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Academic Group Visits


$5 per person
Reservations required

The Boston Athenæum happily welcomes primary, seconday, and post-secondary schools to use the institution’s special collections for instructional purposes.

Class visits can be held in person at the Athenæum or virtually via Zoom and include an tour of the Athenæum (building, history, and collections), an exploration of materials from the Athenæum's remarkable special collections, or both. Our staff work with educators to select items from special collections and create activities based on those items to meet the learning goals of the visit.

Adherence to the following guidelines will help ensure that academic groups have a successful experience:

Prior to a virtual class visit:
  • Class visits should be scheduled at least 4 weeks in advance. Every effort will be made to accommodate preferred time and date, but scheduling is subject to the availability of relevant staff members.
  • The class instructor should meet with the relevant Boston Athenæum staff person at least 2 weeks prior to the class to go over learning goals and select appropriate materials for the class. Meetings may be held in person, by phone, or by video call. Instructors are encouraged to search the Boston Athenæum’s catalog prior to this meeting to identify material of interest. Reference librarians are happy to assist instructors with catalog searches, but instructors are encouraged to register in the Athenæum’s Special Collections system, search the online catalog, and submit requests for materials through that system. 
  • Every effort will be made to provide access to the desired materials. However, fragile materials, materials being processed, or other restrictions may limit the availability of some materials.
Class visit:
  • The teacher or professor of the group facilitates the class unless otherwise arranged in advance with the Athenæum's Director of Education.
  • The Athenæum hosts virtual class visits on Zoom. If a school mandates the use of its own video conferencing platform, the teacher or professor should make arrangements with the Director of Education at least 2 weeks in advance.

To schedule an in-person or virtual class visit, complete the class request form or contact Hannah Weisman, Director of Education, at 617-720-7617 or



Available for students in grades 8 and up
Reservations required

Teachers and professors may assign a research appointment at the Athenæum as homework. Our staff work will work with you to schedule individual appointments for students, select up to five items from special collections for students to consult, and develop related activities or guiding questions. BA staff supervise and support students in handling and working with rare and archival materials.

COVID-19 requires additional safety precautions. Students should assess their health and stay home if feeling unwell. They must wear masks covering mouth and nose at all times in the library, maintain safe physical distance of six feet from others, and wash their hands before entering the special collections reading room. Only three people at a time, including the staff supervisor, are permitted in the special collections reading room at one time.

Read more information about the library's safety precautions on our COVID-19 Response & Reopening page.

To schedule research appointments for your students, contact Hannah Weisman, Director of Education, at 617-720-7617 or