What to Bring

All personal electronics brought into the library must be muted. Researchers using headphones with electronic devices must keep the volume at a level that is not disruptive to other researchers or the overall climate of the library. 

Computers

Researchers may bring laptop and tablet computers into the library. Computers must be removed from their cases and the cases must be stored in the lockers provided.

Computers will be inspected by a member of the library staff each time the computer is removed from the MHS reading room by the researcher.  

WiFi is available throughout the library.

Cameras

To allow researchers to create reference images of materials in our collections, cameras may be brought into the library. Camera cases must be stored in the lockers provided.

Researchers may photograph most materials in our collections. Materials protected by copyright and materials in collections with use specific restrictions may not be photographed. Researchers must speak to a member of the library staff and obtain a form before photographing any MHS owned material.

The camera's flash and all sounds must be turned off before use in the library. Tripods, lighting enhancements, and scanners (both flatbed and hand-held) are not permitted. At the discretion of the reference librarian these items can be used under direct supervision on an appointment basis. There is a $45.00 per hour set-up and supervisory fee. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please review our policy and contact the reference librarian.

Any requests to take photographs, in the reading room or by appointment, may be denied if doing so will jeopardize the safety of our collections or disrupt the climate of the library.  

Research Notes

If possible, researchers are strongly urged to bring personal notes in electronic form on a laptop or tablet computer. Researchers are not allowed to bring notebooks, folders, or loose leaf notepaper into the library. In situations when a researcher requires use of personal notes, the Reader Services staff will copy up to 20 pages of notes onto MHS approved paper for use in the library.

MHS Provided Materials

To facilitate researcher's work the MHS provides both lined and blank notepaper, index cards, and pencils for use in the library. The use of pens is not permitted. All notes will be checked by a Reader Services staff member upon exiting the reading room.

To assist with reading difficult manuscripts magnifying glasses are available upon request. Researchers requiring additional equipment to enhance accessibility (readers, more powerful magnifiers, etc.) should speak to the reference librarian prior to their visit to have the equipment approved for use in the library.

Personal Belongings

Researchers may not bring outside books or manuscript material into the library. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the reference librarian. All materials of this type will be subjected to inspection before being removed from the reading room.

Backpacks, briefcases, purses, computer or other bags, notebooks, binders, and outer clothing are not allowed in the MHS library. Free lockers are available to store personal property.

Outer clothing like sport coats, sweaters, and scarves may be worn in the reading room but, once removed, must be placed in a locker or hung in the coatroom. Loose clothing may not be draped on chairs or laid on workspaces in the reading room. 

Upcoming Events

History of Women and Gender Seminar

The "Woman Inventor" as a Political Tool of Female Suffragists: Patents, Invention, and Civil Rights ...

23Jan 5:30PM 2018
Location: Massachusetts Historical Society

After the Patent Act of 1790, patents played an important social and political role in the formation of American nationhood and citizenship. Part of a larger book ...

Conversation

Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Award & Reception

25Jan 6:00PM 2018
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

Please join us for a special evening in which Tamara Plakins Thornton will receive the 2017 Gomes Prize for Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers: How a 19th ...

MHS Tour

The History and Collections of the MHS

27Jan 10:00AM 2018

The History and Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society Tour is a 90-minute docent-led walk through our public rooms. The tour is free, open to the public, ...

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