Visiting the Library

The Massachusetts Historical Society's library operates differently than most public or university libraries. While we strive to provide researchers with access to the contents of all our collections, the preservation of our unique materials is our primary concern. To that end, we enforce strict security protocols. Explore the pages in this section in order to become familiar with library policies and procedures so that you can make the most of your visit to the library.  

What to Expect

Prepare for your first visit by learning about Portal1791 (our online request system), the researcher registration process, how to request materials, and basic security policies.

What to Bring

Learn what personal materials are allowed into the library and what materials the MHS provides for researchers.

How to Prepare

Find advice on where to begin your research, how to search the MHS catalogs, and how much time you will need to complete your research. 

Upcoming Events

Conversation; Housing as History

Housing as History: the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and Orchard Gardens

13Nov 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

By the 1980s the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury was facing significant challenges. Absentee landlords had allowed property to deteriorate, left units vacant, or ...

Conversation

Atlas of Boston History

14Nov 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

Few American cities possess a history as long, rich, and fascinating as Boston’s. The Atlas of Boston History traces the history of Boston from late prehistoric ...

Conversation; Legacies of 1619

Legacies of 1619: Black Radicalism / Black Power

16Nov 4:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 3:30.

Facing the hegemonic force of slavery, discrimination, and disenfranchisement, communities of color have resisted and presented radical models of empowerment. Along with ...

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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