Safeguarding the American Story Campaign

To the “American Antiquarian Society… for safeguarding the American story.”
– President Barack Obama at the presentation of the 2013 National Humanities Medal


The new copper-paneled façadeSince 1812, each generation of AAS stewards has made judicious decisions about its future, with the purchase and construction of new buildings, investments in systems upgrades, and most importantly, expanding collections.

Now, as AAS enters its third century, its current stewards are undertaking the most significant capital project in several generations by expanding Antiquarian Hall and providing new infrastructure to preserve its renowned collections for use by the public for generations to come. On April 27, 2017, AAS broke ground on the historic project and announced a $20 million capital campaign, with Safeguarding the American Story as its guiding theme.

Generous donors will ensure the success of the Safeguarding the American Story Campaign. Together, we can further the Society’s mission “to collect, preserve, and make accessible one copy of everything printed in what is now the United States before 1877.”

Protecting the Society’s World-Renowned Collections

The restoration of Antiquarian Hall comes at a critical juncture. The oldest parts of the library’s mechanical systems are now more than 100 years old, and even those of more recent vintage are well past their planned obsolescence date.

New systems will provide:

  • State-of-the-art climate control for 35,000 square feet of existing stacks
  • New heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Upgrades to fire protection and electrical systems
  • An elevator to public spaces and ADA-compliant restrooms

Increasing Capacity to Conserve

The Society is collecting at a rate ten times that of 2005, and it is imperative to AAS’s mission that those acquisitions are properly conserved and housed to ensure they are available for current and future researchers.

The new conservation lab will provide:

  • A tripling in the capacity to conserve and preserve materials
  • Five workstations and state-of-the-art tools and equipment
  • Office space and room to expand AAS’s coveted internship program
  • Space to work with large-format materials

Expanding Engagement

Antiquarian Hall has always been a welcoming place for those who seek to explore America’s past in AAS’s historic collections. The new multipurpose room realizes an even greater commitment to engaging a broad community of scholars, artists, students, educators, and the public.

The new program space will provide:

  • Increased capacity for workshops, public programs, and community events
  • Videoconferencing equipment for long-distance engagement
  • Flexible room configurations to accommodate diverse learning experiences
  • Enhanced interactions with collection materials

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