THE BOSTON ATHENÆUM is one of the oldest and most distinguished independent libraries and cultural institutions in the United States.
Founded in 1807, The Boston Athenæum’s mission is “to serve its members, the broader community, and scholars throughout the world by preserving and augmenting its collections of books and art, by providing library services and cultural programs, and by preserving and enhancing the unique atmosphere of its landmark building.”
Today the Boston Athenæum, with over 5,000 members, houses over half a million books, maps, and manuscripts, with particular strengths in Boston history, New England state and local history, biography, English and American literature, and the fine and decorative arts. It has one of the most historic and important collections of American art, prints, and photographs in the country, all housed in its historic building, a designated National Landmark. The Athenæum supports a dynamic exhibition program, and sponsors a wide variety of other events such as lectures, concerts, and tours. It also serves as a center for discussion among scholars, bibliophiles, and a variety of community groups.