Exhibits & Events


For full details and to register for any of the Suffolk County Historical Society's upcoming events, please call: (631) 727-2881.

URBAN / SUBURBAN: NYC & North Fork Street Photography
by Neil Scholl

In our Gish Gallery January 18 – February 29, 2020
Long Island photographer Neil Scholl's work focuses on street and documentary photography and has been widely exhibited at galleries across Long Island, including Gallery North, Heckscher Museum, Montauk Lighthouse Museum, Water Mill Museum, and Islip Art Museum. This newly curated exhibit by Scholl contrasts his extraordinary street photography of NYC in the 1950s-1970s with more recent images of the North Fork of Long Island. Scholl is Professor Emeritus of New York Institute of Technology, where for 20 years he taught photography and graphic design.

LET'S DANCE!: Polish Dolls & Folk Costumes
From our permanent museum collection, these fabulous, intricate handmade dolls and exquisite dance costumes from Poland are on exhibit in our History in the Hall display cases.

a Newly Interpreted Permanent Exhibit
This newly renovated and permanent exhibit, "Long Island in Conflict," offers uniforms, weapons, medals, and other objects from our permanent collection, honoring Long Island's contribution to our country's defense.

The Story of How Whalebone Shaped 19th-Century Fashion

In our Weathervane Gallery
Through a display of 19th-century photographs, fashion magazine plates, photographs, whaling tools, corsets, parasols, and exquisite dresses showing the changes in fashion from 1820 to 1920, this special exhibit explores the fascinating, surprising, and vital role the American whaling industry played in the world of 19th-century fashion. Curated by Richard Doctorow.

Art and Artifacts

In our Grand Staas Gallery
The Eastern Woodlands is a cultural area of the indigenous people of North America, consisting of tribes inhabiting the United States and Canada, east of the Mississippi. Though their region was vast, the people of Eastern Woodland tribes lived in similar ways, and their art and artifacts reflect their deep-rooted culture, still evident through their descendants. This exhibit showcases modern native artists exploring historic themes and identities alongside earlier works. Art, artifacts, carvings, portraits, and tribal dress combine in this celebration of the Eastern Woodlands people. Exhibit curated by Jamie Reason. In our Grand Staas Gallery until February 2020.


Winter Break

Wednesday, February 19 - Saturday, February 22, 2020 – 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Free admission for children and $5 per adult. All museum signage will be temporarily reinterpreted for school-age children. Touch-table educational play stations for hands-on experiences. The Historical Play Room for playtime the old-fashioned way. Dress in colonial garb, historic role-playing, old-world games, toys, and crafts. Play out life in the past! Scavenger hunt with prizes. Complimentary cookies & juice. Fun for the whole family! More info.: 631-727-2881 x100.

with Sandi Brewster-Walker

Saturday, February 29, 2020 – 1:00 pm
Back by popular demand is Sandi’s informative and invaluable workshop for African American family researchers! Come learn about African American family history research and the best genealogy resources to consult in this hands-on lecture by historian/genealogist Sandi Brewster-Walker. For beginning and advanced genealogists alike with an interest in researching African American family histories, the workshop will cover using information sources, interpreting research data, incorporating new data, and organizing records, among other necessary strategies. Members Free; Non-Members $5. Registration Required: 631-727-2881 x100.

Native People of the Eastern Woodlands
Featuring a Tour & Talk by Exhibit Curator Jamie Reason

Saturday, March 7, 2020 – 1:00 pm
Don't miss this final opportunity to view our magnificent Staas Gallery exhibit showcasing modern native artists exploring historic themes and identities alongside earlier works. The Closing Reception will feature a special guided Tour & Talk by curator Jamie Reason at 1:00 pm. See and learn about the art, artifacts, carvings, portraits, and tribal dress in this celebratory exhibit of the Eastern Woodlands people. Regular museum admission will apply.

How to Feed 50 People in 50 Minutes!
A Food Demonstration & Tasting Event with North Fork Chef George Giannaris

Saturday, March 14, 2020 – 1:00 pm
$10 per person, includes the program, tastings and beverage, & admission to current exhibits.
RSVP + Prepayment Required: 631-727-2881 x100
Reserve Early! Seating limited to 50 people!
The owner and chef of the North Fork's iconic Hellenic Snack Bar & Restaurant will show us how to cook a meal for 50 people in 50 minutes, and then he will share the meal with us! For decades the Hellenic in East Marion has kept scores of loyal patrons coming back not just for healthy delicious fare prepared from locally sourced ingredients, but also for an eatery that always feels like home. George is passionate about eating healthy - and will share his tips and secrets with guests at the Suffolk County Historical Society Museum, while demonstrating how to prepare a delicious, healthy meal for 50 people in 50 minutes. He will also tell stories from + sell and sign copies of his two books, Ferry Tales I and II. Reserve early! Seating is limited!

BOOK & BOTTLE featuring Edward A. Sierra on
Enrico Fermi: Voyage to a New World

Thursday, March 26, 2020 – 6:00 pm
This engaging and informative presentation on the life and work of Enrico Fermi, a world-changing Italian-American physicist, father, husband, and Nobel Prize winner, should not be missed! Learn how one of the world's most brilliant and productive scientists led the first controlled nuclear chain reaction and what led to his discovery of nuclear reactions. Members Free; Non-members $5. Includes wine + cheese and admission to current exhibits. RSVP Required: 631-727-2881 x100.

BOOK & BOTTLE featuring author Joseph M. Galante on
Long Island State Hospitals

Saturday, April 18, 2020 – 1:00 pm
Members Free; Non-Members $5
Includes light refreshments + admission to current exhibits!
RSVP Required: 631-727-2881 x100
**This event will include a Book Sale & Signing!**
In the fall of 1885, the City of New York transferred 55 men and women living at the Kings County Asylum to the new St. Johnland farm colony in Kings Park "to promote rational outdoor living, exercise, and occupation." In 1887, just a few miles away at Central Islip, another City of New York farm colony was established for patients with chronic mental illness. Founded on the principles of moral therapy, the farm colonies provided patients with treatment, recreation, religious services, and hope for reintegration into society. In 1931, Pilgrim State was constructed, and by 1955, more than 32,000 individuals were receiving board and care at the three facilities. The author will guide us through the 111-year history of Long Island's state hospitals.

Please join the Suffolk County Historical Society and support local history preservation. Founded in 1886, SCHS is a non-profit organization that collects and preserves the rich history of Suffolk County. We operate a history museum, an expansive library and archives, and a multitude of events, programs, and educational lectures and workshops. Our unique and ever-growing collection of artifacts reflects more than three centuries of local history. Visit our website or call 631-727-2881 for more information.

To subscribe to our popular Photo of the Week Series, send an email to librarian Wendy Polhemus-Annibell: wannibell@schs-museum.org.

On display at the Suffolk County Water Authority Education Center in Hauppauge. A standing display on loan from the Suffolk County Historical Society provides an overview of the history of the Pine Barrens and the critical role this region plays in the protection of Suffolk County’s precious groundwater. The SCWA Education Center is located at 260 Motor Pkwy, Hauppauge, NY.