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

Author Talk; Online Event

Laid Waste! The Culture of Exploitation in Early America

5Jun 2:00PM 2020
This is an online program

REGISTER HERE After humble beginnings as faltering British colonies, the United States acquired astonishing wealth and power as the result of modernization. Originating ...

Author Talk; Online Event

Books for Idle Hours: Nineteenth-Century Publishing and the Rise of Summer Reading

11Jun 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program

REGISTER HERE The publishing phenomenon of summer reading started in the nineteenth century, as both print culture and tourist culture expanded in the United States. ...

Conversation; Online Event

The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West

17Jun 5:30PM 2020
This is an online program.

REGISTER HERE Megan Kate Nelson reveals the fascinating history of the Civil War in the American West.Exploring the connections among the Civil War, the Indian wars, and ...

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

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