Brooklyn Historical Society Events

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Recently at BHS

Historian Jelani Cobb discusses Civil Rights, Ferguson, and race in America.

Calendar of Programs



Voting Against HungerVoting Against Hunger: Presidential Elections and Food Assistance in the US

Wed, Oct 26, 6:30 pm
$5/Free for BHS and G-W Members
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Who sits in the White House and who goes hungry directly relate. On the eve of this presidential election, sociologist, activist, and author Jan Poppendieck discusses how figures like FDR, JFK, and Ronald Reagan have dramatically changed the course of hunger in our country.

Offered in connection with the exhibition, "Hidden in Plain Sight: Portraits of Hunger in NYC."


Los SuresScreening of Los Sures

Tue, Nov 1, 6:30 pm
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In 1984, a young filmmaker named Diego Echeverria documented the lives of four people living in one of the poorest New York City neighborhoods at that time: Williamsburg, Brooklyn's South Side, also known as “Los Sures.” Home to mostly Puerto Rican and Dominican families, the film captured a range of moving and complex moments in time, revealing a poignant portrait of an often-overlooked community. Join us for a screening of the film, which was rediscovered in the late 2000s and restored by UnionDocs, followed by a panel discussion with individuals featured in the original film, community advocates, and elected officials, many of whom still call this community home.

Presented in partnership with UnionDocs.

Breaking the Segregated Schools Cycle: From Desegregation to Meaningful Integration

Wed, Nov 2, 6:30 pm
$5/Free for BHS and G-W Members
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As our nation becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, how can parents, educators, and policy makers better understand the impact re-segregation in our public schools? Join Amy Stuart Wells, Professor of Sociology and Education, Director of the Center for Understanding Race and Education (CURE), and co-Director of the Public Good Project at Teachers College, Columbia University, as she shares her insights and findings from a recently released study on the educational benefits of diversity for all students.

Told It First HandTold It First Hand: Hip-Hop and the New Generation of Podcasters

Thu, Nov 3, 7 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival’s Wes Jackson sits down with hip-hop’s newest thinkers and content creators: the podcasters. As the world of hip-hop journalism shifts from magazines to digital airwaves, our guests Chris Morrow and Reggie Ossé (a.k.a. Combat Jack) lead the way with their web-based platform Loud Speakers Network which hosts podcasts featuring hip-hop icons.

Presented in partnership with Brooklyn Bodega.

Brooklyn Art Song SocietyBrooklyn Art Song Society

Fri, Nov 4, 7:30 pm
$25/$15 for BHS Members
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Brooklyn Art Song Society returns to BHS for the second concert in its ambitious Wien series, a rare complete performance of Hanns Eisler’s Hollywooder Liederbuch. This poignant work is presented by three gifted young interpreters of song: soprano Kristina Bachrach, tenor Nils Neubert, and baritone Matthew Morris.

Pigeons!Our Pesky Neighbors - Part 1: Pigeons

Mon, Nov 7, 7 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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Some nurture entire flocks of pigeons, others see them as the rats of the sky, and many of us appreciate them as urban wildlife. Love them or hate them, pigeons in New York City are here to stay. But how did they get here, and how have they adapted so well to urban living? Margaret Mittelbach, founder of The Secret Science Club, leads a panel of experts in a discussion on the history and contemporary life of the city’s most ubiquitous bird.

Presented in partnership with: Brooklyn Brainery

Reproductive HistoryThe Darker Side of Reproductive History

Part of the #LetsTalkFeminism Series
Thu, Nov 10, 7 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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The history of reproductive rights in the U.S. has dark chapters which are all too often overlooked. An expert panel unveils this history, including birth control experiments gone wrong and forced sterilizations, and looks at the reverberations today. Moderated by Irin Carmon, MSNBC reporter and co-author of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, panelists include Linda Gordon, NYU Professor of History, author of Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: The History of Birth Control in America, Adam Cohen, author of Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck, Iris Lopez, professor and author of Matters of Choice: Puerto Rican Women's Struggle for Reproductive Freedom, and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

To see the full #LetsTalkFeminism line-up, click HERE.

Presented in partnership with: Ms. Foundation for Women
November Free Friday

Bugs!Our Pesky Neighbors - Part 2: Bugs

Mon, Nov 14, 7 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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Cockroaches or bed bugs, which are worse? Entomologists, exterminators, and other experts help to answer this question (and may even convince us that they aren’t all that bad). Moderated by Brooke Borel, author of Infested. A few creepy crawlies will be in attendance.

