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.

Join our mailing list to be the first to know about exhibition openings, upcoming events, recent blog posts and much more.

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

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

Uniting the Boroughs: The Triborough Bridge

31 Chambers Street, Suite 110, NYC 10007

October 26, 2023 - June 2024

This exhibit is open to the public for free from 9am - 4:30pm, Monday - Friday.

Read our press release about the opening of this exhibit by clicking here!

Join the NYC Department of Records & Information Services and MTA Bridges and Tunnels for a celebration of the Triborough Bridge in our latest exhibit, Uniting The Boroughs, which explores the history of the bridge and its role in uniting Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens in a rapidly modernizing city.

Uniting the Boroughs focuses on the story of the evolving design and construction of the bridge, and the work of civil engineer Othmar Ammann to redesign the structure, overcoming multiple engineering difficulties to open in July, 1936, twenty years after its original conception. The exhibit uses original documents, photos and footage from the Municipal Archives and the Bridges and Tunnels’ Special Archive and includes a large model of the Triborough Bridge and surrounding areas commissioned in 1935. Uniting the Boroughs documents how the bridge contributed to the development of the city, including the history of Randalls and Wards Islands as parks. 

Virtual Exhibits

Ebb & Flow: Tapping into the History of New York City’s Water

In collaboration with the Museum of American Finance, we launched a new exhibit, titled Ebb & Flow: Tapping into the History of New York City’s WaterEbb & Flow explores the more than 200-year history of the city’s efforts to build one of the world’s finest water supply systems. The exhibit includes the fascinating story of how a private water company, founded by Aaron Burr in 1799, evolved into the largest bank in the United States today.

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Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives - A Pictorial History of Working People in New York City

The extraordinary efforts of ordinary people are visible during this pandemic as never before. Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives tells the stories of the men and women who built the City—of towering structures and the beam walkers who assembled them; of immigrant youths in factories and women in sweatshops; of longshoremen and typewriter girls; of dock workers and captains of industry. It provides a glimpse in to the traditions they carried with them to this country and how they helped create new ones, in the form of labor organizations that provided recent immigrants, often overwhelmed by the intensity of New York life, with a sense of solidarity and security.

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Public Record – Julia Weist

Julia Weist worked with the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS) as part of the Public Artists in Residence (PAIR), a municipal residency program that embeds artists in New York City government. During her residency at DORIS, Julia Weist researched the municipal government’s relationship to art and artists as documented in the City’s Archives, looking particularly at records featuring criteria for evaluating art, surveillance of individual artists, and notes on artists’ role in civic life. Weist used these findings as the foundation for a series of eleven photographic prints that comprise Public Record and then leveraged the City’s records retention procedures by transferring artwork created onsite to Pauline Toole, Commissioner of DORIS. As a result, the artwork became subject to the NYC Agency Head General Subject Files Retention and Disposition Series which required they be kept, processed, and made public according to regulations.

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Healthcare Workers in History

From the days of horse-drawn ambulance carriages and handwritten medical records, through the introduction of modern vaccines and medical technologies, the collections of the Municipal Archives document the history of healthcare in the City.  Our collections from the Department of Public Charities and Hospitals, Department of Health, Department of Public Charities and Correction’s Almshouse Ledger Collection, and others document the activities and methods of New York City’s doctors, nurses, and healthcare heroes as they confronted the many challenges a vibrant city presents.  By continuously adopting the latest tools and methods, the City’s medical staff has worked tirelessly to keep the public health.

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Department of Buildings - Architectural Plans and Drawings

The history of building regulation in New York City dates almost as far back as the city itself.  In 1625, the Dutch West India Company imposed rules regarding the types of structures that could be built and where they could be located.  In succeeding years, additional regulations were enacted that addressed fire hazards, as well as sanitary and public safety needs, but enforcement was inconsistent.  The Municipal Archives staff have recently worked to improve the conditions of the plans through conservation treatments and preservation housing.  The selections in the gallery here present a unique view of the varied types of plans in this collection.

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