Come on in!

Join the Boston Athenaeum

Ready to explore? Join us!

The Boston Athenaeum has been a unique destination for the curious for over 200 years. When you join the Athenaeum, you’ll have the distinction of belonging to a diverse community of lifelong learners dedicated to exploration, thought, and art.

Here, you’ll discover over 500,000 books, including 100,000 rare books, maps, and manuscripts. Our diverse collections include the old and new and numerous periodicals and newspapers. Book lovers, researchers, and the curious enjoy browsing the stacks or viewing original sources.

Enjoy the tactile experience of holding a treasured book or take advantage of an impressive selection of ebooks and audiobooks

Connect with people who share your passion for learning and the joy of great culture. Come to the gem in the heart of the city. Join the Boston Athenaeum.

Bring your curiosity and explore!

Becoming a member of the Boston Athenaeum community is to enter a world apart from the everyday.

Amazing Space – Stunning views of historic and modern Boston, classic architecture, and inviting desks and nooks for reading, work, and reflection. Our light-drenched living room spaces offer comfy chairs, game tables, a members’ kitchenette, and even private space for phone and video calls

Experience the Athenaeum – Explore a one-of-a-kind place with curated art selections from our extensive collections rehung and reimagined to reveal new facets of the Athenaeum. Take part in one of our stimulating and interesting programs to learn more about the Athenaeum and the world around us. Settle into a comfortable chair to embark on your next literary adventure.

Cultural events and exhibitions. Author talks, movie nights, lunchtime concerts, cocktail hours, lectures, and discussion groups on topics from detective novels to Shakespeare to play reading. Our dedicated gallery hosts art shows and exhibitions on handmade books and the Great Boston Fire.

An ever-growing art collection that includes paintings by John Singer Sargent and Gilbert Stuart, splendid lithographs from the 1800s, and modern painting and photography.

Go Further – Free or discounted tickets to 1200+ libraries and cultural institutions through NARM and ROAM ― from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, and The House of the Seven Gables in Massachusetts, The Frick Collection in NYC, and the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles are just a few of the notable institutions included.

Experience the Athenaeum

The best way to understand our uniquely beautiful and rich collections is to experience it.

  • Take a free 20-minute tour to learn what the Boston Athenaeum is and what membership offers. You’ll see the art, library, and cozy nooks and work spaces. We are offering drop-in tours every Monday and Wednesday, noon or 5:30 pm through October 11, 2023. Email with questions or to give us a heads up that you’re on your way.