Last updated: 5/31/2021
Boston, Massachusetts
Address
10½ Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
phone: 617-227-0270
e-mail: events@bostonathenaeum.org
web: bostonathenaeum.org/
Hours
Monday - Thursday9 AM - 8 PM
Friday - Saturday9 AM - 5 PM
Staff
Mission

The mission of the Boston Athenæum is to engage all who seek knowledge by making accessible our library’s collections and spaces, thereby inspiring reflection, discourse, creative expression, and joy.

History

Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenæum is one of the most distinguished independent libraries and cultural institutions in the United States.

The new Athenæum flourished in culture-starved Boston and, as it voraciously acquired books, art, and artifacts, it grew rapidly. In 1827, it added an Art Gallery and began a series of yearly exhibitions of American and European art. For nearly half a century the Athenæum was the unchallenged center of intellectual life in Boston, and by 1851, had become one of the largest libraries in the United States.

Today its collections comprise over half a million volumes, with particular strengths in Boston history, New England state and local history, biography, English and American literature, and the fine and decorative arts. The Athenæum supports a dynamic exhibition program and sponsors a lively variety of events such as lectures and concerts. It also serves as a stimulating center for discussions among scholars, bibliophiles, and a variety of community-interest groups

Library

Reference Department

Reference librarians and the main reference collection are located on the second floor of the Athenæum. We are happy to assist members whether researching an extensive scholarly project, learning how to use Athena, (the Athenæum's online catalog), curious about an obscure fact, or looking for a cozy mystery to read over the weekend.

Circulation Desk

The Circulation Desk at the Boston Athenæum is located on the first floor, just beyond the Security Desk. Here members may check out and return books, reserve books, sign up for Art & Architecture Tours or meet for New Member Tours, and ask for help finding books. Gift shop items may also be purchased at the Circulation Desk.

Access: General Public, Students, Scholars, Members

Appointment required: No

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MUSEUM CONFERENCES
Saturday, March 11 - Tuesday, March 14, 2023 — Harrisonburg, Virginia
Virginia Association of Museum's 2023 Annual Conference!
Harrisonburg, Virginia
Tuesday, March 14 - Friday, March 17, 2023 — Memphis, Tennessee
2023 Tennessee Association of Museums Conference: Unfinished Revolutions
Memphis, Tennessee
Sunday, April 23 - Wednesday, April 26, 2023 — San Antonio, Texas
Texas Association of Museums 2023 San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
Wednesday, April 26 - Friday, April 28, 2023 — New Orleans, Louisiana
Association of Children’s Museums’ 2023 InterActivity Conference
New Orleans, Louisiana
Friday, June 23 - Thursday, June 29, 2023 — ,
2023 American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago
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Monday, August 21 - Friday, August 25, 2023 — Saco, Maine
ASSOCIATION OF NATURE CENTER ADMINISTRATORS 2023 ANNUAL SUMMIT
Saco, Maine
Wednesday, September 6 - Saturday, September 9, 2023 — Boise, Idaho
2023 Am Assoc for State and Local History Annual Conference
Boise, Idaho