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
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.

Suffolk County in the Wild West

From our permanent collection, assorted costumes, beads, photographs, and other artifacts showcase the story of circus performers Etheyle and Juanita Parry of Riverhead, known as the Parry Sisters, two of the greatest stunt horseback riders in the country at the turn of the 20th century. In our History in the Hall display cases beginning March 11, 2020.

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.
> Virtual Exhibit Video


The Suffolk County Historical Society invites you to be a witness to our living history. Please consider sharing your COVID-19 experiences for our historic archives. Email your stories to: librarian@schs-museum.org. Be sure to put "COVID-19" in your subject line and to include your location and contact information.

Spring Break
Wednesday, April 8 - Friday, April 10, 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 Playroom 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.

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.

Historic Songs from the Susan and Stephen Sanfilippo Collection
(on the 50th Anniversary of Their Wedding)
Thursday, May 7, 2020 – 6:00 pm
Accompanied by his banjo, concertina, and guitar, Stephen Sanfilippo will perform a sampling of the 200 historic songs that he and his wife Susan have discovered over the past 50 years. Whether found by accident or unearthed in some obscure published work, most of these long-forgotten songs from our very own maritime and cultural past will be sung and heard once again at the Suffolk County Historical Society Museum! Members Free; Non-members $5. Includes wine + cheese. RSVP Required: 631-727-2881 x100

BOOK & BOTTLE featuring Karl Grossman on
Approaching Midnight: Suffolk County's 20th-Century Nuclear-Tipped Missile Sites
Thursday, June 18, 2020 – 6:00 pm
Professor and journalist Karl Grossman will speak on the years during the mid-20th century when nuclear-tipped missiles were set to be fired from Suffolk County. The missiles were installed at bases in Westhampton and Rocky Point by the U.S. Department of Defense, intended, if necessary, to destroy Soviet bombers flying near Suffolk County. But these early anti-aircraft missiles were unable to score direct hits, so the plan was to have the nuclear warheads detonate when they reached a formation of Soviet bombers, destroying the bombers but also raining radioactivity down below. This fascinating presentation about a little-known era in Suffolk County's history will include segments from the film Avoiding Nuclear Destruction: By the Skin of Our Teeth, which features Grossman touring the former missile sites. Members Free; Non-Members $5. Includes wine + cheese. RSVP Required: 631-727-2881 x100.

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.