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pen to members only, the private Boston Athenaeum allows visitors for tours during limited hours if they have made advance reservations. What isn’t widely known is that the first floor and gallery of this largest membership library in North America are open at any time, including part of an art collection so valuable—with works by John Singer Sargent and Gilbert Stuart, and a bust of George Washington from Thomas Jefferson’s dining room at Monticello—that it formed the nucleus of the Museum of Fine Arts.
One of the oldest cultural institutions in America, the Boston Athenaeum has amassed 750,000 books since it was founded in 1807, from George Washington’s personal library to the world’s largest collection of Confederate books and pamphlets.
Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Closed Saturdays in June, July and August
Guided tours Tuesday and Thursday at 3 p.m.; reservations required
These lines serve the Boston Athenaeum. Click to find more secrets on your route.
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