Queens Historical Society September Spotlight Events

24th Annual Art and History Contest Open to all 3rd, 4th & 5th grade students in Queens,…

24th Annual Art and History Contest

Open to all 3rd, 4th & 5th grade students in Queens, NY!

NEW DEADLINE: This years program ends November 6th. Have your submissions in before then!

The Challenge

The challenge of the contest has now expanded to a broader range of themes! Pick your favorite historic site or prominent personality from Queens. Use all the references you can acquire to get a good look at it and draw it out. While conducting your research, try to explore the history of the site/personality as much as possible, and consider what it means to you.

Example Ideas

Historic Buildings or Sites: Post Office, Library, Church, Statue, Temple, Mosque, Park, Cemetery. Prominent Personalities:  Authors/Social Activists (Grace Lee Boggs, Betty Friedan, Hellen Keller) • Scientists (Lisa and Dana Randall, Eugine Clark, Jonas Salk, Herbert Hauptman, Mohammad Salman Hamdani) • Jazz Musicians (Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett) • Contemporary Performing Artists (Nas, Run DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip, Salt-N-Pepa) • Famous Culinary Chefs (Lidia Bastianich) • Fashion Designers (Steve Madden). For more resources click here.

Contest Rules

Draw the building, site, or person of your choice on a separate piece of paper (8.5”x11”). You may use pencils, colored pencils, crayons or watercolors. Write at least one paragraph stating the name of the place/person you drew, its/their history, and the reason you picked them, then paper clip it to the back of your drawing. Make sure to use your school heading! ***Please note that your work becomes the property of the Queens Historical Society, and enters our archive and collections.***

Suggested Donation

With your entry, we ask that you consider also chipping in $1 with your submission. This helps us bring cultural programs to kids and adults like you, and helps us give the prizes out! If you would like to support your local cultural institutions and send even more, it would be very appreciated! Donations will be separated from the judging process.

Mail-In Submission

If you would like to mail in your submission, please attach your essay to your drawing with a stapler or paperclip, and send it in an envelope with a suggested donation to

Queens Historical Society C/O Art and History
143-35 37th Ave
Flushing, NY, 11354

Online Submission

• Scan of your drawing on an 8.5”x11” paper (JPEG, PDF files are all accepted). • An electronic version of your paragraph or essay with the school heading (PDF and Word files are all accepted). Suggested donations can be sent in via our Paypal! • Completed Entry Form (Click to acquire and fill out). Please attach all materials and email them to [email protected]queenshistoricalsociety.org SUBJECT: Education Department/Art&History Contest


1st 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be chosen from each grade. All participants get a certificate! 1st place winners – $25 gift card 2nd place winners – $15 gift card 3rd place winners – $10 gift card


Reception for the winners will be held on December 18th 2021.

Below is a link to the full informational flier

In Person Event

Summer Silent Outdoor Film Fest at Kingsland Homestead and Weeping Beech Park

When: Saturday September 4th, at 8:00 pm

Where: Outdoors at Kingsland Homestead. (Movie will be projected)

Tickets: Free for members, 3$ for students and Seniors, and $5 for Adults.

Runtime: 1 hour 24 minutes

As summer comes to a close, what better what to spend the cooling summer nights than with a movie? Just like the in the era of the drive-in theater, come join us outside to watch a silent film, projected onto the side of Kingsland Homestead. Bring a beach towel or picnic blanket, and a friend, and enjoy the silent film Zaza.

Zaza is a film from 1923, and was produced here in Queens. The Famous Players-Lasky was a production company that worked in Astoria to produce silent films. It would later become the famous Kaufman Astoria film studio, and continued to produce many famous productions. The film Zaza takes place in Europe, but in reality, it was here in Queens!

Popcorn and refreshments will be available for a small contribution to the museum.

We are hoping for a nice cool weather day for this program, however we are at the whim of mother nature. There will be a rain date of a week later should anything interfere with the showing.

