Exhibits & Events

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

A North Fork Family Album

From the Private Collection of Ellen Doughty Korsower. Curated by Helene Verin.
In Our Gish Gallery thru February 3, 2024

After buying a Jamesport bungalow in 2013, curator/designer Helene Verin was inspired to learn more about the family that once lived in the home. Introduced by neighbors, Helene reached out to Ellen Doughty Korsower, who grew up in the home and whose genealogy reaches back to Peter Hallock, born about 1600 and reportedly the first Hallock to arrive on the North Fork. Ellen began sharing snapshots & tidbits about her family's life on the North Fork with Helene, and the beginnings of this exhibit were formed. With familiar early family names - Youngs, Wells, Horton, Hallock, Tuthill, Ackerly, Budd, Aldrich, and others - this charming photography exhibit captures the spirit of life on the North Fork from the 1860s to the 1960s.

ABOUT THE CURATOR: An award-winning contemporary designer of shoes, rugs, wallpaper, and tiles, Helene Verin is a former professor at FIT and has lectured around the world. Her work has appeared in countless books and publications, and she has worked for many museums and galleries.

Tales from Liquor Island
author Amy Kasuga Folk

Saturday, September 30, 2023 – 1:00 pm

During the Prohibition years of 1920 to 1933, a U.S. constitutional amendment prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Suffolk County, with its proximity to major markets and coastal communities for easy transit, was awash in illegal hooch and witnessed countless struggles between federal agents and the liquor smugglers. Join Amy K. Folk as she recounts rumrunning stories from Suffolk County's Prohibition era.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Southold Town Historian Amy Kasuga Folk is a thirty-year veteran of the history world. In addition to managing the collections of Oysterponds Historical Society and Southold Historical Museum, Ms. Folk is a past president of the Long Island Museum Association and the current Region 2 Co-Chair of the Association of Public Historians of New York State. She is also a prolific local history writer, having authored or co-authored numerous articles and seven books, including Rumrunning in Suffolk County, A World Unto Itself: The Remarkable History of Plum Island, and Hotels and Inns of Long Island's North Fork.

A limited number of books will be available for sale in our Weathervane Bookshop.

Members Free, Non-Members $8. Includes refreshments. Registration + non-refundable prepayment required. Space is limited! Call 631-727-2881 X100 to reserve your spot! Or reserve at Eventbrite for a small surcharge:

Register Here

Remember Liss
A New American Founding Figure
with Claire Bellerjeau

Saturday, October 14, 2023 – 1:00 pm

Join historian and author Claire Bellerjeau at the SCHS as she discusses the discovery of a new founding figure named Elizabeth, or Liss. Liss was enslaved by the Townsend family of Oyster Bay, whose most famous member was Robert Townsend--George Washington's lead spy during the Revolutionary War. As Robert and Liss's story unfolds, prominent figures cross their path, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Benedict Arnold, John Graves Simcoe, John André, and John Adams; as well as the Culper Spy Ring, the Boston Massacre, the Battle of Long Island, and the Benedict Arnold treason plot. Liss's escape with the British, re-enslavement in Manhattan and later Charleston, and her complex struggle for freedom give new insight into the country's founding era, through the eyes of an enslaved Black woman seeking liberty in a country fighting for its own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Claire Bellerjeau co-founded a non-profit organization called Remember Liss in 2022, with the mission to educate the community about Liss’s extraordinary life and times. She has been researching the Townsend family and those they enslaved for over seventeen years, including curating a yearlong exhibit on the Townsend "Slave Bible" in 2005. In 2015, during a research visit to the New York Historical Society, she discovered what may be one of the earliest poems ever written by Jupiter Hammon, America's first published African American writer. Bellerjeau is the co-author of Remember Liss: The Remarkable True Story of One Woman's Enslavement and Freedome in New York (2022) and Espionage and Enslavement in the Revolution: The True Story of Robert Townsend and Elizabeth (2021).

Members Free; Non-Members $8. Includes refreshments. Registration + nonrefundable prepayment required. Call 631-727-2881 x100 to reserve. A limited number of books will be available for purchase in our bookshop during this event.

