Mission and Vision Statements

Mission Statement

The Massachusetts Historical Society is an independent research library that collects, preserves, makes accessible, and communicates manuscripts and other materials in order to promote the study of the history of Massachusetts and the nation-a mission it has pursued since 1791.

Vision Statement

The Massachusetts Historical Society is committed to the principle that public knowledge of the nation's past is fundamental to its future. As an independent research library, now in our third century, we remain true to our vision of building a future for our past.

In renewing this commitment for the twenty-first century, we will establish and maintain the highest scholarly and professional standards in all of our activities, and we will pursue national recognition and support for the Society's crucial role in the understanding of American history.

The Society will remain a center for collecting, research, scholarship, and publishing. At its heart, the MHS is a manuscript repository holding extraordinary collections of personal papers, not only of three presidents--John and John Quincy Adams and Thomas Jefferson--but of thousands of individuals and families; these papers document the entire course of American history. We will continue to add to our holdings and acquire new collections. Traditional library activities as well as digital initiatives will underpin the fulfillment of our mission. We will provide the public with an expanded array of programs and materials, offered through a variety of means, to enhance the understanding of our nation's past and its connection to the present day. We will continue to find creative ways to reach the next generation of learners by making positive contributions to the teaching of history.

To realize this vision, the MHS will secure sufficient funding and staffing to support its operations and technology infrastructure and to ensure its long-term financial health. The Society will continue to safeguard its extraordinary collections and improve and protect its historic landmark building. Staff will receive appropriate compensation and opportunities for professional development and will work in an environment that encourages and values collaboration.

We welcome everyone to support our mission, use our resources, take part in our programs, and become a member.

Read the Strategic Plan Summary