10 1/2 Beacon St.
Boston, MA 02108
Founded in 1807, the Boston Athenæum is located at 10½ Beacon Street on Beacon Hill. A distinguished membership library and cultural institution with a long history at the center of intellectual life in Boston, the Athenæum hosts events nearly every week of the year and supports a dynamic exhibition program. It desires to be a place that is welcoming to all, a place that nurtures a sense of wonder and delight in sharing the joy of physical books, maps, prints, and other works of art, and a place that fosters community and civil discourse as members and guests engage in face-to-face interactions.
The Athenæum’s collections are housed within a National Historic Landmark that is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. The reading rooms—crowned by the silent, barrel-vaulted fifth floor—have served as a haven and inspiration to countless writers and researchers. The library maintains over 600,000 volumes with strengths in history, biography, and literature, as well as fine and decorative arts. Notable holdings include primary materials on the American Civil War; the largest portion of President George Washington's library from Mount Vernon; a first edition copy of Audubon's The Birds of America; a 1799 set of Goya's Los caprichos; one of the most extensive collections of contemporary artists' books in the United States; and numerous artworks, including portraits of notable Americans such as Hannah Adams, John Marshall, and Alexander Hamilton, and by artists such as Gilbert Stuart, John Singer Sargent, Allan Rohan Crite, and Polly Thayer Starr. Membership is open to all, and visitors are warmly welcomed Tuesdays through Saturdays.