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Academic Group Visits

The Boston Athenæum happily welcomes academic groups to the library and to use the institution’s special collections for instructional purposes. Academic group visits cost

  • $5 per person for a docent-led tour of the building
  • $5 per person for a visit to special collections with a member of staff
  • $10 per person for a tour and a visit to special collections

To schedule a class visit, please refer to the guidelines below and complete the class request form. Contact Hannah Weisman, Director of Education, at 617-720-7617 or weisman@bostonathenaeum.org if you have questions about the scheduling process. 

Our special collections team is pleased to facilitate use of materials for instructors to teach classes on-site at the Boston Athenæum. Because the Athenæum does not have a dedicated staff of instructors, the organizing teacher or professor  must teach the class with guidance from the Athenæum’s staff.

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

Prior to a class visit:
  • Class visits must 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. 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 must 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:
  • Group size is limited to 10 students in the Prints and Photographs Room and to 15 students in the Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow Special Collections Reading Room.
  • Although an Athenæum curator or other staff person will be present, the teacher or professor of the group must teach the class.
  • The special collections staff can support a group’s learning goals by offering information such as: how books, documents, and artworks are selected for acquisition; how items in special collections are handled, cataloged, stored, and interpreted; and how the staff uses materials in research, exhibitions, and programming.
  • Boston Athenæum staff will have materials available in the appropriate special collections room on the day of the class visit. Special collections materials may only be handled by Athenæum staff.
  • The Boston Athenæum’s Guidelines for the Use of Special Collections apply to all students and instructors who participate in the class visit.

Please contact Hannah Weisman, Director of Education, at 617-720-7617 or weisman@bostonathenaeum.org if you have any questions.