Visit the Coney Island History Project under the Wonder Wheel!
Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the Coney Island History Project has postponed walking tours, visits to our exhibition center, events at schools and senior centers, and in-person oral history interviews until further notice. In order to maintain appropriate social distancing while continuing to engage with our community, our staff is recording oral histories from home via phone, Zoom, and Skype, and creating new virtual exhibits. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Now more than ever we encourage you to browse the Coney Island History Project's website, which in addition to our Oral History Archive includes our new Podcast, Ask Mr. Coney Island, selections from our Collection, and Coney News and Hall of Fame. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to learn about Coney Island's legendary and colorful past and the Coney Island community of today.
We look forward to welcoming visitors to the Coney Island History Project exhibition center again soon. In the meantime, please stay safe and take care.
We’re thrilled to be celebrating the Coney Island History Project's 16th anniversary and Deno's Wonder Wheel's centennial in 2020! Since the History Project's inception in 2004 with a portable recording booth on the Boardwalk, followed by the opening of the Coney Island Hall of Fame in 2005 and the inaugural season of our exhibition center under the Cyclone in 2007, we have proudly offered "Free Admission for One and All!" at our exhibits and special events.
In 2011, the History Project continued that tradition when we moved from the Cyclone to our new exhibition center in Deno's Wonder Wheel Park. We are grateful to the Vourderis family for inviting us to set up history exhibits in locations around their park, and to the Albert family for their ongoing support as the History Project continues its mission of recording oral histories with people who have lived, worked, and played in Coney Island.
The Coney Island History Project's exhibition center is located on West 12th Street at the entrance to Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, just a few steps off the Boardwalk. View historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films of Coney Island's colorful past. The History Project is open weekends and holidays from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day from 1-7pm. We also open on Palm Sunday (April 5th in 2020) which is Coney Island's opening day of the season, and Easter Sunday (April 12) from 1-6pm. Admission is free of charge.
Visitors are invited to take free souvenir photos with Coney Island's only original Steeplechase horse, from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name, and the iconic Cyclops head from Deno's Wonder Wheel Park's Spook-A-Rama, Coney Island's oldest dark ride. Among the treasures on display at the Coney Island History Project’s exhibit center this season is Coney Island’s oldest surviving artifact from the dawn of the “World’s Playground.” The 1823 Toll House sign dates back to the days when the toll for a horse and rider to “the Island” was 5 cents! Today, the nearly two century old sign is often described as Coney Island's "first admission ticket."
The Coney Island History Project's special exhibition for the 2020 season will celebrate the 100 year history of the Wonder Wheel.
In addition, the Coney Island History Project offers year-round weekend walking tours which begin with a tour of the exhibit center including a talk about the objects on display. Tours are based on History Project director Charles Denson's award-winning book Coney Island: Lost and Found, the interviews from CIHP’s Oral History Archive, and other primary sources. Visit our online reservation site to see the walking tour schedule and purchase advance tickets online. If you have a question or to arrange a private visit or group tour, please e-mail events[AT]coneyislandhistory[DOT]org.
We're also open year-round by appointment to record interviews with people who have lived, worked or played in Coney Island for our Oral History Archive. Throughout the year, we conduct cultural enrichment programs at schools and senior centers in the community.
The Coney Island Project is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York City Councilman Mark Treyger; Humanities New York and the National Endowment for the Humanities; the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the Museum Association of New York; and our members and contributors. Printed materials made possible with funds from the Destination: Brooklyn Program, funded by the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and NYC & Company Foundation, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council.