Massachusetts Historical Society


Open to All

The library is free and open to the public, welcoming researchers of all ages and experience levels. The library does not lend materials, but anyone wishing to view the collections can register as a researcher through our Portal1791 online request system, schedule appointments, and use materials in the library. In many cases, we can reproduce selected materials and send them to researchers who cannot visit the library in person.

Schedule Your Appointment

Researchers are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment via Portal1791 in advance of arriving at the MHS. Researchers with confirmed appointments will be guaranteed a seat in the reading room on their appointment date(s). Walk-in researchers will be accommodated if spots are available on the daily schedule.

Plan your Visit

Please review the information available on the What to Expect, What to Bring, and How to Prepare web pages and register for a Portal1791 account before visiting the library.

The library staff is ready to assist researchers with navigating our catalogs and collection guides, developing research strategies, and locating other libraries that may hold materials of interest.

You can reach the library staff by phone (617-646-0532), e-mail (, or live chat.

Library Hours

Click here for hours and closings due to holidays and other events.

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