Register Here

Featuring the Photography of Neil Scholl and Peter Dicke

In Our Gish Gallery
Enjoy the scenery and views of the North Fork as though you were enjoying a Sunday drive in this captivating photography exhibit that captures all of the natural beauty of the North Fork, photographed through all seasons. Neil Scholl is Professor Emeritus of New York Institute of Technology, where for 20 years he taught photography and graphic design. His work is focused on street and documentary photography and has been widely exhibited at galleries, including Gallery North, Heckscher Museum, Montauk Lighthouse Museum, Water Mill Museum, and the Islip Art Museum. Peter Dicke, an original member of Gallery 338 in Huntington, was introduced to photography by his grandfather and, as a teenager, created his first black-and-white photographs with a Speed Graphic camera. Peter continues to develop his passion for image-making via digital photography, where his focus is on documentary and landscape images.

New Permanent Exhibit Opens to the Public
June 3, 2023
Gallery hours: 10:00am to 4:30pm
(excluding holiday weekends)

Designed as the new core of the Suffolk County Historical Society Museum, this new interactive permanent exhibit, “a museum within a museum,” provides a comprehensive timeline of over 200 historically significant moments that shaped Suffolk County into the vibrant community it is today. From the geological formation of Long Island, to the arrival of its indigenous people, moving forward through history to modern times, our greatest residents and achievements figure prominently in this exhibition celebrating our history, our heritage, and our people. Our story is told through over 200 artifacts and documents, photos, digital screens, and interactive digital experiences that will delight every visitor, while walking guests through our history, century by century.

This exhibit is funded in part by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, with additional support from Roberta Cooper in memory of James B. Cooper III and the Cooper Family.

The History of Education and Schooling in Suffolk County

A permanent exhibit in our lower level display case.
Curated by Joshua Cortez.

Prior to the nineteenth century, education was limited and localized. "Schoolhouses" were often housed in post offices, public buildings, or the houses of private instructors. The introduction of statewide legislation in the early 1800s by Ezra L’Hommedieu and Jonathan Nicoll Havens, both of Suffolk County, initiated a surge of schoolhouse construction and the hiring of teachers. Within a century, Suffolk emerged from these one-room schoolhouses to become the home of nationally recognized collegiate institutions like Stony Brook University, La Salle Military Academy, and Dowling College. This exhibit explores many facets of education in Suffolk County, including early teacher qualifications, high school athletics, curriculums of the past, and collegiate education.

Suffolk County's Early Silversmiths

In our History in the Hall Display Cases Now thru January 2024
In March 2020, the Suffolk County Historical Society secured a significant acquisition of over 100 pieces of silver crafted by Suffolk County's earliest known silversmiths. With works by Joel, John, and Paul Sayre, Elias Pelletreau, B. Coleman, and Col. David Hedges, this display case exhibit glistens with the handcrafted work of these fine eighteenth-century artisans. The SCHS Board of Trustees is proud to present this notable collection, exhibited for the first time.

Silversmithing was one of the earliest arts practiced in the American colonies. As early as 1638, just eight years after Boston had been settled, fourteen-year-old from Boston named John Hull is documented to have been apprenticed to his half-brother Richard Storer to learn the art of crafting in silver. The increase of silver coins available in the colonies added to the growing importance of silversmiths. Early American silversmiths were influenced by both Dutch and English designs, but eventually there evolved an “American” style – simple and sturdy in design, substantial in weight, and well crafted.

Prints, Lithographs and Etchings from the SCHS Collection

In our Staas Gallery

Before the 1800s, art was largely reserved for the wealthy, but with the invention of lithography in 1796 - and particularly color lithography in 1837 - printers were able to mass-produce beautiful color prints that were cheap enough for anyone to buy. Suddenly, art was available to all and everyone could decorate their homes and offices with any of the thousands of images offered by such notable printers as Louis Prang, Napoleon Sarony, and Currier and Ives. Featuring themes of nineteenth-century life in landscapes, cityscapes, ships, racehorses, scenes from literature, politics, Civil War battle scenes, and rare examples of "lithographic Long Island," this exhibit captures the evolution of an American art form.

[Poster for 'Be a Witness to History' exhibit]BE A WITNESS TO HISTORY!
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.


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.

300 West Main Street, Riverhead, NY 11901

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Wednesday - Saturday - 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Open Weds. to Sat., 12:30-4:30 pm.
An appointment is strongly recommended for all researchers and is required on Saturdays.
Call to reserve your research visit:
631-727-2881 x103
Phone: (631) 727-2881
Fax: (631) 727-3467

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