Whaling Log

Research Appointments

Make an appointment to view our special collections.

The Boston Athenaeum’s Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow Special Collections Reading Room is available for appointments:

  • Tuesdays 1 – 7 pm
  • Wednesdays through Fridays, 10 am – 4 pm

Requests for rare materials must be made in advance. All researchers must register online and request items before arrival.

The Special Collections Reading Room is intimate with limited space. Request your appointment as early as you can.

You can request items directly from our online catalog and from our digital collections.

If you cannot find an item in the catalog, please consult a reference librarian, or items may be requested manually through the Boston Athenaeum Special Collections Requests form. After you login, click on “New Requests” and manually fill in author, title, call number, etc. All requests for appointments are confirmed by email.

What to expect when you arrive

  • Remember to bring a government-issued photo ID when visiting our special collections.
  • You will be asked to place coats, umbrellas, briefcases, laptop cases, and large bags in self-serve lockers.
  • No bags of any kind or coats are allowed in the Vershbow Special Collections Reading Room.
  • Turn off the sound on all devices like smartphones, tablets, etc.
  • Dispose of food and drink before entering the building.

Paintings & Sculpture

Requests to view paintings and sculpture require permission from the appropriate curator. Please email specialcollections@bostonathenaeum.org.

Scans & Permissions

If you do not need to study an item and need only to request a reproduction, you may make requests directly through Scans & Permissions Request page.