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

How to Be an American Housewife: American Red Cross “Bride Schools” in Japan in the Cold War Era

22Jan 5:30PM 2019
Location: Massachusetts Historical Society

In 1951, the American Red Cross in Japan began offering “schools for brides,” to prepare Japanese women married to American servicemen for successful entry ...

Biography Seminar

Writing Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

24Jan 5:30PM 2019

Join us for a conversation with David Blight about the challenges of writing his biography of Frederick Douglass, the fugitive slave who became America's greatest orator ...

Modern American Society and Culture Seminar

Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969

29Jan 5:15PM 2019

Uncertainty about media technology’s affective and political power plagued post-World War II efforts to expand media use in schools around the nation. Would ...

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Images of the 1925 bombing of Damascus

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“Light, airy, and genteel”: Abigail Adams on French Women

When Abigail Adams arrived in France in August 1784, she must have felt like she had just landed on the moon. In all 39 years of her life, Abigail had never been south of Plymouth, north of Haverhill, ...

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