Fact Sheet

Location

1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA  02215
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The MHS is housed in a National Historic Landmark building on the Fenway in Boston. It was designed by Edmund March Wheelwright and opened in 1899. The original building was expanded in 1948, and then again in 1970. Building systems and offices were renovated in 2004.

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.

History

On 24 January 1791, the Reverend Jeremy Belknap invited nine like-minded Bostonians to join him in creating what they would call simply, "The Historical Society," now the Massachusetts Historical Society, the oldest organization in the United States devoted to collecting materials for the study of American history.

Collections

The Society’s collections encompass millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history—many of them irreplaceable national treasures.  Click here for a printable overview of the collections.

Programs

The MHS offers a wide variety of lectures, seminars, conferences, teacher workshops, public exhibitions, and tours.

Gallery Hours

Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Library Hours

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM
Tuesday from 9:00 AM to 7:45 PM
Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Closed Sundays

Tours

Free and open to the public, the Society offers tours of its public rooms starting at 10:00 AM on most Saturdays. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Admission

Free and open to the public. All ages are welcome in the galleries; library readers must be 16 years of age or accompanied by an adult.

Upcoming Events

The Irish Atlantic

The Mission of the Jamestown

27Mar 6:00PM 2017
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30pm.

The Irish Atlantic Series As news of the Irish Famine made its way across the Atlantic, the citizens of Boston rallied to help. In 1847, a relief mission was organized ...

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar; The Irish Atlantic

Moving News, Affecting Relief: The Irish Famine’s Trans-Atlantic Circulations

28Mar 5:15PM 2017

The ships that carried Irish famine victims across the Atlantic also carried tragic accounts of those left behind; in response, North Americans sent millions of dollars ...

Brown Bag

An Actor’s Tale: Theater, Culture, and Everyday Life in Nineteenth-Century U.S. America

29Mar 12:00PM 2017

Hughes will discuss her monograph-in-progress, inspired by the diary of U.S. actor Harry Watkins (1825-1894). In “An Actor’s Tale,” she deploys ...

From our Blog

This Week @ MHS

Even though March is on its way out, it seems bent on imposing its will. Escape the late-winter bluster in the week ahead with some history: - Monday, 27 March, 6:00PM : First up this week is a ...

Gertrude Codman Carter’s Diary, March 1917

Today we return to the 1917 diary of Gertrude Codman Carter. You may read the previous entries here: Introduction | January | February All but the last page of March 1917 is sliced out of the diary; ...

Read more from our blog

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