Open Archives 2018

This year we are celebrating Cambridge Open Archives’ 10th Anniversary with two weeks of behind-the-scenes tours at 15 archives, libraries, and special collections around Cambridge! 

When:   June 11-15 and June 18-21, 2018
Where:  Various locations in Cambridge
Cost:      Free! Space is limited, however, so be sure to register below.


- Click here for the Schedule of participating institutions

- FAQs

Open archives image sample, Mary Hamilton Frye design of 1925 from Longfellow House archives
Design for the Boston Trade Union College by Mary Hamilton Frye, 1925. Longfellow House Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site collections. (Catalog no. LONG 20177)

open archives image sample, street section from the Engineering Department
Section view of Brookline and Magazine streets showing pedestrians, automobiles, and streetcar. Cambridge Engineering Department collections. 


1st Week

Monday, June 11:

12-1:30 pm: Harvard Graduate School of Design  

4-6 pm: Harvard Art Museums  

Tuesday, June 12:

12-1:30 pm: Peabody Museum and Harvard Semitic Museum

4-6 pm: Longfellow House

Wednesday, June 13:

5-7 pm: Cambridge Historical Society

Thursday, June 14:

12-1:30 pm: Harvard Map Collection

4-6 pm: Mount Auburn Cemetery

Friday, June 15:

12-2 pm: Christ Church

2nd Week

Monday, June 18:

12-2 pm: MIT Museum

4-6 pm: Cambridge Department of Public Works

Tuesday, June 19:

5-7 pm: Harvard Law School Library

Wednesday, June 20:

12-2pm: Harvard University Archives

5-7 pm: Cambridge Historical Commission

Thursday, June 21:

4-6 pm: Closing Event at Houghton Library. Reception and viewing of the exhibition Passports: Lives in Transit. Attendance limited to 50 people.


What is Open Archives?

Cambridge Open Archives, sometimes called the Cambridge archives crawl, is a free event in which members of the public are invited behind the scenes at various Cambridge archives, libraries, and collecting institutions. This year is the 10th anniversary of Cambridge Open Archives, and to celebrate, we are featuring two weeks of tours at 15 libraries and archives around Cambridge.

What are archives?

Here's a good description. 

What kinds of things will I see at Open Archives?

This varies from place to place. Some archives set up displays of special collections materials, while others take visitors to places that are often off-limits to the public, like closed stacks and collections storage.

In previous years, participating institutions planned their tours and collection displays around a special theme. Past Open Archives themes have included Adventures in Gastronomy, Cambridge in the 1860s, Spaces: Profane and Sacred, Living and Dying in Cambridge, and New Acquisitions & Old Treasures. This year is "Archivists’/Curators’ Choice", meaning the participating institutions pick out favorite items from their collections for display – audience favorites, personal favorites, or rarely seen materials. Whatever each institution decides to display, however, you are guaranteed to see a wonderful variety of original photographs, documents, artwork, and objects.

Does Open Archives cost anything?

Open Archives is completely free! Space is very limited, however, so register early to secure your spot. Watch this webpage for the registration link, which goes live on May 11.

Do you take volunteers for Open Archives?

Yes! We need volunteer monitors to help keep groups on track during the Open Archives visits, and also to help distribute flyers. If you work or volunteer for a library or archive, consider joining the Cambridge Archives Committee. For more information, contact

Anything else I should know?

Seating is often limited at many of the participating locations, and you should plan to be on your feet for 30-45 minutes. If you need accommodations, please email

To ensure the safety of unique and fragile collections items at our participating institutions, food, beverages, and large bags are generally not permitted inside. Some institutions may have places for you to stow anything you may have brought with you.