Digital Visit

Sacred Sites Virtual Tour

Date: August 7th, 2021
Time: 2:30 pm -3:30 pm
Location: Virtual Event
Price: Pay What You Can

Flushing, Queens is famous for many things, however one of the top things would have to be the Flushing Remonstrance. This successful protest against the Dutch Director-General, Peter Stuyvesant, was ultimately successful in achieving one of the first instances of religious tolerance in the colonies.

Today, Flushing is home to a diverse crowd of people and followers of many different religions. We have invited many of them to speak with us for this event, and we will go on a virtual tour of Flushing, and hear the various different sites talk about their institutions.

We were joined by: The Flushing Free Synagogue, The Friends Meeting House, The Hindu Temple Society of North America, The Muslim Center of New York, and the Chinese Buddhist Association.

Event Image: The Ganesh Hindu Temple located at 45-57 Bowne St. in Flushing.

Conducted in Partnership with the New York Landmarks Conservancy

Digital Visit

In-Person Lecture at Kingsland Homestead

Date: July 31st, 2021
Time: 2:30 pm -3:30 pm
Location: In-person event at Kingsland Homestead. (virtual options available)
Price: $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors, Free for members


From it’s colonial origins to the rush of the 19th century, and even to the immigrants of today, Queens has always been shaped by immigrants. But the history of how immigration has shaped the cultural landscape is quite varied over time.


This lecture on the History of Immigration was given by Queensboro Historian, Jack Eichenbaum, who shared his experiences as a social geographer living in Queens for decades.


This was an in-person event at Kingsland Homestead. For those of you who were unable to safely come, this program is available digitally! For more information about Digital Access, please email [email protected]QueensHistoricalSociety.org

Conducted in Partnership with the New York Landmarks Conservancy

Online and In Person Exhibit


This exhibition was co-curatored in collaboration between Queens Historical Society and it’s board President, and Queens historian, Jason Antos.

This exhibition highlights the work of two prominent photographers of Queens, Percy Loomis Sperr (1890- 1964) and Frederic J. Weber (1881-1967).

Percy Loomis Sperr, born in 1890, was known as the “Official Photographer for the City of New York.” In the early 1920s, Loomis moved to New York where he resided in Staten Island for the next forty years until his death in 1964.

Starting in 1923, Loomis came under contract with the New York Public Library who hired him to photograph the five boroughs of New York City.

This was instrumental in chronicling the changing architectural landscape of the city and has become such a great resource for contemporary historians.

From the early 1920s until early the 1940s, Sperr’s on the street photography produced more than 40,000 photographs of the five boroughs of New York with the main focus on his home borough Staten Island.

The exhibition displays a group of photographs specifically depicting Queens’ colonial homesteads and Victorian mansions, farm and marsh landscape, and urban settings, many of which sadly do not exist anymore.

His work has become a living record of what Queens County looked like before it was transformed into how we know and experience it today.

The images are startling and breath-taking. Though there is a documentary perspective and intention, the photographs can also be analyzed through their atmospheric, and expressive qualities as well as their emphasis on pictorial composition and sensitivity towards light and shadow. This will be the first time that they will be presented through an artistic lens with the hope of bringing Sperr into consideration within the field of fine art.

Online and In Person Exhibit

Charles Dana Gibson: The American Trendsetter

Charles Dana Gibson: The American Trendsetter

This exhibition features Charles Dana Gibson (1867–1944), an American illustrator best known for his creation of the Gibson girl. Gibson was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts and moved to Flushing, Queens as a young child and grew up on 149th street (originally named Jagger) and Sanford. Items in this exhibition feature original books filled with illustrations by Gibson published in the turn of the century, canvas and paper prints, and photographs. The exhibition displays not only Gibson’s legacy but his close connections to Queens.

