Fact Sheet

Location

1154 Boylston Street
Boston, MA  02215
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The MHS is housed in a National Historic Landmark building on the Fenway in Boston. It was designed by Edmund March Wheelwright and opened in 1899. The original building was expanded in 1948, and then again in 1970. Building systems and offices were renovated in 2004.

Mission Statement

The Massachusetts Historical Society is an independent research library that collects, preserves, makes accessible, and communicates manuscripts and other materials in order to promote the study of the history of Massachusetts and the nation--a mission it has pursued since 1791.

History

On 24 January 1791, the Reverend Jeremy Belknap invited nine like-minded Bostonians to join him in creating what they would call simply, "The Historical Society," now the Massachusetts Historical Society, the oldest organization in the United States devoted to collecting materials for the study of American history.

Collections

The Society’s collections encompass millions of rare and unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of American history—many of them irreplaceable national treasures.  Click here for a printable overview of the collections.

Programs

The MHS offers a wide variety of lectures, seminars, conferences, teacher workshops, public exhibitions, and tours.

Gallery Hours

Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Library Hours

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM
Tuesday from 9:00 AM to 7:45 PM
Saturday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Closed Sundays

Tours

Free and open to the public, the Society offers tours of its public rooms starting at 10:00 AM on most Saturdays. Parties of 8 or more should contact the MHS prior to attending a tour.  For more information please contact Curator of Art Anne Bentley at 617-646-0508 or abentley@masshist.org.

Admission

Free and open to the public. All ages are welcome in the galleries; library readers must be 16 years of age or accompanied by an adult.

Upcoming Events

Pauline Maier Early American History Seminar

Murder at the Manhattan Well: The Personal and the Political in the Election of 1800

19Nov 5:15PM 2019

In 1800, journeyman carpenter, Levi Weeks, was accused of murdering Guliema Sands, a young woman living in the same boarding house. Using the trial transcript, this paper ...

Conversation; Housing as History

Housing as History: New Directions for Boston’s Subsidized Housing: Learning from the Past

20Nov 6:00PM 2019
There will be a pre-talk reception at 5:30.

As neighborhoods across Boston face enormous development pressure, there is a risk that low-income residents will be forced out of the city. Social disruption due to ...

African American History Seminar

Mary Church Terrell’s Intersectional Black Feminism

21Nov 5:15PM 2019

Civil rights activist Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954) highlighted the intersections of race and sex in black women’s lives. This paper focuses on Terrell’s ...

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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