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The Boston Athenaeum cannot reply to requests for appointments while closed for the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak and be aware that responses to digital requests may be slowed. We appreciate your patience.
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Please add readingroom@bostonathenaeum.org to your contacts or be sure to check your spam folder for your confirmation email, if you do not receive it within three days.

The Boston Athenæum welcomes members and guest researchers to make appointments to see special collections materials in the Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow Special Collections Reading Room. The automated request system Aeon replaces our online form, paper registration, and request slips. All researchers are required to create an account in order to use the reading room or order photographic reproductions.

Your Boston Athenæum Special Collections Appointment Account allows you to:

  • Request items directly through Athena our online catalog
  • Request items directly through our Digital Collections database
  • Save requests as you plan your research visit
  • Submit orders for reproductions
  • Track the status of request and access information on past requests

Before You Visit

  • Remember to bring a government-issued photo ID when visiting the Boston Athenæum 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

Be Aware:

  • Materials are available by appointment.
  • Access to some materials requires advance notice, so please make arrangements ahead of your visit, especially if you are traveling from a distance to do your research.
  • Materials cannot be pulled after 3 p.m.
  • For more information: https://www.bostonathenaeum.org/collections/research-appointment

Already Registered

Please note that Athenæum Aeon accounts must be updated on a yearly basis. You will be prompted automatically by the system to review and update your registration information if more than 365 days have passed since your account was created. After updating your information, you will be asked to present a valid, government-issued photo ID upon your next visit to the special collections reading room.