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.

Feeding the City: The Unpublished WPA Federal Writers’ Project Manuscript
31 Chambers Street, NYC 10007 - First Floor Gallery, Suite 110
September 7, 2018 – March 2019

“New York City never stops eating,” wrote the authors of Feeding the City in 1940—as true then as it is today.  Vintage recipes and photographs, bold and colorful advertising brochures, and excerpts from the unpublished Feeding the City manuscript are featured in this exhibit of materials from the NYC Unit of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Federal Writers’ Project. 

Jazz Tunes and Culinary Delights from the Depression Era
October 11th, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
31 Chambers Street, NYC 10007 - Reading Room (Suite 111)


Enjoy a night of American classic jazz (from the 1930s and 1940s) with a live concert by Steve Cromity and a jazz trio, while sampling a selection of appetizers reminiscent of that era.

This public program is being held in connection with our current exhibit, Feeding the City: The Unpublished WPA Manuscript. Explore what New Yorkers ate in the 1930s with vintage recipes, colorful brochures, WPA photographs, and excerpts from the manuscript completed by the NYC Unit of the Works Progress Administration Federal Writers’ Project.

Open House New York
October 13th 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
31 Chambers Street, NYC 10007 - Lobby

We are honored to be participating once again in Open House New York - the citywide celebration of architecture, urban design and New York City. Renowned architect John Rochester Thomas designed the Hall of Records, also known as the Surrogates Courthouse. Visitors will be treated to views of the historic French Neo-Baroque interior, blueprints of historic Lower Manhattan buildings, and a selection of other images from our Municipal Archives. 

Guests will also be able to tour our current exhibition, Feeding the City: The Unpublished WPA Federal Writers’ Project Manuscript.

Guided tours of the building will begin in the lobby of 31 Chambers Street promptly at 1PM and 2PM, with each tour lasting 45 minutes. Space is limited.   First-come, first served. Reservations are not required this event is open access.

Book Talk with Author Michael Krondl
November 1st, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
31 Chambers Street, NYC 10007 - Reading Room (Suite 111)


Michael Krondl invites all food and history lovers – particularly those with a sweet tooth - to a reading and discussion of his latest literary project, The Donut History, Recipes, and Lore from Boston to Berlin. Michael a world famous food historian, chef and donut fan has put together an entertaining social history of the donut phenomenon throughout the ages. The book is full of fascinating historical facts and delicious international donut recipes. Guests can expect tasty treats!

This event is part of the fundraising efforts of the New York Archival Society, in support of the Municipal Archives’ work to preserve and make available the history of New York City

Panel Discussion: How the Digital Revolution Changed the Food World
December 6th, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
31 Chambers Street, NYC 10007 - Reading Room (Suite 111)


Panelists will analyze the ways in which the emergence of digital platforms and social media outlets have changed the food industry, including how restaurants and chefs market themselves, who people listen to about what to put in their bodies and the role of formal media and other institutions in setting standards around food. Bring your ideas and questions for the Q & A section.

Exploring the Serious Side of Food
3rd Thursday of each month, 5:30 PM – 7 PM
31 Chambers Street, NYC 10007 - Reading Room (Suite 111)


Embark with food historians Jane Ziegelman and Andrew Coe on a literary journey to explore an aspect of our culture that we often take for granted: food. Beginning in September, DORIS will be hosting a reading and discussion series sponsored by Humanities New York. During the 6-session program, the group will examine the multitude of complex interactions and entanglements which lie under the surface of our source for both nourishment and pleasure.

The program includes appetizers, beverages, guest speakers and surprises.

Books are available for borrowing. Contact publicprograms@records.nyc.gov to learn more.


Oct. 18th

In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan is concerned that the focus on nutrition and food science has replaced old-fashioned healthy eating, leading to his mantra: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Nov. 15th
The Jungle – Upton Sinclair

Sinclair’s classic novel of turn-of-the-century Chicago focuses on the exploitation of immigrant workers and unsanitary conditions at the city’s famous stockyards and slaughterhouses.

Dec. 20th

The Road to Wellville - T. C. Boyle

Boyle’s comic novel satirizes the health craze of the early 20th century, poking fun at such practitioners as John Harvey Kellogg, founder of the famous cereal company. But Boyle forces us to ask: how different are we from these characters of a century ago?

Jan. 17th 

Diet for a Small Planet - Frances Moore Lappe

Diet for a Small Planet was at the forefront of the movement in the 1970s that lead to a rethinking — both in terms of health and environmental impact – of our diets and relationship to food.

Feb. 21st 

Diet Cults: The Surprising Fallacy at the Core of Nutrition Fads and a Guide to Healthy Eating for the Rest of Us - Matt Fitzgerald

This critique of various “diet fads” examines the rhetoric and faults of each, ascribing “cult” status to them — for they all claim to be the “one true way” to eat healthy.

Mar. 21st

Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health - Marion Nestle

Marion Nestle’s contemporary classic exposes how corporations and food companies influence politics in order to improve their bottom lines – no matter what the cost to the health of ordinary Americans.

Municipal Library Monthly Book Club

Homer & Langley: A Novel
by E.L. Doctorow
Wednesday, November 7th - 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
31 Chambers Street, NYC 10007 - Suite 112

Just after World War I in New York City, the wealthy, eccentric Collyer brothers live as recluses in their brownstone.They become what today are known as hoarders, collecting newspapers and other items.

Why do they do this and can they completely shut out the rest of the world?







Exhibits & Education