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Boston Athenaeum

An athenaeum is defined as "an association of persons interested in scientific and literary pursuits, meeting for the purpose of mutual improvement; a literary or scientific club." The Boston Athenaeum was founded in 1807, placing it among the oldest independent libraries in the country. For more than 200 years, it has proven a vital cultural and educational institution for the city. Today it houses more than 600,000 titles, including a sizable circulating collection, a children's library, multiple reading rooms for newspapers and magazines, and ample quiet spaces. The public is welcome to view the first floor and exhibition gallery, while a membership is required to visit all remaining floors.

Non-members interested in exploring and learning more of the building's history can take a weekly Art and Architecture Tour which is open to the public. The 40-minute tour focuses on theimportance of the Athenæum’s architectural history as well as its fine arts collection.