July 1, 2020: Tours are suspended while we put in place new policies for opening the library safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please read our information page about the coronavirus, or contact the Membership team at 617-720-7604 or email@example.com with your questions. Thank you!
The Boston Athenæum offers a variety of tours and talks to help visitors and Members engage more deeply with the institution’s history, collections, and resources.
ART AND ARCHITECTURE TOURS
Open to the public
$2 plus admission / free for Members
Reservations are strongly recommended
Call Patron Services at 617-720-7612 to register
Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m.
Thursdays at 3:00 p.m.
Saturdays at 11:00 a.m.
These docent-led, hour-long tours focus on the architectural history of the Athenæum’s building and on the institution’s fine arts collection. The Athenæum’s current home—its fifth—opened in 1849 and has been expanded and renovated twice, once from 1913 to 1915 and again from 1999 to 2002.
Throughout its history the Athenæum has collected a range of materials, including rare books, manuscripts, works on paper, paintings, and sculpture, as well as an impressive circulating and reference collection. Docents discuss the wide range of special collections and feature selected artworks throughout the tour.
Tours are limited to 8 visitors and often sell out. We recommend making a reservation two weeks to a month in advance. Walk-ins are welcome on a first-come, first-served basis if space permits.
BUILDING ORIENTATION TOURS
For members only
Reservations are not necessary
Wednesdays and Saturdays at 12:00 p.m.
Designed for new members and current members who would like a refresher, these tours will introduce you to the Athenæum’s grand, historic building at 10½ Beacon Street and familiarize you with the various library and research services that are available to all members.
Tours begin at noon sharp. Please meet at the Circulation Desk on the first floor.
The Athenæum happily schedules private tours for groups of 5 to 20 people with a minimum of two weeks’ notice. Tours can be scheduled during public hours and are subject to the availability of docents. Private tours cost $10 per adult (ages 13 and up) and $5 per child (ages 5 to 12). Group visits to special collections can also be arranged for an additional fee.
UP CLOSE TOURS
These 30-minute discussion-based tours encourage visitors to look closely at materials from the Athenæum’s rich collections and consider them within a particular context.