Brooklyn Historical Society Events

Public ProgramsReal Estate Roundtable Fall Gala

2018 Fall & Winter Programs

Calendar of Programs


Unless specified otherwise, all public programs take place at BHS Pierrepont
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201


The Path to a Post-Rikers NYCThe Path to a Post-Rikers NYC
Wed, Oct 24, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members
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Hope for breaking the brutal violence of Rikers Island with a 10-year plan to close the complex brings with it new questions on accountability, bail reform, borough-based jails, inmate release, and the persistent inability to operate a humane criminal justice system, regardless of location. New York Times reporter Ashley Southall leads a conversation tackling these tough questions with criminal justice experts including Kalief Browder Foundation Founder Akeem Browder, CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance Executive Director Michael Jacobson, Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Dana Kaplan, and Vera Institute Program Director Insha Rahman.

Incivility: Violence in Congress on the Path to the Civil WarIncivility: Violence in Congress on the Path to the Civil War
Thu, Oct 25, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members

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If you despair of today’s political environment, and can’t imagine a more unruly and uncivil time, look no further than Joanne Freeman’s latest book, The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War. The Yale historian documents the collapse of civil dialogue amongst members of congress in the years preceding the Civil War, from vitriolic diatribes to the infamous attack on Charles Sumner on the Capitol floor. She is joined in conversation by fellow historian and author, Alexis Coe.

Boos in the Borough: A Brooklyn Historical HalloweenBoos in the Borough: A Brooklyn Historical Halloween
Wed, Oct 31, 6:00-9:00 pm
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BHS opens its doors for an evening of Halloween hijinks! Join us for tales of Brooklyn’s ghosts featuring Boroughs of the Dead founder Andrea Janes, an exploration of funerary traditions with death educator Amy Cunningham, and more celebrations of all things macabre. Come in costume and participate in a contest for the title of Best Dressed Ghoul in Brooklyn!


Elections in the Age of TrumpElections in the Age of Trump
Mon, Nov 5, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members
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On the eve of the midterm elections, FiveThirtyEight Senior Political Writer Clare Malone leads a conversation with John Sides, professor of political science at George Washington University and coauthor of the new book, Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America. The book and its argument provides a gripping, in-depth account of the 2016 presidential election from the bruising primaries, to the election night that defied the predictions of pundits and pollsters.

Presented in partnership with the Social Science Research Council’s Media and Democracy program.

Tales from the Vault: Brooklyn for PeaceTales from the Vault: Brooklyn for Peace
Wed, Nov 7, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members

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Founded amid the tensions of the Cold War, Brooklyn for Peace is an organization known for its involvement in local, national, and international political issues including nuclear disarmament, military recruitment, and more. Join two members of our library staff, Maggie Schreiner and Laura Juliano, as they share BfP’s 30-year history through their vast archival collections spanning 200 grassroots movements, which were recently catalogued and made available in the Othmer Library.

Book Talk: Saving BravoBook Talk: Saving Bravo
Mon, Nov 12, 6:30 pm
$10 / $5 for Members
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In observance of Veterans Day, join author Stephan Talty (The Black Hand, Captain Phillips) for a harrowing story from one of the world’s most contentious conflicts. Shot down and stranded behind enemy lines during the turning point of the Vietnam War, Lt. Col. Gene Hambleton would become the subject of the greatest rescue mission in Navy SEAL history. Talty shares a story of survival and sacrifice in this illustration of the cost of war.

About Them Apples: Inside Brooklyn’s Cider BoomAbout Them Apples: Inside Brooklyn’s Cider Boom
Wed, Nov 14, 6:30 pm
$10 / $5 for Members

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A refined, hyper-local potpourri of apple-based libations is taking root in Brooklyn, with makers inspired by everything from from Green-Wood Cemetery trees to medieval Basque traditions. Condé Nast Traveler food and drink writer Craig Cavallo moderates a conversation with Susan Yi of Brooklyn Cider House, Jahil Maplestone of Descendant Cider Company, and Joy Hammond of Proper Cider as they share stories of navigating production in the inner city, shifting forces in regional agriculture, and the secret to crisp apple sips.

Presented in connection with the exhibition The Business of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn’s GuyanaBrooklyn's Guyana
Tue, Nov 20, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members
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While Brooklyn is widely known as home to one of the largest Caribbean diasporas in the world, lesser known is the presence of the Guyanese-American community, the 5th largest immigrant community in NYC. Join three of Guyana’s leading female literary voices to explore the politics and role of migration in Brooklyn’s dynamic community. Gaiutra Bahadur (Coolie Woman), Natalie Hopkinson (A Mouth is Always Muzzled), and Rosalind Kilkenny McLymot (The Guyana Contract) will also reflect on the importance of Guyanese women who, since the 1950s to present, have been a driving force in migration from the Caribbean. Moderated by Grace Aneiza Ali, Assistant Professor, NYU’s Department of Art & Public Policy.

Presented in partnership with Queen's College of Guyana Alumni Association (NY), Inc. and Guyana Modern.

