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



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

Mary Rogers WilliamsFri, Nov 21, 6:30pm
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.


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:

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

Christopher BrownTue, 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?


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.

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 22nd!

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