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

Wes Jackson, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, moderates a discussion between Kevin Powell, Founder of BK Nation, and Scott Stedman, Founder of Northside Media Group, on gentrification and an ever-changing Brooklyn.

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

Calendar of Programs



Brooklyn Book Festival

Sun, Sept 21, 10am-6pm
Join thousands of book lovers as they descend on BHS for an entire day of exciting literary-themed events, including panel discussions, readings, book signings, and more.


Exploring Brooklyn's Shifting Demographics

Brooklyn's Shifting DemographicsThu, Oct 2, 6:30pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
With its ever-growing population, Brooklyn is experiencing major demographic shifts among racial, ethnic, and ancestral groups. Join us as demographers Joseph Salvo, Director of the Population Division of the NYC Department of City Planning, and his colleague Peter Lobo, explore the demographic forces that make Brooklyn a dynamic place, and discuss the challenges we're likely to face in the coming decades.

Brooklyn's On Fire: Brooklyn Firehouses Walking Tour with Francis Morrone

Green-Wood Firehouse TourA Green-Wood Cemetery Partner Program
Sun, Oct 5, 1pm - 3pm
$20 General Admission / $15 for BHS and G-W Members
*Members receive advance registration privilege!
Reserve tickets>>
Firehouses' distinctive and ornate style makes them immediately recognizable, yet each one enjoys its own eclectic design. Architectural historian Francis Morrone leads you through a rich variety of firehouse architecture, from Beaux Arts design to the new FDNY headquarters in downtown Brooklyn. Meeting place provided upon ticket purchase on the Green-Wood website.

Hidden Brooklyn: The Food Purveyors of 630 Flushing Avenue 

                                                                        630 Flushing Ave
Tue, Oct 7, 12pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
The former Pfizer plant in Williamsburg is now home to several young food businesses making major contributions to Brooklyn's vibrant food landscape. Join us for this behind-the-scenes visit (and nosh!) with the owners of Sfoglini pasta, Krumville bakery, and Poulet Roti barbecue.

Screening and Discussion: Everybody Street and Lucille Fornasieri Gold

Lucille Fornasieri GoldTue, Oct 7, 6:30pm
Reserve tickets>>
In conjunction with BHS' exhibition She said, She said: Art and inspiration in the work of Nell Painter and Lucille Fornasieri Gold, join us for a screening of the documentary Everybody Street, which delves into the vibrant, moment-to-moment world of street photographers in NYC. Post-screening discussion with photographers Lucille Fornasieri Gold and BHS Head of Collection Management Julie May.

The Bridge - A Music Theatre Workshop

Wed, Oct 15 Reserve tickets>>
Thu, Oct 16 Reserve tickets>>
Fri, Oct 17 Reserve tickets>>
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Contemporary ideas of gender politics and female role models are challenged in this new musical, which uses Hart Crane's epic poem The Bridge as inspiration, and finds the poet captivated by both the Brooklyn Bridge and Emily Warren Roebling, considered history's first female field engineer.

Jonathan Lethem in Conversation

Jonathan LethemThu, Oct 23, 6:30pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
With the new musical adaptation of The Fortress of Solitude, award-winning author Jonathan Lethem and writer Brian Berger will take a look back at one of the novel's central characters: the dynamic, racially-charged and rapidly-changing streets of 1970s Brooklyn.
Photo by John Lucas

Brooklyn's On Fire: Meet the Firehouse Chefs!

Firehouse ChefsThu, Oct 30, 6:30pm
$10 General Admission / $5 for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
We've all seen firemen in our local supermarkets pushing overloaded shopping carts to the checkout, but what happens when they get back to the station? Brooklyn Magazine food editor Sarah Zorn answers that question through a panel discussion with four local firehouse chefs. kicks off the evening with complementary tastings of four-alarm cocktails!

Part of a four-part thematic series on Brooklyn and fire, presented with Green-Wood Cemetery.


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

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Thu, Nov 6, 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.

Brooklyn's On Fire: Bushwick is Burning

 Mon, Nov 17, 6:30pm

Bushwick is Burning_Meisler
    Image: Last Wall, June 1982, by Meryl Meisler ( 

$5 General Admission / Free for BHS and G-W Members
Reserve tickets>>
Jonathan Mahler, New York Times media reporter and author of the critically acclaimed Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx is Burning, moderates this panel exploring Bushwick's 1970s nadir. Photographer Meryl Meisler, a tenant lawyer, an FDNY fire marshal, a Community Board manager, and a displaced resident will discuss their experiences on the frontlines of urban neglect.

A Conversation About Conversations About Race with Baratunde Thurston and Tanner Colby

Baratunde Thurston & Tanner Colby
    Left: Photo by Bill Wadman

Wed, Nov 19, 6:30pm
Reserve tickets>>
Authors Baratunde Thurston (How to Be Black) and Tanner Colby (Some of My Best Friends Are Black) host an interracial conversation to discuss our never-ending, circular, and stagnant "National Conversation About Race" in this pre-post-yet-still-very-racial America. Moderated by Raquel Cepeda, author of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina.

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
*Members receive advance registration privilege!
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.


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.

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

Christopher Brown Tue, Dec 9, 6:30pm
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/

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?

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 October 4th!

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 October 11th!
Click here to reserve tickets for October 18th!

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

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

Ages 5-10, Free, BHS  Great Hall
Click here to reserve tickets for October 25th!

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.