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Boston Public Library
Tour Information and Schedule

Central Library

Lion on grand staircase McKim building  




Art & Architecture Tours

The Boston Public Library offers public 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). For more information, please email or call 617-859-2216.

Please note that our walk-in public tours cannot accommodate private groups larger than 8 persons. To book a private tour group tour, please refer to the information on Group Tours below.

The following is a list of currently scheduled tours:

  • 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.
  • Sunday 2:00 p.m.

Please refer to the library's scheduled holiday observances: public tours will not be given on those dates.

Group Tours

Due to a high number of tour requests, we are at capacity for private Art & Architecture tours through May 2015. If you would like to book a tour on or after June 1st, 2015, please refer to the tour request form below.

Private group Art & Architecture tours for 9 or more visitors are available by appointment. A lead time of 3 weeks is required for group tours and bookings are subject to guide availability.

Group tour fees: $50 per guide. Each guide can accommodate up to 20 visitors. Invoices will be mailed to the designated billing addressee on the form.

All school groups must provide one adult chaperone for every 10 students.

Tours last approximately one hour and meet in the McKim Lobby (Dartmouth Street entrance).

Schedule a group Art & Architecture tour
(form opens in new window)

Self-guided Tours

Visitors may always take a self-guided tour of the Central Library by using these guides:

A Handbook to the Art and Architecture of the Boston Public Library
A Handbook of the New Public Library in Boston by Herbert Small (in the BPL catalog)
An Index to the Persons Commemorated by Inscriptions or Works of Art in the Central Library Building of the Boston Public Library by Frank N. Jones (in the BPL catalog)
Guides to art in the McKim Building
Guides to art in the Johnson Building

Volunteer Opportunities

For more information about the requirements and responsibilities for tour guides, please refer to the position overview (PDF).

If you are interested in applying to serve as a tour guide, please complete the application form (Microsoft Word) and submit to or mail to: Tour Guide Program, c/o Meghan Weeks, Boston Public Library, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116.