Exhibits & Education

The agency hosts rotating exhibits. Past exhibits include "Women Make History," "In the Shadow of the Highway: Robert Moses and the Battle for Downtown," and "Little Syria". View treasures from the archives and learn about the history of New York City.

DORIS offers programs, tours and activities related to our holdings. Students can work directly with primary sources to build a greater understanding of research and history.

Please visit Archives.NYC to view digital galleries and a sampling of our past exhibitions.

Upcoming Events
Note: If you require an auxiliary aid or service in order to attend a DORIS event, please contact our Disability Service Facilitator.

Note: To  request language interpretation services, please contact the Language Access Coordinator at least three (3) business days before an event.

The Lung Block: A New York City Slum & Its Forgotten Italian Immigrant Community
April 26 - August, 2019
31 Chambers Street, First Floor Gallery, NYC 10007

In 1933, a lively Italian immigrant enclave on the Lower East Side was wiped from the map. Although indistinguishable from the rest of the Lower East Side in many ways, this particular block existed under the shadow of a sinister narrative: death was embedded in the very walls of each building. According to the wealthy white Progressive reformers, this Lung Block – a generic term for a place where tuberculosis proliferated – represented a threat not just to its poor immigrant residents, but to the city at large.

Explore the history of immigrant housing and reform efforts in NYC at the start of the 20th century through one community.


Curator's Talk: The Lung Block Exhibit
Tuesday, June 25th;  6 - 8 p.m.
31 Chambers Street (Suite 111), New York, NY 10007


As part of our Night at the Museum's special programming, visitors will join cultural critic Stefano Morello and architectural historian Kerri Culhane for a discussion of the curatorial process behind our current exhibit, The Lung Block: A New York City Slum and Its Forgotten Italian Immigrant Community, on view through August 2019. 

Kerri and Stefano will outline the family mystery which launched Stefano's research into the Lung Block, paint a detailed portrait of the city's policies on housing, immigration, and health at the turn of the 20th century and their role in the fate of Lung Block; as well as explore the urban geography of this lost neighborhood and the stories used to depict tenement life. Please bring questions and ideas for sharing at this interactive conversation.


The Surrogate’s Court: A Public Treasure
Thursday, June 27th;  6 - 8 p.m.
31 Chambers Street (Lobby), New York, NY 10007


Join us to explore the history and design of the Manhattan Surrogate’s Court at 31 Chambers Street, one of the most beautiful public buildings in the city. It was built as the Hall of Records and took 8 years to complete, from 1899-1907. Designed by John Rochester Thomas and completed by Tammany Hall architects Horgan & Slattery, the grand marble interior with its double staircase was modeled on the Paris Opera House. This dramatic space is often seen in movies and on TV. It is home today to the Department of Records as well as the Surrogate’s Court. This event is being presented by the New York Archival Society to benefit the New York City Municipal Archives. Suggested Donation: $10.


Tenement Life: Where Health and Housing Aligned, 1882-1910
Thursday, July 11th; 6 - 8 p.m.
31 Chambers Street (Reading Room), New York, NY 10007


Join Dr. Katherine LaGuardia to learn the social and public health pressures of the late 19th century resulting from the Great Migration of immigrants into New York City. From congestion in Lower Manhattan to Dr. Biggs’ role in the control of tuberculosis through both the tenement reform movement and the modernization and expansion of the Department of Health to include bacteriology, case reporting, and case management, LaGuardia will discuss how the basic principles of “healthy housing” applied during this period continue to influence all aspects of life in New York City today.

Please bring questions for the Q&A session.


Municipal Library Monthly Book Club

St. Marks is Dead: the Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street
by Ada Calhoun
Wednesday, July 10th - 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
31 Chambers Street (Suite 112), New York, NY 10007

From its beginnings as the site of Peter Stuyvesant’s pear orchard to the home of bohemians and hipsters, St. Marks Place has always been a center of activity and controversy.  Learn more about the history of this unique street and its many faces.

Please note change of date to second Wednesday of the month because of Independence Day holiday. And “Mob Girl,” originally scheduled as the July book, will now be discussed in August.














Exhibits & Education