Presented in partnership with: Brooklyn Brainery

     BHS Fall Gala 2016  BHS Fall Gala After Party 2016

Rankine and NelsonIn Conversation: Claudia Rankine and Alondra Nelson

Wed, Nov 16, 6:30 pm
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Poet, playwright, and essayist Claudia Rankine writes about everyday racism with a raw sensitivity. Her fifth volume, Citizen: An American Lyric, won both the PEN Open Book Award and the PEN Literary Award. Rankine discusses her work with Columbia University Dean of Social Science Alondra Nelson whose powerful writings about race include her widely praised book, The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome.

Presented in partnership with Purchase College, SUNY where Rankine is the 2016-2017 Roy and Shirley Durst Distinguished Chair in Literature.

Nixon, Nottage, & RuhlUnscripted Dialogue: Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Ruhl, and Lynn Nottage in Conversation

Thu, Nov 17, 6:30 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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Two MacArthur-winning, Brooklyn-based playwrights, Sarah Ruhl and Lynn Nottage, explore the themes of their work, from forbidden stories to finding the profound in the mundane, with Tony and Emmy Award-wining actress Cynthia Nixon.

Rats!Our Pesky Neighbors - Part 3: Rats

Mon, Nov 21, 7 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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Every mayor promises to rid New York City of its rats and every one of them has failed! Despite the nonstop extermination efforts the city’s most notorious resident continues to thrive. Is there anything we can ultimately do? Hear from NYC’s “Rat Czar,” a historian of rats, and a biologist specializing in rat genetics.

Presented in partnership with: Brooklyn Brainery

Steven HahnBook Talk: Steven Hahn & Eric Foner Wendy Wolf on A Nation Without Borders: The United States and Its World in an Age of Civil Wars, 1830-1910

Mon, Nov 28, 6:30 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Steven Hahn and Eric Foner discuss Hahn's latest book, A Nation Without Borders: The United States and Its World in an Age of Civil
Wars, 1830-1910,
which takes a provocative new look at the eight decades surrounding the Civil War.

Old Age MythsOld Myths: Confronting Aging and Ageism

Tue, Nov 29, 6:30 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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With Baby Boomers aging, a new generation is confronted with the misconceptions older people face. Join Ashton Applewhite of This Chair Rocks, Ellen Cole, co-creator of 70 Candles, John Leland of The New York Times, and Dr. Veronica LoFaso, Director of Geriatric Medical Education at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, for a discussion about positive aging. Paula Span, “New Old Age” columnist for The New York Times, moderates.

Presented in partnership with Heights and Hills.


Preserving Your PapersPreserving Your Personal Papers

Thu, Dec 1, 6:30 pm
$20/$15 for BHS and G-W Members
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What are the tools needed to preserve your family’s history for future generations? Join archivist John Zarrillo to learn how to properly store and handle your family’s papers, photographs, and memorabilia.

Presented in partnership with The New York Preservation Archive Project.

Al CaponeBook Talk: Deirdre Bair on Al Capone: His Life, Legacy, and Legend

Mon, Dec 5, 6:30 pm
$5/Free for BHS and G-W Members
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On January 17, 1899, a legend was born in Brooklyn. More than 100 years later, Al Capone's less-than-virtuous legacy continues to captivate our imaginations. With exclusive access to his descendants, National Book Award-winning biographer Deirdre Bair reveals the man behind the notorious gangster.

December Free Friday

Sarah LohmanHow Immigrant Cooks Shape American Food

Tue, Dec 13, 7 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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In celebration of the release of her new book, Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman looks at the lesser-known stories of immigrant recipes that have profoundly affected American cuisine. Tastings included!

Stop and FriskStop and Frisk: An In-Depth Look at a Contentious Policing Tactic

Wed, Dec 14, 6:30 pm
$10/$5 for BHS and G-W Members
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Criminologist and criminal justice expert Michael White delves into his and Henry Fradella's new book, Stop and Frisk: The Use and Abuse of a Controversial Policing Tactic, the first authoritative history and analysis of one of the most controversial policing tactics in modern history.

The Other SlaveryBook Talk: Andrés Reséndez on The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

Thu, Dec 15, 6:30 pm
$5/Free for BHS and G-W Members
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Historian Andrés Reséndez shares the myth-shattering story of the mass enslavement of American Indians by European colonists, which he argues was a major factor in the decimation of indigenous populations across North 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.

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.