MHS Response to COVID-19

Dear Friends,

We can’t wait to welcome you back to 1154 Boylston Street to explore our galleries, attend programs, and use the reading room! There are many factors involved in creating a safe environment for staff and visitors. We are taking the time to consider all of the aspects and our teams are working on a phased reopening approach that puts the safety of our staff and visitors first. While the MHS will remain closed to the public into 2021, our staff is hard at work—most in a remote capacity—planning online events, virtual exhibitions, and remote reference services. 

We are grateful to our community for their patience and support during this fluid situation and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to our building when we are able. Continue reading below to learn about our remote reference services and online programming. And please check our website and social media channels for additional updates.

All the best,

Catherine Allgor
MHS President

Reader Services

MHS library staff members are in the building and are available to remotely assist you with your research. Please don't hesitate to reach out for individualized assistance.

  • Reach a member of our reference team by calling 617-646-0532 and leaving a voicemail or by e-mailing A reference librarian will return your call or reply by email.
  • Take advantage of our new Virtual Reference and Chat Services to participate in a live chat with a reference librarian or request a face-to-face appointment via Zoom.
  • Reach a member of our reference team on Twitter @MHS1791_Ref or through the MHS Facebook page.
  • Consult with the reproductions coordinator regarding reproduction or publication/permission requests by calling 617-646-0532 and leaving a voicemail or by sending an e-mail to Due to high demand and restricted staff access to collections during the Covid-19 pandemic, the MHS has implemented temporary reference reproduction policies and pricing. Learn more at our Reference Reproductions during Closure.

Programs & Events

Though the MHS will not have any in-person programs or events until at least 2021, we do have a full slate of online author talks, panel discussions, workshops, seminars, and brown-bag lunch programs. Please visit our online calendar and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for program listings. Join our e-mail list to receive weekly e-mails with calendar information and timely updates.

Donate to the MHS Collection

We continue to actively add to our collection. Please contact the Vice President for Collections and review our collecting policy before sending any material.

MHS Staff & Facilities

All MHS employees continue to be compensated during the closure. While we are closed to the public, our staff remains hard at work answering research questions, providing digital content, and devising new ways to provide engaging content to our community.  Under the governor’s “safer at home” advisory, many of our staff members are working remotely. However, we have continuously monitored the security and maintenance systems of our building. A thorough cleaning is completed each week and staff continues to maintain the building every day.

Support the MHS

The generosity of our friends and community has sustained the MHS for more than 229 years, and today your support enables us to fulfill our mission to promote understanding of the history of Massachusetts and the nation by collecting and communicating materials and resources that foster historical knowledge. While the MHS remains closed to the public, limited staff members are on site to fulfill reference requests; catalog and digitize collections; and protect our building. Working remotely, we are offering an engaging and varied selection of online programs; building a virtual community of scholars; delivering online resources to educators; helping researchers with their work; providing access to our collections; and continuing to publish.  A gift to the MHS Fund not only helps to keep this work going but it will also enable us to reopen in a safe and responsible manner. Please consider supporting the MHS today.

Become a Member

Membership at the MHS is open to all. We welcome friends from near and far to join our community of history lovers. Learn more about our membership categories and join today!

We offer you a warm virtual welcome and look forward to when we can see you in person!

Upcoming Events

Author Talk; Online Event

Bank Notes and Shinplasters: The Rage for Paper Money in the Early Republic

7Dec 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

Before Civil War greenbacks and a national bank network established a uniform federal currency in the United States, loosely regulated banks saturated the early American ...

History of Women, Gender and Sexuality Seminar; Online Event

“To Make Her Own Bargains with Boats:” Gender, Labor, and Freedom in the Western Steamboat ...

8Dec 5:15PM 2020
This is an online program

Free and enslaved Black women have been rendered nearly invisible in the historical andpopular imagination of the antebellum steamboat world. This essay examines how ...

Online Event; Special Event

MHS Holiday Celebration

9Dec 6:00PM 2020
This is an online program

All are welcome to join us for this FREE virtual event! Lights and gatherings are an especially meaningful symbol of hope, celebration, warmth, and remembrance for many ...

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?