The Boston Athenæum, a membership library, first opened its doors in 1807. Its rich history as a library and cultural institution has been well documented in the annals of Boston’s cultural life. Today, it remains a vibrant and active institution that serves a wide variety of members and scholars. With more than 600,000 titles in its book collection, the Boston Athenæum functions as a public library for many of its members, with a large and distinguished circulating collection, a newspaper and magazine reading room, quiet spaces and rooms for reading and researching, a children’s library, and wireless Internet access throughout its building.
The first floor and exhibition galleries are open to the public. All other floors are open to members only, however, they can be viewed on one of the weekly Art and Architecture Tours.
To ensure the security and maintain the integrity of the Athenæum’s collections, photography of any kind is not permitted within the Boston Athenæum. Unsolicited requests for permission to photograph within the building, whether made by amateur or professional photographers, cannot be accommodated.
Members are allowed to bring a well behaved dog on a leash into the Athenæum. Pets are NOT permitted, however, in the Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery at any time.