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

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 first 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.  The collections are available to all in person, online, and through exhibitions and programs. Learn more

Programs

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

Gallery Hours

The MHS galleries are currently closed to the public in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Learn more about our online offerings and latest updates.

Library Hours

Beginning on 7 September 2021, the MHS library will reopen to the public for onsite research visits. To protect the health of researchers and staff amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the MHS Library has implemented the following temporary policies:

  • The library will open Monday - Friday, 10:00 AM to 4:45 PM. 
  • Research will be by appointment only. Please use our Appointment Request Form to select your preferred visit dates.  
  • Appointment requests must be made by 2:00 PM on Thursday of the previous week.
  • Researchers must provide proof of full FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccination prior to arriving at the MHS. 
  • A well-fitted mask covering the nose and mouth must be worn.

We are committed to providing all researchers with access to our collections and will continue to offer expanded reference and reproduction services. Researchers who are unable to visit the MHS at this time are encouraged to explore our virtual reference options and reproductions services.  

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.