Bank of America Presents History Makers: Frederick Douglass and Fugitive Slaves: David Blight in Conversation with Andrew DelbancoBank of America presents History Makers
Frederick Douglass and Fugitive Slaves: David Blight in Conversation with Andrew Delbanco

Mon, Nov 26, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members
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Yale historian and author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, David Blight, sits down with Columbia University’s Andrew Delbanco, author of The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America's Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War. Join these celebrated thinkers for a conversation about abolition and a pivotal era in American history.

Remembering the 70s and 80s: A Bygone BrooklynRemembering the 70s and 80s: A Bygone Brooklyn
Wed, Nov 28, 6:30 pm
$10 / $5 for Members
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The images captured in photographer Larry Racioppo’s new book, Brooklyn Before: Photographs, 1971-1983, tell the story of a gritty borough all but lost today. Racioppo is joined by two who remember: novelist and New York Daily News columnist Denis Hamill and journalist Tom Robbins of the Village Voice and New York Daily News. Julia Van Haaften, founding curator of the New York Public Library’s photography collection, joins this conversation about a lost Brooklyn and the art of street photography.

Malls vs. Bodegas: Resisting the Suburbanization of the CityMalls vs. Bodegas: Resisting the Suburbanization of the City
Thu, Nov 29, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members
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While chain stores proliferate along neighborhood main streets, a simultaneous phenomenon of storefront vacancy threatens the character of NYC’s famously vibrant street life as landlords push out small business owners, holding out for higher-paying tenants. Join Center for an Urban Future Executive Director Jonathan Bowles, author of Vanishing New York: How a Great City Lost Its Soul Jeremiah Moss, and Director of Economic Policy at the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development Lena Afridi for a conversation moderated by Vanity Fair contributing editor Paul Goldberger as they consider how to counteract the “mall-ification” of public space and commerce in NYC.

Pictured clockwise from top: Jonathan Bowles, Jeremiah Moss, Lena Afridi, and Paul Goldberger


Performance as Tool for Social Justice: Bryan Doerries and Shaun Leonardo in ConversationPerformance as Tool for Social Justice: Bryan Doerries and Shaun Leonardo in Conversation
Wed, Dec 5, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members
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Bryan Doerries, Artistic Director of Theater of War Productions, uses performance of classical literature to confront and heal trauma. He works with individuals and communities that range from veterans to gangs. Shaun Leonardo uses participatory performance to similarly explore vulnerability, power, and loss. His series, I Can’t Breathe, which responds to Eric Garner’s killing, is part self-defense class and part social activism. In an evening that includes both demonstration and discussion, these two innovators explore their cutting-edge work and the power of performance to confront social issues.

“Muslims in Brooklyn” Listening PartyMuslims in Brooklyn Listening Party
Thu, Dec 6, 6:30 pm
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For well over a century, Muslims have lived, worked, and prayed in Brooklyn, making it a major center of Muslim life for NYC and the nation. Join us as we celebrate the official online publication of Brooklyn Historical Society’s Muslims in Brooklyn oral history collection. Led by BHS oral historian and project director Zaheer Ali and project coordinator Liz Strong, Muslims in Brooklyn brings to light the stories of Muslims from all over the Borough. Spend the evening listening to a curated selection of interviews which together paint a first-hand picture of how Muslims have both shaped and been shaped by life in Brooklyn.

Stripping Stigma: HIV/AIDS in NYC NowStripping Stigma: HIV/AIDS in NYC Now
Mon, Dec 10, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members

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Author and historian Sarah Schulman, Columbia University Associate Dean of Community and Minority Affairs Dr. Robert Fullilove, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center Director of HIV Prevention Anthony Albanese explore the footprint of the crisis of decades past, continued inequity in education and treatment across racial and socioeconomic communities, and marked efforts for opening the conversation surrounding HIV/AIDS in the post-PrEP era

Presented in partnership with The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center.

Book Talk: Victory City: A History of New York and New Yorkers During World War IIBook Talk: Victory City: A History of New York and New Yorkers During World War II
Wed, Dec 12, 6:30 pm
$5 / Free for Members
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Historian John Strausbaugh brings to life the many denizens of New York City during the era of World War II. From ship fitters and soldiers, to profiteers and pacifists, Strausbaugh shares the story of how this costly conflict played out on the streets of New York, and how its consequences paved the way for the city to become the global capital it is today.

Brooklyn Historical Society's Spring/Summer 2018 season of public programs are made possible, in part, through the generosity of TD Bank.
TD Bank

Brooklyn Historical Society public programs are made possible by the New York State Council of the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and, in part, by public funds from the New York Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


The History Makers series is proudly presented by Bank of America

Bank of America

Brooklyn Heights Tours

Big Onion Brooklyn Heights TourHistoric Brooklyn Heights Walking Tour

Explore New York City’s first Landmark District on a special tour co-sponsored by Big Onion and BHS! End your excursion at BHS, where you'll receive free admission and a behind-the-scenes look at our magnificent 1881 building. Check out the schedule of upcoming tours HERE and start planning your next Brooklyn adventure!Big Onion


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.