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The principal role of the Berkshire Athenaeum, continuing the long-standing tradition of American libraries in our democratic society, is to ensure the availability of information and materials for independent, self-directed learning.  Providing access to area museums is one of the resource options the Athenaeum has in providing information and cultural enrichment.


A. PASS OPTIONS: The Athenaeum has two types of passes. Facsimile passes are one-time use photocopies of museum passes that are dated and not returned to the Athenaeum. Original passes are laminated, are good for one year, and must be returned to the Athenaeum for circulation to other borrowers.

B. AVAILABILITY ASSURANCE:  The Athenaeum makes the best effort to assure a museum pass will be available on the day it has been reserved, however borrowers should understand that the library's success is dependent upon how conscientious the previous borrower is.  Should a borrower neglect to return a pass on time, the library's ability to provide the pass at the appointed time may be placed in jeopardy (see LOAN PERIODS below).

C. CHECK-OUT: “Original” museum passes are checked out like any other circulating library material using the Athenaeum computerized circulation system.  Facsimile passes do not get checked out using the circulation system.


D.1. FACSIMILE LOANS: Facsimile passes are turned in at the museum and not returned to the Athenaeum.

D.2. "ORIGINAL” PASS LOANS: “Original” passes circulate for twenty-four hours. The date due is printed on the receipt provided to the borrower.

D.3. PASS PICK-UP: Passes are picked up on the day of the reservation, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  Provided the borrower may conform to a twenty-four hour loan period of an “original” pass, it may be picked up the day before the reservation date.

E. OVERDUE PASSES:  The law provides for certain recourses the Athenaeum may take against persons who fail to conform to Athenaeum policy regarding the loan of library materials, including “original” museum passes.  Delinquent borrowers may be assessed an overdue fine, denied the privilege of borrowing museum passes at a future date, or denied library borrowing privileges entirely, depending upon the extent or severity of an overdue loan.  The rate of fine for any overdue pass is $1.00 per overdue day or portion thereof. The maximum overdue fee for any one borrowed item is $5.00.

F. REGISTRATIONS: Museum Passes are available to any patron having a valid library registration in good standing. 

G. RENEWALS: Museum passes are not renewable.

H. REPLACEMENT COSTS: A lost or unreturned "original" pass will be billed to the borrower at the default rate of $10.00 unless the museum charges a higher rate.


I.1.CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT: All reservations are handled by the adult Circulation Department.

I.2. HOW TO RESERVE: While walk-ins are welcomed, patrons are encouraged to reserve passes to the museum of their choice either in person, by phone (499-9480, Ext. 3) during regular library hours, or online at , using Tixkeeper, an online pass reservation system that provides via remote access to both library staff and public a link into every participating museum’s website which makes it convenient to get up to date information.

I.3. RESERVE PROCESS: The borrower’s library card number, reservation date and requested museum, are entered into the system, which then reserves a pass in that borrower’s name.

I.4. LIMITS: There is no limit on how far in advance reservations may be made.  

I.5. VERIFY AVAILABILITY: So the library may assure and immediately verify pass availability for the date requested, passes may not be reserved by mail, facsimile transmission, recorded phone message or e-mail. 

I.6. PICK-UP BY NOON: If a reserved pass has not been picked up by 12:00 noon on the day it was reserved (unless special arrangements have been made to the contrary), the Athenaeum shall consider the pass no longer on reserve and may loan it out to someone else.


J.1. DUE DATES: “Original” passes are due back by 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays, on the day after the pass was checked out.

J.2. INSIDE RETURNS: Because the loan period is so short, “original” passes should be returned inside the library building to the adult Circulation Department to assure they are checked in on time. 

J.3. OUTSIDE RETURNS: If the library is closed, the “original” pass may be placed in a sealed envelope and put in one of the book drops located at either entrance to the building.  “Original” passes returned to a bookdrop should be put in an oversize envelope because they tend to be small and easily lost in the book drop mechanism.  The larger the envelope, the more likely the pass will not be lost.

K. USER LIMITS:  Only one pass may be checked out per family at any given time. 


  • ARROWHEAD [BERKSHIRE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY]: Pittsfield home of author Herman Melville, 1850-1863.  Collections include period furnishings; costumes; objects relating to early industries; artifacts relating to Berkshire County; decorative arts; archives; memorabilia of Herman Melville. 

  • ASHLEY HOUSE: Built in 1735 by Col. John Ashley, this is the oldest house in Berkshire County still standing. Elizabeth Freeman, a slave of the Ashley family, sued for and won her freedom in 1781 during a celebrated state court battle.

