Re-Reading Special Collections at the Boston Athenaeum

Re-Reading Special Collections at the Boston Athenaeum encompasses several permanent collection installations in our historic building, ranging from a long-term reinstallation of paintings and sculpture to short-term, focused exhibitions of light-sensitive items.

Re-Reading Special Collections reinterprets our National Historic Landmark building’s publicly-accessible first floor to reflect a more expansive view of American art and history across a range of media. The reinstallation focuses on the Henry Long Room, a large multi-functional area used as a permanent collection gallery, lecture hall, event space, and starting point for tours. By deploying archive-driven historical research and theoretically-informed interpretive frameworks, Re-Reading presents collections items with a critical eye toward the past. Showcasing a diverse array of rare books, works on paper, paintings, and sculptures, the installation brings a fresh perspective to lesser-known and beloved materials alike. This project was made possible by a Re-envisioning Permanent Collections Grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art.