Coming from an old New England family, which included merchants, seamen, and artists, his artistic interest showed itself early in his life. Gibson’s father often cut silhouette figures to amuse his son which influenced the young Gibson to create his own drawings. At fourteen years old, his skill with scissors had become a local legend. This led him to obtain an apprenticeship with Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907), the notable American sculptor of the Beaux-Arts generation. During this apprenticeship, Gibson did not show an aptitude for sculpture and preferred to work on paper, leading him to his experimentation with pen and pencil. In 1883, Gibson enrolled in the Art Students League, NY at sixteen years old.

Eventually he developed an extensive portfolio which made its way in the New York City offices of Life magazine, a young humor magazine which began in 1883. By 1904, a contract with Collier’s weekly made him the highest paid illustrator in America, where collections of his drawings appeared periodically in a series of books that ran into many editions. Gibson studied in Paris briefly which contributed to the improvement of his drawings and inspiration to depict high society. By the 1890s, Gibson fashioned a new standard for romantic love, revival of chivalry, and beauty—the Gibson Girl. He became president of the Society of Illustrators during World War I, and served as the head of the Division of Pictorial Publicity under the Federal committee of Public Information.

In Your Neighborhood

Queens Pride Parade

Date: June 26th, 2021

Location: Virtual program on Youtube

June is Pride month, celebrating the LGBT community, and their long fight for rights. One of the most recognizable events during pride is the Pride Parade! First started in Manhattan in 1970, on the one year anniversary after the Stonewall Riots, it is by no means exclusive to Manhattan.

The Queens pride parade, in Jackson Heights, has been an annual event since 1993, and has its own history and community surrounding it. This program will take you on a tour of Jackson Heights, and the Lavender Line that runs down the parade route, as we talk about the history of the parade and the fight for recognition in Queens County.

This Recorded Event took place on June 26th and you are welcome to watch the recording along with us.

Come and learn about the past, and present of this annual tradition! We hope you enjoy!

(Photo Credit: Jeran Halfpap, The 2018 Pride Parade, Jackson Heights)

Many say their drink of choice is bubble tea — a flavored tea-based beverage, originally made in Taiwan, that is loaded with tapioca pearls or jellies. In Flushing, a medium cup of bubble tea costs around $5, compared to $4 for a grande mocha at Starbucks. As Flushing’s Chinese population grows, so does its bubble tea industry. According to a bubble tea shop owner in a recent Queens Daily Eagle interview, there are now more than 20 bubble tea stores in the neighborhood, including some recognizable brand names on both Chinese and American internet.

This exhibition compiles history and stories of the evolution of bubble tea on how this addictive beverage has gradually entered the world stage. And more importantly, how it has become a representative of the symbolic modern-day’s “subtle Asian trait” shared by young Asian Americans.

This exhibition Il Paese Vecchio features the unique stories, traditions, immigration history, and culture of mostly but not limited to the large Sicilian and Napolitan population who live in various areas in Queens. Many of these areas of southern-Italian microcosms still exist today and have kept their traditions, cuisine, and dialects. The exhibition focuses on experiences that span generations, from the Italian immigrants to their children.

Funding provided by Council Members Paul Vallone and, in part, by the Department of Cultural Affairs.

QHS Online Giftshop

Monthly Recommendations

*All Gift shop proceeds will help support QHS general operating expenses, as well as multilingual virtual programs. 

CLICK TO BUY: Flushing (Then And Now)
By: Jason AntosPrice: $22

Once a rural village of wide-open farms and estates, Flushing, New York transformed into a community of more than 200,000 people and quickly became one of the busiest neighborhoods in Queens. Flushing explores these dramatic changes with many never-before-seen images.

CLICK TO BUY: College Point (Images of America)
By: Victor LedererPrice: $20

College Point, New York evolved from a sleepy rural hamlet to a booming suburb in the mid nine-teeth century due to immigration and the industrial revolution.  College Point recounts this neighborhood’s colorful story through photographs and other illustrations from the collection of the Poppenhusen Institute, a community center founded in 1868.