  • BARTHOLOMEW’S COBBLE: Part of the original Ashley estate, Bartholomew’s Cobble has five miles of hiking trails and 800 species of plants in a “rugged and exotic” landscape. It’s located in the southern portion of Berkshire County between the Taconic and Berkshire mountain ranges. 

  • BERKSHIRE BOTANICAL GARDENS: Situated on fifteen acres between Stockbridge and West Stockbridge, the Garden’s mission is to fulfill the community’s need for information, education and inspiration concerning the art and science of gardening and the preservation and improvement of our local environment. Collections emphasize plants that are indigenous to or thrive in the Berkshires; more than 3,000 species and varieties are represented.

  • BERKSHIRE MUSEUM: Pittsfield. The Athenaeum has eight passes. Each pass admits four.  Passes do not include admission to special events, Festival of Trees, films, performances, or other events that have additional ticket costs.  

  • CHESTERWOOD: Country home, studio and gardens of America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments, Daniel Chester French (1850-1931). He was creator of the Minute Man statue and Abraham Lincoln for the Lincoln Memorial. The estate is situated on 122 acres in the hamlet of Glendale near Stockbridge.

  • FOLLY AT FIELD FARM: Set in a stunning natural landscape and surrounded by sculptures, gardens, and hiking trails, the Folly and Field Farm epitomizes the Modern Movement. Tour the award-winning Folly – all curves and shingles – designed in 1965 by Ulrich Franzen.

  • FREYLINGHUYSEN HOUSE & STUDIO: Home of American Abstract artists George L.K. Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen set on a 46-acre estate in Lenox. Their work, as well as their collection of American and European Cubist art, is on display.

  • HANCOCK SHAKER VILLAGE: Pittsfield. 200-year-old original Shaker village with 21 historic buildings, Shaker furniture, round stone barn, craft demonstrations. 

  • MASSACHUSETTS MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART: North Adams.  Post-1960 large-scale installations of sculpture and paintings.  Athenaeum has three passes.

  • MASSACHUSETTS PARKS PASS: Entitles bearer to free parking for one vehicle at over fifty day-use facilities in the Massachusetts state park system that charge a parking fee.

  • MISSION HOUSE: Built in 1742 by the first missionary to the Mohican Indians, Mission House showcases an outstanding collection of 18th-century American furniture and decorative arts, as well as a small Native American museum that tells the story of the Mohicans through artifacts.

  • THE MOUNT: The Lenox home of Edith Wharton.  The Athenaeum has two passes.  Each pass admits one, plus allows three guests to enter at half-price.

  • NAUMKEAG: Former summer retreat of the Choate family and built by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, & White. This 44-room cottage includes a stunning collection of gardens created by Joseph Choates's daughter, Miss Mabel Choate, and Fletcher Steele.

  • NORMAN ROCKWELL MUSEUM:  Stockbridge.  Dedicated to the education and art appreciation inspired by the artist Norman Rockwell.   Athenaeum has two passes.

  • PLEASANT VALLEY WILDLIFE SANCTUARY: Lenox. A Massachusetts Audubon facility, this pass entitles bearer to free admission for up to two adults and two children to the seven miles of trails that wind through hardwood forest, meadows, wetlands, and along the slopes of Lenox Mountain.  An excellent location hiking, the sanctuary has universally accessible education center, restrooms (in the education center), “All Persons Trail,” and barn.    Athenaeum has two passes.

  • STEEPLETOP: One of the most popular writers in her time, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay ranks today as a major figure in 20th-century American literature. In 1925, Edna St. Vincent Millay and her husband purchased the property at Steepletop, a 19th-century farmhouse, in Austerlitz, New York. They spent the next twenty-five years creating a peaceful place where Millay could write.

  • STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE: Williamstown. Italian, Flemish, Dutch and French Old Master paintings from the 14th - 18th centuries; French 19th century paintings, including Impressionists; porcelain; and antique silver.

  • SUSAN B. ANTHONY BIRTHPLACE: A pioneering feminist and suffragist as well as a noteworthy figure in the abolitionist, pro-life and temperance movements of the 19th century, Susan B. Anthony was born in this Adams house in 1820 and lived there for the first seven years of her life.

  • U.S.S. CONSTITUTION MUSEUM: Built in 1797, this historic ship played an important role in the War of 1812. The Museum houses and displays artifacts related to the Ship’s history.

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    Updated August 2011  

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    Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield's Public Library, Pittsfield, Massachusetts