Fact Sheet

Location

1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA  02215
View map

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

To promote understanding of the history of Massachusetts and the nation by collecting and communicating materials and resources that foster historical knowledge.

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, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Tuesday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Saturday from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Closed Sundays

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

Online Event; Seminar; Environmental History Seminar

Climate in Words and Numbers: How Early Americans Recorded Weather in Almanacs

9Mar 5:15PM 2021
This is an online event.

As we begin to consider climate as an everyday problem, it's valuable to see how people did that in the past. With support from the Guggenheim Foundation, Joyce Chaplin ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: Redlining: From Slavery to $8 in 400 Years

11Mar 6:00PM 2021
This is an online program

In 2015, the Boston Federal Reserve found the median net worth for Black families in Boston was $8, in stark contrast to $250,000 for white families. This discrepancy is ...

Author Talk; Online Event

The Hunt for History: On the Trail of the World’s Lost Treasures—from the Letters of Lincoln, ...

15Mar 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

Nathan Raab describes his years as the Sherlock Holmes of historical artifacts and he shows us what the past can tell us about the present. Raab shares some ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

Read more from our blog

Have you seen?