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Take a Tour

We offer public and private virtual tours that feature the landmark building and collections. Schedule a virtual field trip for your class or a private tour for your family or company. Or join us at any of our upcoming public tours:

Tuesday, May 18 at 5 pm ET  | Carvings and Quandaries  | Reserve

Thursday, May 20 at 5 pm ET | Art and Architecture | Reserve

Wednesday, May 26 at 11 am ET | Athena at the Athenæum | Reserve

Read tour descriptions below.

VIRTUAL ART AND ARCHITECTURE TOURS 

Free and open to the public
Reservations required

Next tour: Thursday, May 20 at 5 pm ET with Maureen Marcucci | Make your reservation

"I felt as though I was transported to the center of Boston for that tour. It was so perfect! I forgot I was sitting at my desk looking at my 19" computer screen--I was IN the building!!"

Join a BA docent for a virtual tour of the library's historic landmark building, including inspiring views of its reading rooms and an introduction to its history and remarkable collections. Whether you are new to the Athenæum or a member who frequents the building, the stories are sure to fascinate you.

Upcoming tours:

Thursday, May 20 at 5 pm ET with Maureen Marcucci | Make your reservation
Saturday, June 12 at 10 am ET with Clive Martin | Make your reservation
Thursday, June 17 at 5 pm ET with Maureen Marcucci | Make your reservation
Saturday, July 10 at 10 am ET with Carolyn Hilles-Pilant
Thursday, July 15 at 5 pm ET with Carolyn Hilles-Pilant
Saturday, August 14 at 10 am ET with Clive Martin
Thursday, August 19 at 5 pm with Carolyn Hilles-Pilant

VIRTUAL UP CLOSE TOURS

Free and open to the public
Reservations required

Next tour: Carvings and Quandaries | Tuesday, May 18 at 5 pm ET with Carolyn Hilles-Pilant, Make your reservation

Upcoming tours:

Athena at the Athenæum | Wednesday, May 26 at 11 am ET | Make your reservation
Artist-Reporter Allan Rohan Crite | Tuesday, June 15 at 5 pm ET | Make your reservation
Carvings and Quandaries | Wednesday, June 23 at 11 am | Make your reservation
Two Giants | Tuesday, July 20 at 5 pm ET
Carvings and Quandaries | Wednesday, July 28 at 11 am ET
Athena at the Athenæum | Tuesday, August 17 at 5 pm ET
Carvings and Quandaries | Wednesday, August 25 at 11 am ET

Up Close Tours encourage visitors to look closely at materials from the Athenæum’s rich collections and consider them within a particular context.  See below for descriptions of each Up Close Tour.

Artist-Reporter Allan Rohan Crite

Join Boston Athenæum Docent Phoebe Morse for an introduction to the life and work of Allan Rohan Crite. The tour will discuss how Crite's use of vivid colors, painterly lines, and attention on recognizable places and people create dynamic views of everyday life. Explore several of Crite's paintings and drawings to discover how his images of his neighbors in Boston's predominantly Black South End and Roxbury neighborhoods in the 1930s and 1940s earned him national recognition and a reputation as an astute biographer.

Athena at the Athenæum

"My interest in Athena has been enhanced and now warrants further study."

Join Boston Athenæum Docent Clive Martin for a discussion of the Goddess of Wisdom's presence in our library and her place in the ancient world, beginning with the towering sculpture of Athena and the monumental head of Zeus that grace the Athenæum's lobby.

Carvings and Quandaries

"Made me want to revisit the Athenæum, specifically to focus on the sculptures."
"Fascinating topic; excellent and lively presentation, well researched, and presented with a charming sense of humor."

Join Boston Athenæum Docent Carolyn Hilles-Pilant for an exploration of the life and work of Horatio Greenough and Thomas Crawford, two American Neoclassical sculptors who expatriated to Italy in the early nineteenth century despite quarantines and other misadventures. The politics and popular aesthetics of their day provide a context for understanding the importance of these artists to their time, as well as ours. The tour will spotlight three sculptures in the Athenæum's collections: Venus Vitrix and Judgement of Paris by Greenough and Adam and Eve by Crawford.

Two Giants

Upon stepping into the lobby of the Athenæum, visitors are welcomed by two giant portraits depicting two giants of American history: US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall and statesman and orator Daniel Webster. Preeminent nineteenth-century portraitist Chester Harding, whose home and studio were next door to the Athenæum, completed both Grand Manner paintings. Join Docent Clive Martin as he introduces you to the artist and his subjects, and shares the story of how these impressive paintings came to be at the Athenæum.

 

VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS

$5 per person
Reservations required

We are pleased to offer virtual class visits for primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools via Zoom. Your virtual field trip may include a tour of the Athenæum's historic landmark building, a live presentation of materials from special collections, or both. We will work with you to tailor an experience to your group's specific needs, including selecting materials from special collections and designing activities or guiding questions for studying the materials.

Contact Director of Education Hannah Weisman at weisman@bostonathenaeum.org or 617-720-7617 to schedule your visit.

 

VIRTUAL GROUP TOURS

$10 per person
Reservations required

We are pleased to offer private virtual tours of the library via Zoom to groups of all kinds. Your virtual group tour may include a tour of the Athenæum's historic landmark building, a live presentation of materials from special collections, or both. We will work with you to tailor an experience to your group's specific needs.

Contact Director of Education Hannah Weisman at weisman@bostonathenaeum.org or 617-720-7617 to schedule your visit.

 

CCAuto-generated captions are available for all tours. To request live captions or other accommodations for any virtual tour or group visit, contact Director of Education Hannah Weisman at weisman@bostonathenaeum.org or 617-720-7617 at least four business days prior to the program.