Community Collections: Like a Virgin: Madonnas and Madonna from the Collection of Kay Turner

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Virginlore_May Day veneration_early 20th century

The City Reliquary Museum presents
Like a Virgin: Madonnas and Madonna from the Collection of Kay Turner
On View Dec. 3, 2015 – Feb. 28, 2016

Beginning December 3, The City Reliquary will proudly feature the Community Collections display of images of the Virgin Mary from folklorist, artist, and Williamsburg resident Kay Turner. Turner has a long-term scholarly interest in representations of the Virgin and a consequent personal interest in images of the pop star Madonna. She is an expert in folk Catholic belief and has collected numerous images of the Virgin Mary in forms such as altar statues, planters, medallions, and even emblazoned on pillowcases and socks. Turner’s collection presents a powerful female figure beloved by believers and non-believers alike through the lenses of faith, art, fashion, and kitsch.

Turner will discuss her collection at the opening reception for this Community Collections display on Dec. 8 at 7 PM, the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Light refreshments will be served.

Kay Turner served as Folk Arts Director for the Brooklyn Arts Council from 2000 to 2014. Turner initiated numerous field research projects resulting in public programs such as Praise in the Park: Musical Expressions of Faith; Williamsburg Bridge 100th Anniversary Celebration; and Brooklyn Maqam: Arab Music Festival. Turner continues to teach as Adjunct Professor in the Performance Studies Graduate Program at New York University. She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore and Anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin. Among her publications are Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars (Thames and Hudson); I Dream of Madonna: Women’s Dreams of the Goddess of Pop (Harper Collins); and Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms (Wayne State University Press). Turner was recently elected President of the American Folklore Society (2016 – 2018). Turner, also a performer and musician, is currently at work on a book and performance project called What a Witch, a rethinking of the fairy tale witch in folklore and popular culture.

Collector’s Night 2015

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015


Collector’s Night 2015
Presented by The City Reliquary Museum
Hosted at Brooklyn Historical Society
Wednesday, December 2, 6:30 – 10 PM

The City Reliquary Museum is proud to present its annual Collector’s Night, a celebration of unique ephemera and those who curate it. Every year, collectors with a passion for amassing the unusual gather to present their objects and the fascinating stories behind them. This year we’ll meet at Brooklyn Historical Society on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 PM. Admission: $10, $5 for BHS and Green-Wood members. Beer generously provided by Brooklyn Brewery!

NelsonThe first part of the event presents the Treasures in the Trash collection of Nelson Molina, retired DSNY worker. We’ll begin with Kelly Adams’s One Man’s Trash (run time: 17 min.), first screened in the 2015 Margaret Mead Film Festival. Next, a discussion by Dr. Robin Nagle, DSNY Anthropologist-in-Residence and Director of the John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought, NYU. (Watch her in this TED talk!) We’ll end with a Q&A with Nelson Molina himself.


The second part of our event features…you! All collectors will give a brief show-&-tell of their displays. Confirmed displays include taxidermy and jarred animal specimens from Morbid Anatomy Museum guest lecturers; archival 16-mm cartoons; classic Broadway memorabilia & artifacts; unusual record formats; mutilated/altered US currency; and more! Cameo appearances by Paul Lukas and Harley Spiller, aka Inspector Collector.

Want to show off your own collection? Submit a form! We’ll accept submissions for table displays through November.

Questions? Contact us at or by phone at (718) R-U-CIVIC

Photo credit:
Ashtrays from “Treasures in the Trash”: James Mulry
Still from “One Man’s Trash” (dir. Kelly Adams): Kelly Adams
Mark Splatter’s Anole lizards in a jar: Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Ascenzi Square: Sons of Williamsburgh: The Family History of a Neighborhood Landmark

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

  Ascenzi Square and Metropolitan Avenue Street Signs

Ascenzi Square: Sons of Williamsburgh
The Family History of a Neighborhood Landmark
September 10, 2015 – January 10, 2016
Curated by Marion Ascenzi Duckworth Smith
Opening Reception (with light refreshments): Sunday, September 13th, 3 – 6 PM

Steps from The City Reliquary sits Ascenzi Square, an unassuming wedge of green space at the intersection of North 4th Street, Metropolitan Avenue, and Roebling Street. This site is often passed over in the daily chaos of the city. Few people use the sidewalk around the perimeter, and the space is often blocked from view by a car service lineup and ambulances from EMS Station 35. Yet it is a living tribute to the patriotism and sacrifice of four sons of Williamsburgh: the Ascenzi brothers who fought in World War I. Of the four, only two came home.

The City Reliquary will chronicle the Ascenzi family and Ascenzi Square through photographs and artifacts loaned by Marion Ascenzi Duckworth Smith, daughter to one of the surviving Ascenzi brothers, Charles. In illustrating the history of the memorial and the family it honors, the exhibit aims to illuminate an obscure part of Williamsburgh history.

Marion Ascenzi Duckworth Smith is a native of Williamsburgh. She now lives in the Lent-Riker-Smith Homestead, the oldest inhabited dwelling in New York City. Marion is also an avid collector and shared her collection of chalkware Snow White figures at the 2014 City Reliquary Collector’s Night.

