm
$5/Free for BHS Members
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Join NYU Professor of History Greg Grandin and BHS Director of Public History Julie Golia as they discuss Grandin's dramatic acount of an 1805 mutiny and slave revolt. Toni Morrison hailed his book as "compelling, brilliant and necessary."


Hidden Brooklyn: Antique Car Collection

Hidden Brooklyn Lenny ShillerThu, Jun 5, 6:30pm
$15/$10 for BHS Members
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Explore Lenny Shiller's collection of 60-plus antique vehicles, including a 1929 Durant rumble-seat coupe, 1953 Packard convertible, and a 1947 International soda truck, all housed in a huge Gowanus warehouse that was once a gigantic oven!

One Drop of Love

One Drop of LoveThu, Jun 12, 7pm
$20/$15 for BHS Members
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In this ground-breaking multi-media solo performance, Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni asks: How does our belief in "race" afect our most intimate relationships? Travel through place and time to explore family, race, love and pain - and a path towards reconciliation. Produced by Cox DiGiovanni, Ben Affleck, Chay Carter, and Matt Damon.

Co-sponsored by

Tales from the Vault! 19th Century Brooklyn: Snapshots of Change

Followed by BHS Beer Garden

Tales from the Vault 19th Century BrooklynThu, Jun 19, 6pm
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Join BHS archivist John Zarrillo for a peek at the beguiling and quirky Broolyn Corporation Counsel collection of records, and discover intriguing and surprising ways Brooklyn has changed since the 19th century. Stay on for our first Beer Garden of the season!

Image Credit: Brooklyn Historical Society.

Person, Place, Thing with Randy Cohen and Andrew Tarlow

Person Place Thing Andrew TarlowTue, Jun 24, 6:30pm
$5/Free for BHS Members
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Emmy Award-winning writer Randy Cohen brings his popular podcast and public radio show to BHS. Enjoy some Brooklyn brews and be the audience as he interviews Andrew Tarlow, renowned restauranteur (Diner, Marlow & Sons, and others) and pioneer of Brooklyn's artisanal food movement.

South Slope Walking Tour

South Slope Walking TourThu, Jun 26, 6:30pm
$25/$15 for BHS Members
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Wooden House Project's Chelcey Berryhill and Elizabeth Finkelstein lead this exploration of South Slope's past and future, including a look at architectural styles, the enormous clock factory, and the spot where the Three Stooges started their career!


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

Wed, Jul 9, 7pm
Price: TBD
This special "Told It First Hand" kicks off the 10th Annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. Festival Executive Director Wes Jackson sits down with a host of Hip-Hop greats, executives, writers and artists, who have helped create and inspire the festival, NYC's largest Hip-Hop cultural event.

Tales from the Vault! Boom, Bust, and Back: Maps of 20th Century Brooklyn

Followed by BHS Beer Garden

Tales from the Vault JulyThu, Jul 10, 6pm
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Map Cataloger Lisa Miller traces 20th century Brooklyn through maps, showing the expansion of ndustry, renewal plans that unmade neighborhoods, and Brooklyn's distinctive architecture. Continue talknig maps at our Beer Garden!

Person, Place, Thing with Randy Cohen and Jonathan Ames

Person Place Thing Andrew TarlowWed, Jul 23, 6:30pm
$5/Free for BHS Members
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Emmy Award-winning writer Randy Cohen returns to record his popular podcast and public radio show, this time with guest Jonathan Ames, Brooklyn novelist and creator/executive producer of the celebrated HBO series, Bored to Death.


Mixed Movie Monday Screening and Discussion: Imitation of Life

Mon, Aug 4, 6:30pm
The first of three screenings and discussions in our series on mixed identity in film, this 1959 Lana Turner classic tells the story of an African-American woman and her light-skinned, mixed-race daughter who passes for white. Post-screening discussion led by author and CUNY sociology professor, Erica Chito-Childs.

Hidden Brooklyn: Convent of Mercy

Wed, Aug 6, 6:30pm
$15/$10 for BHS Members
Sr. Caroline Tweedy leads us behind the walls of this remarkably intact 1862 former convent and orphanage. Immerse yourself in its grace, greenery, and 150 years of Brooklyn history.

Mixed Movie Monday Screening and Discussion: My Beautiful Laundrette

Mon, Aug 11, 6:30pm
The second in our 3-part series, this Oscar-nominated film explores races, sexuality, belonging and love against the backdrop of Pakistani immigrant life in 1980s London. Post-screening discussion by author and CUNY sociology professor Erica Chito-Childs.

Tales from the Vault! Volunteers & Vamping Horns: Fighting Fires in the Old Eastern District

Followed by BHS Beer Garden

Tales from the Vault AugustThu, Aug 14, 6pm
BHS's Brooklyn Firefighting Collection is your ticket to the pugnacious, territorial world of fire-fighting in the pre-Civil War era when budgets were low, equipment slapdash, and firefighters not only fought fires but each other. Join Andy McCarthy, Reference Librarian, for an inside look at this fascinating collction, then throw back some Brooklyn brews at our final beer garden of the summer!

Mixed Movie Monday Screening and Discussion: Preview of Toasted Marshmallows

Mon, Aug 18, 6:30pm
View the first public U.S. screening of the documentary Toasted Marshmallows. This personal narratives delves into the experiences of mixed-race identified women and explores the themes of color, passing, privilege and belonging. Post-screening discussion with filmmakers Marcelitte Failla and Anoushka Ratnarajah, led by CUNY sociology professor Erica Chito-Childs.

Brooklyn Historical Society Family ProgramsSATURDAY FAMILY PROGRAMS

Sing Back, Brooklyn! With Lloyd H. Miller

1st Sat of the month, 11am-12pm 
Ages 5-10, Free, BHS Great Hall
Next date: Saturday, May 3rd

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!

Please note: May's Sing Back, Brooklyn! is at 11am!

Lloyd H. Miller
Lloyd H. Miller!

Handmade History!

2nd Sat of the month, 3-4 pm
Ages 5-10, Free, BHS Classroom
Next date: Saturday, May 10th

A Saturday art-making program for families!

Handmade History
Brooklyn history-inspired collages at November's Handmade History!