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 Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM (excluding holidays).

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
Yellowed paper with silhouette of a woman on the left and a man on the right with a black and red logo in the middle.

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

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History Source
Collage of images. The largest image shows people standing in front of a house. The top right shows two people on horses. The bottom right has an image of a text document.

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

Underrepresented Communities
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
Color image of woman with long hair covered in green nose-to-nose with a lion.

MassArt at 150: Tradition and Innovation

Celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first independent publicly-funded art and design college in the United States. Learn more and visit in person.  

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