The Brooklyn Historical Society connects the past to the present and makes the vibrant history of Brooklyn tangible, relevant and meaningful for today's diverse communities, and for generations to come.
Founded in 1863, the Brooklyn Historical Society is a nationally recognized urban history center dedicated to preserving and encouraging the study of Brooklyn's extraordinary 400-year history. Located in Brooklyn Heights and housed in a magnificent landmark building designed by George Post and opened in 1881, today's BHS is a cultural hub for civic dialogue, thoughtful engagement and community outreach.
BHS brings history to life with a host of family-oriented exhibits, walking tours, lectures, panel discussions, special events and concerts all relating to Brooklyn.
BHS now offers free group tours for schools grades K-12 through funding from Barclays/Nets Community Alliance.
School group tours are based on BHS' current exhibits.
Guided Tours - Grades K-12
One hour; (up to 30 participants for each program) Includes three adult chaperones for K-12 grade groups.
Free group tours for K-12 schools made possible through funding from Barclays/Nets Community Alliance.
College Level & Adult Tours
One hour; (up to 30 participants for each program)
Self-Guided tours available Wednesday - Sunday (up to 30 participants). Self-Guided tour fee: $75
Guided Tour fee: $150.
All tours by appointment only.
For more information, please call (718) 222-4111, ext. 228.
In The Classroom
These educational workshops start at $150 (for 90 minutes with up to 30 students).
BHS educators conduct an interactive lesson using primary sources from the museum's collection to explore themes in U.S. History. Choose from a list of topics:
- European Encounter
- American Revolution
- Abolitionism and African Americans in 19th-century Brooklyn
- Urban and Industrial Change
- Oral History
- Jobs in Brooklyn since 1900
NEW! Two-Part Brooklyn Bridge Program
An educator will visit a classroom for a 90-minute session in which students investigate primary sources that tell the history of the bridge. In a separate walking tour, students leave BHS and walk onto the bridge with an educator to reinforce what they’ve learned.
History Speaks: Using Oral History in the Classroom – Grades 4-11
What is oral history? It is a historical method that uses recorded interviews to preserve firsthand memories, accounts and interpretations of a person’s life, an event, a place, way of life or time period. With oral history, historians collect and interpret this primary source, and students can too. Schedule a visit with BHS’ oral historian who will discuss the importance of creating this type of documentation and play excerpts from BHS’ audio archives. Students learn how citizens play a role in local and national events.
After School & Collaborative Programs
The Brooklyn Historical Society in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, presents Saturday Academy for students in grades 6-12. Saturday Academy is a free, six-week program for students interested in American History, and best of all, there isn't any homework or testing!
The Brooklyn Historical Society's education programs and materials bring history to life, helping students develop critical thinking skills, while assisting teachers in preparing their students meet rigorous New York State Learning standards. Cultural After School Adventures (CASA) grants from New York City Council Members offer one example of collaborative programs. BHS successfully piloted CASA programs in Spring 2006 (P.S. 1 and P.S. 119), in which one class worked as "Young Curators" after school. The program resulted in exhibit panels that became property of the schools. BHS staff is available to design a similar program for your school. For more information call 718-222-4111 ext. 237.
Exhibition Laboratory, or Ex Lab, as it is known by its participants, is an after-school program in which students from Cobble Hill High School of American Studies, Brooklyn Technical High School, The Packer Collegiate Institute and Saint Ann’s School learn the process of curating an exhibit from start to finish. With the help of Brooklyn Historical Society staff, students mine the collection for art and artifacts, conduct extensive background research, write the explanatory text which will illuminate this history and choose specific graphic design elements to complete the look and feel of their exhibit entitled. In spring 2010 Ex Lab students curated Home Base: Memories of the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field, an exhibit that highlights the history of the Dodgers and fans by featuring BHS’ rich Dodgers collection.
Teaching American History Grant Partnerships
Using Brooklyn Historical Society's Resources to Teach American History
Beginning in Fall 2001, BHS entered into the first of many three-year partnerships with The NYC Department of Education, local universities and cultural organizations such as Brooklyn Museum, City Lore, The Gotham Center for NYC History, Henry Street Settlement, Historic House Trust, The New-York Historical Society, The Old Stone House and Weeksville Heritage Center to develop and implement staff development programs for teachers. Funded though the U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History Grants, BHS worked with teachers and students in all five boroughs. BHS provided primary source research materials, teaching expertise and worked in a mentoring capacity with teachers. Together, classroom teachers and our staff developed strategies for integrating these materials, as well as the resources of other NYC museums and cultural centers into the classroom.
Professional Development Workshops
Starting at $200 at BHS; $300 at your school (for 90 minutes with up to 30 teachers)
Through professional development workshops, at BHS or in your classroom, BHS education staffshares approaches to inquiry-based teaching strategies and assists teachers in using the museum’s collection to teach effective and compelling curricula. Teaching themes include: European Encounter, American Revolution, Abolitionism, Urban & Industrial Change, the Brooklyn Bridge and more. Professional development workshops can also be scheduled at BHS in conjunction with current exhibits.
NEW! Brooklyn Heights from George Washington to Jackie Robinson
In a two-hour walking tour of BHS’ historic neighborhood, teachers learn how Brooklyn Heights developed from farmland into a robust urban environment that has contributed to the city’s architecture, culture, commerce and industry.
At Your Site
Fee: Starting at $300 (for 90 minutes with up to 30 educators)
At Brooklyn Historical Society
Fee: Starting at $200 (for 90 minutes with up to 30 educators)
Call for more information and for details on customized programs.
(718) 222-4111, ext.237