Hands-On Tours

Turn the pages of a rare book, test the weight of a delicate teacup, read from a manuscript. Created especially for visitors who seek an in-depth and focused look at our collection, Hands-On Tours allow you unparalleled access to rare and important items that are not usually on view to the public. Led by a member of our staff, you’ll spend an hour getting up-close and personal with a variety of treasures related to a particular theme, like founding fathers, love letters, Irish authors, and more. Recommended for adults and children eight and older.

Advance Registration
Hands-On Tours are offered almost every Friday and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Advance registration is strongly recommended, as there are a limited number of spots on each tour and tours without registrants 48 hours in advance will be cancelled. Upon registration, you will be asked to purchase your admission and Hands-On Tour.To register, call (215)732-1600, ext. 123 or e-mail rsvp@rosenbach.org.

Drop-in Visitors
Any open spots on a tour will become available to drop-in visitors on a first-come first-served basis at noon on the day of the tour. If you plan to drop-in for a Hands-On Tour, please call (215)732-1600 and dial “0” to confirm that the tour is being offered.

Cost
$5 per person (in addition to the cost of general admission).

Upcoming Hands-on Tours

Francesco Bartolozzi, after William Hamilton, Mr. Kemble as King Richard the Thi
Hands-On Tour
Friday, July 31, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
When is Shakespeare not Shakespeare? And what is a folio, anyway? After seeing some of Shakespeare’s earliest printings and books that inspired his plots, we'll explore how his work has fared at the hands of actors, editors, and forgers. More
George Cruikshank, hand colored woodcut print. London, ca. 1840. 1954.1880. 3871
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, August 2, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Join us for this rare peek into some of the most personal and emotional writing in our collections. From the aching yearnings of poet John Keats to the dying wishes of a Civil War solider, the Rosenbach is home to a variety of love letters More
Dracula, Dust Jacket. EL3 .S874d 897
Hands-On Tour
Friday, August 7, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Get up close and personal with Bram Stoker's hand-written notes for the novel as Rosenbach staff discuss what it takes to create an enduring monster. More
Incun 491p Lisbon pentateuch
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, August 9, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
While Jews themselves were rare in the Americas in the 17th century, word of the possible re-appearance of the Lost Tribes of Israel in the New World spread through the printed word in texts published in London and the Continent during the middle of the century. Religious inclinations of European Christians and Jews, governments with financial aspirations, and linguistic misapprehensions make for a fascinating mix of books that tell a story of cultural misunderstanding in an age of exploration and expansion. We will look at books in English, Latin, Dutch, Hebrew, and Native American languages, but only curiosity is required. More
EL4 D754e 903MS Holmes Empty House
Hands-On Tour
Friday, August 14, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
The game is afoot to ferret out the realm of detective and spy literature at the Rosenbach. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to explore items including The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Charles Dickens' unfinished novel), an original Sherlock Holmes manuscript, and an album belonging to a female Civil War spy. Synchronize your watches to 1500 hours and join us! More
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, August 16, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
From the Canterbury Tales to Ulysses, the Rosenbach’s collection is full of books that have been banned, challenged, or censored. During Banned Books Week, take your rights and the books back into your own hands, discuss the controversies surrounding them, and celebrate your freedom to read. More
George Cruikshank, hand colored woodcut print. London, ca. 1840. 1954.1880. 3871
Hands-On Tour
Friday, August 21, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Join us for this rare peek into some of the most personal and emotional writing in our collections. From the aching yearnings of poet John Keats to the dying wishes of a Civil War solider, the Rosenbach is home to a variety of love letters More
Washington, George, (1732-1799).Autographed Letter Signed, 1749 May 5, Ferry Far
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, August 23, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
From George Washington’s earliest known letter (he was just 17!) to a meticulously folded page containing a scientific observation made by Thomas Jefferson while he was walking outside on a misty day, this tour offers an intimate view of the Founding Fathers’ writings to family, friends, colleagues, and even themselves. A rare opportunity to know our nation’s icons as real people: fathers, spurned lovers, jealous politicians, intellectuals, and, of course, revolutionaries. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Franklin form the core of the tour. More
Hands-On Tour
Friday, August 28, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Mathematician and cleric Charles Lutwidge Dodgson published children’s books under the pen name Lewis Carroll. This tour will explore both the man and the author. More
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, August 30, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
The Rosenbach is well known for the works of James Joyce and Bram Stoker, but the “English Literature” collections include many other notable Irish authors as well. In addition to Ulysses and Dracula we’ll read and handle works by some of these others, and look at their connections and influences extending from Thomas Jefferson to Moby Dick to the Internet. More