The front room of the Reliquary will display “Tower Records” during this time. The closing reception for the current Community Collections display, “Joseph Kopitz’s Souvenir Buildings“, will also occur on Sept. 13.

Volunteer at the City Reliquary!

Monday, June 4th, 2012

I want YOU for the City Reliquary

The City Reliquary is looking for a few good men and women to help us staff the museum, support public programs and events, or take the lead on special projects of your choosing.

Love New York City? Think our museum is the bee’s knees? Have a high tolerance for people who use phrases like “bee’s knees”? Click on over to our volunteer page to learn more about who and what we’re looking for.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

On Saturday, July 30th, please join Crest Hardware from 3pm – 7pm in celebrating the closing of the 10th Annual Crest Hardware Art Show. There will be music, drinks and your last chance to view or purchase art.

Afterwards, head over to the Reliquary Museum to see the official presentation and donation of the money to the City Reliquary Museum. There will be cold beer (suggested donation) and hot jams. The fun starts at 7:30 at the Reliquary Museum.

Friday Night Lights: This week, Jungle Fever and the Ian Duerr Quartet

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

HOT HOT HOT: Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever & LIVE Jazz in the Backyard!

What could be better on a steamy, sultry, summer night than SEXY jazz paired with a provocative film—screened outdoors under the stars!

Tomorrow, Friday July 22, The City Reliquary Museum will host another installment of Friday Night Lights, our backyard music and film series.

There will be GIN COCKTAILS ($5 donation), Brooklyn Lager ($3 donation), and JAZZZZZ…

Doors @ 7:00 PM.

Ian Duerr Quartet @ 8:00 PM (Ian Duerr – guitar, Ian Stapp – bass, Arthur Vint – drums, Alex Berti – trumpet)

Jungle Fever @ 9:30 PM (Spike Lee)

Come if you can…..DOORS AT 7:30 PM.

Crest Fest 2011!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Crest Fest 2011 is coming to Williamsburg, this Saturday June 18th!

It’s the official launch party for the Crest Hardware Art Show!  Where will you be?  At Crest Hardware!  This year’s program will include a live music stage, two DJ booths, local, creative art and food vendors.

The group art show includes 100+ works from various artists of different mediums and will be installed throughout 10,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, including a 5,000 sq ft urban garden.  Plus, enjoy food from local vendors and live music performances by The Suzan, EMEFE, Gunfight! and Little Victory. DJ sets by FAT and EZ, Nick Catchdubs, Lucas Walters, Dom Rocket, Rok One, King Cut, Synapse, Peter Hale and Krunk Pony.

The fun starts at 1pm Saturday June 18th and goes until 7pm.  Its free!  And all proceeds and profits go to support the City Reliquary Museum.

Craft Night: Learn How to Make Your Own Terrarium on May 26

Monday, May 23rd, 2011


Craft Night returns to the City Reliquary on May 26. This Craft Night, Anna Grant will be teaching us how to make terrariums. For $5 you will be supplied with a plant, as well as materials to decorate your terrarium. Just be sure to bring your own glass container. And because it is the month of Bicycle Celebrations and Bicycle awesomeness, we will have tiny bicycles.

We’re asking five dollars for crafting supplies. Terrarium-ing will commence at 7pm and will run until 10pm. See you there!

Annual Brooklyn Bridge Bike Ride on May 24th!

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Happy 128th Birthday Brooklyn Bridge Bicycle Ride!
6-8pm; meet at the City Reliquary at 6pm
FREE! Yadda yadda donations.

Come on our yearly bicycle ride to celebrate the Brooklyn Bridge. We will ride from the CR to the Brooklyn Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, stop to sing her Happy Birthday and learn the story of her marvelous construction from licensed NYC tour guide Matt Levy. There will be birthday cake and milk. Afterwards we will repair to a Williamsburg bar to share our favorite Brooklyn Bridge stories.

BFD Is a BFD: Bicycle Fetish Day Returns on May 28th

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Bicycle Fetish Day 2011 is almost upon us!

Saturday May 28th, 2011
Havemeyer btwn Hope and Grand in BEAUTIFUL Williamsburg, Brooklyn, USA!

Its a block party for your bicycle!!

Once again, the City Reliquary pulls out all stops for the best block party ever. Be blown away by the participants and events scheduled for this Bike Fetish Day, on track to be the biggest one yet in our 7 years.

Featuring vendors: Vaya Bags, Outlier Clothing, Dargelos, Nona Varnado, Talia Lempert and more. With tables from Advocacy types like: Transportation Alternatives, Recycle-a-Bicycle (w/ bike jewelry making workshop), IOBY (w/ a fun activity), NAG, and Bike New York

Awesome activities will include: Pimp your bike photo booth by Swimming Cities, GoldSprints, Bike pinata from Llaves Designs, Alleycat organized by Victor

Prizes for various bike categories will feature:
Cyclist outfittery from Outlier Clothing
Bag from Vaya Bags
T-shirts and tickets from Bike Film Festival
Tune-up from 9th St. Cycles
A gift from Bike Habitat tbd
A gift from Velo Brooklyn tbd
A gift from Nona Varnado, AND MORE!!

Rude Mechanical Orchestra
DJs Stacher & Tinseltown

And food. With an after-party to follow at the City Reliquary , 6-10pm.

Dont miss the blowout bicycle party of the month!!!