MHS Features

front of the Massachusetts historical society building

Making the Past Last

Founded in 1791, the Massachusetts Historical Society is an invaluable resource for American history, life, and culture. Its extraordinary collections tell the story of America through millions of rare and unique documents, artifacts, and irreplaceable national treasures. etc.

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Who We Are
chat with a reference librarian


Communicate with the MHS library staff through a live chat session. To initiate, click on the "Ask a librarian" link, submit your question in the chat box, and the first available librarian will respond. The service is available Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 10 AM to 4 PM; Tuesdays from 1 PM to 7 PM; and Fridays from 10 AM to 1 PM.

Ask a librarian

Chat With a Reference Librarian


The extraordinary collection of the MHS provides an unparalleled record of American history and is enjoyed by scholars and the public alike. There are millions of rare and unique documents, artifacts, and irreplaceable national treasures. Along with many famous documents such as Paul Revere's own account of his famous ride, the collection contains accounts of the lives of thousands of ordinary Americans.

Explore our collections

1776 coin


Support the MHS to promote the study of American history and deepen our understanding of the diverse stories that define our nation's past. Help make the MHS a place where history happens. 

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Support The MHS
kids at a conference

National History Day

National History Day (NHD) in Massachusetts is a year-long interdisciplinary program focused on historical research, interpretation, and creative expression for students in grades 6-12.

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National History Day
revolution 250, 1776 - 2026


Revolution 250 is a collaborative effort aimed at commemorating the 250th anniversaries of events leading up to America’s independence from Great Britain. More than 40 Massachusetts non-profit organizations, businesses, and government agencies are working together to explore the history of the American Revolution and the ways that this story still resonates 250 years later.

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Revolution 250
covid-19 post-it notes


Years from now historians will research the impact of the COVID-19 virus. In order to have first-person accounts of daily life during this extraordinary time, the MHS invites you to contribute your experience(s) to our collection.

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Your Covid-19 Experiences
presidential signatures

Presidential Papers

The MHS holds the largest collection of Thomas Jefferson’s private papers including more than 400 architectural drawings as well as many other valuable presidential papers and artifacts from throughout United States history. This includes hundreds of letters written by every U.S. president through George H.W. Bush. 

Explore our presidential papers

Presidential Papers
a letter from the adams family papers collection


The Adams Family Papers are the most comprehensive and historically complete family collection held by an American cultural institution, public or private. In addition to illuminating the family story, the documents offer valuable insights to the political, social, and cultural fabric of American society.

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Adams Family Papers
History Source logo with two silhouette images facing each other

History Source

Source sets highlighting the diverse voices of the ordinary and extraordinary people who changed Massachusetts and the nation. Explore the site

our favorite things

Our Favorite Things

Connecting a selection of compelling, captivating, and amusing items from our collection to the backgrounds, interests, and memories of the MHS staff. Visit in person and explore online.  

Collage of images. Large photo on left side shows students standing outside of a school building. Photo in upper right corner shows two individuals on horseback. Broadside in lower right corner has black printed text.

Underrepresented Communities Web Portal

Showcasing MHS collections and resources documenting individuals and communities who have traditionally been unrepresented in the historical record. Explore the site.

History Source
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Our Favorite Things
[ Online Exhibition ]
Underrepresented Communities
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We promote understanding of the history of Massachusetts and the nation by collecting and communicating materials and resources that foster historical knowledge.


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Upcoming Events

A world where historical understanding is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy.


Our Vision | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion