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 special BOOK & BOTTLE event
with Bill Bleyer on
The Sinking of the Steamboat Lexington on Long Island Sound
The Worst Maritime Disaster in Long Island History

Join us for the OFFICIAL History Press BOOK LAUNCH PARTY!!!
Saturday, April 15, 2023 – 1:00 pm
This is the Official History Press BOOK LAUNCH PARTY and will include a Book Sale & Author Signing. The author will make his just-published book available for a flat fee of $26 each, by cash, check, or credit credit by PayPal or Venmo.

Maritime historian Bill Bleyer will detail the story of the steamboat Lexington--from its unique construction to its harrowing demise and current efforts to document the wreck--the subject of his latest Long Island history book. Commissioned by "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt as he built his maritime empire in New York, the Lexington was the fastest, most luxurious steamboat on Long Island Sound. On a bitter cold night in January 1840, a fire broke out that quickly spread throughout the wooden vessel. The lifeboats were swamped before the steamboat could be stopped, and no rescue boats responded in time. Only 4 of the more than 145 people on board survived after the vessel sank, northwest of Port Jefferson, by clinging to cotton bales, including second mate David Crowley who drifted for more than 40 hours until he came ashore in Riverhead. The disaster intensified the national debate about steamboat safety, and an image of the blaze launched the career of lithographer Nathaniel Currier. After initial salvage attempts, the wreck remained unseen until it was rediscovered by a team of divers in 1983.

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

Register Here

Team Will Present Their Research on Enslaved People of the North Fork

Saturday, April 29, 2023 – 1:30 pm
The North Fork Project team, which for several years has been researching the history of slavery on the North Fork , will discuss their findings. The institution of slavery was common on the North Fork from the mid-1600s until abolished by the state in 1827. During that 178-year period, an estimated 550 enslaved people lived and labored here. The North Fork Project team will share names of the enslaved, their stories and experiences, and other details they’ve uncovered. The Team includes Steve Wick – Executive Director, Times Review Group; Sandi Brewster-Walker – Independent historian (specializing in the history, culture, and genealogies of Long Island people of color including the Native American community); Richard Wines – Independent historian (history of Riverhead); and Amy Kasuga Folk – Southold Town Historian.

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

Register Here

65 Years of Comic Book Art by Stan Goldberg

Presented in our Weathervane Gallery by the Jewish Historical Society of Long Island and curated by Brad Kolodny, this exhibit showcases the nearly 70 years of work of the comic book artist Stan Goldberg— from his work as a colorist in the 1940s to his helping to create Marvel superheroes in the 1960s to another 40 years of drawing Archie and his pals at Riverdale High. Exhibit will run to May 20, 2023.

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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