September 28, 2017

Massachusetts State House Library

The Boston State House is a great place for tourists to learn about the History of Massachusetts.

The State House tours are free and its a great way to learn about the historic building. One location not on the tour is the State House Library. (I suspect this is because people are asked to be quiet in the library.)

The library is open to the public, you don't need to be a researcher to visit the State House Library. If visiting Bates Hall at the Boston Public Library is on your agenda then I would recommend checking the State House Library.

State House Library

Six Things I Learned about the State House Library

  • Open in 1826. 40 years before the Smithsonian and 20 years after the Library of Congress opened.
  • In the current location since 1890
  • The Library is named after George Fingold who was the Attorney General of the Commonwealth from 1953 to 1956.
  • The official symbol is a half circle stain glass window. You can purchase unique souvenir items at the library desk. (You contribution helps support the library.)
  • You need a library card to use the computers. There are computers on the first and second floor.
  • To get a Library Card you need to be employed by the Legislative or Executive Branch. Unfortunately, the general public isn’t allowed to use the computers.

Stain Glass Ceiling

When you're in the library, look up at the stain glass ceiling. You will notice three distinct years on the glass:

Stain Glass Ceiling

  • 1620 - Plymouth Plantation is founded
  • 1775 - A New Nation is formed. The declaration of Independence is signed.
  • 1861 - The start of the Civil War.

I had to ask the Librarian on what the significance of 1861. I thought it might be when the State House was moved. She told me that it’s there to remember the start of the Civil War. (The State House was moved from the Old State House in 1798)

Temporary Exhibits

The State House Library has temporary exhibits to highlight some of its collection. They are now showcasing Massachusetts Symbols, such as the official State Cookie and the Official State Book.

Find out what the: Official Sport, Recreational and Team Sport, State Berry, State Bean, State Beverage, State Groundhog, State Cat and many more!

Some future Massachusetts State Symbols under consideration: Country Song, Seasoning, Shellfish, Textile, Cupcake, Patriotic Song and more.

Mass Symbol Displays

The exhibit will be on display until the end of the year.

Visiting the State House Library

The State House library is located in the back of the State House on the third floor. From Monument Court, go up the Grand Staircase and turn left. Keep walking until you see the State House door.

The Temporary Exhibits are outside of the State House Library.

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