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One of the oldest libraries in the United States, the Athenaeum was founded in 1807 and is an exclusive club of sorts in which a membership is required to use the many magnificent resources of this institution. But feel free to visit the first floor of this historic building that is open to the public and is home to an art gallery with a variety of rotating exhibits. Marble busts, porcelain vases, oil paintings, books and more are a delight to browse through and view. There’s also a children’s room with cozy reading nooks that overlook the Granary Burying Ground.
Guided tours are offered as well; they have limited space and fill up fast but it is surely worth it; just call a day ahead to get your spot. You’ll be treated to such sights as shelves and shelves of antique books, various artworks and marvelous collections that include most of George Washington’s private library and the King’s Chapel Library which came from England’s William III in 1698.
The Boston Athenaeum is located at 10 1/2 Beacon Street.