Public Exhibitions and Tours at the Boston Public Library

  • October 20, 2012 - December 31, 2014
  • (Recurring daily)
  • Times: 9am-5pm
  • Venue: Boston Public Library
  • 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116
  • Phone:617-536-5400
  • Admission: Free

The following exhibitions are on view and free to the public at the Boston Public Library:


Made in Boston

Central Library, Copley Square (Norman B. Leventhal Map Center)
November 8-March 17, 2014

Boston was the metropolis of England’s North American colonies, with the largest population and economy of any urban center through the 1750s. It was also the leading producer of printed maps, including major colonial “firsts” such as the first printed map, first city map, first battle plan, and first map engraved on copper. This exhibition brings together, for the first time in decades, a majority of these maps “made in Boston” in the century before the American Revolution. As a group they are remarkable for their idiosyncrasies of style and important contributions to geographical knowledge.

These maps reflect distinct concerns of New Englanders in general and Bostonians in particular: Pride in their fine city, the hazards of navigating the New England coast, conflict and collaboration with the native inhabitants, and the French for mastery of North America, and landownership concerns. This exhibition affords a unique perspective on the ambitions, anxieties and sense of identity that animated colonial Bostonians.  To learn more and view digitized copies of the maps currently on display, visit the virtual exhibition.

Public Women, Private Lives

Central Library, Copley Square (Rare Books Lobby)
March 7 to May 30, 2014
Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Since the 17th century, American women have been writing and publishing novels, poetry, essays, histories, biographies, and short stories. Their texts influenced the tastes and perceptions of generations of both female and male readers alike. While readers can get a sense of these women through their published work, it is the letters that they wrote to friends, publishers, and one another that provide real insight into their personal worlds. This exhibition of books and manuscripts from the Boston Public Library’s special collections illustrates the public and private lives of reputed writers such as Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, and Julia Ward Howe, as well as those of lesser-known authors such as Hannah Adams, Helen Hunt Jackson, and Annie Fields.

This exhibition has been organized in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Art & Architecture Tours

The Boston Public Library offers tours highlighting the architecture of Charles Follen McKim and Philip Johnson, as well as the many works of famed sculptors and painters. The free tours last about an hour and are given by volunteer guides. No appointment is necessary. Tours meet in the lobby of the McKim Building (Dartmouth Street entrance). Ongoing tours are offered: Monday 2:30 p.m., Tuesday 6:00 p.m., Wednesday 11:00 a.m., Thursday 6:00 p.m., Friday 11:00 a.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m.  In May only, tours are also scheduled on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

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