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

Washington, George, (1732-1799).Autographed Letter Signed, 1749 May 5, Ferry Far
Hands-On Tour
Friday, July 10, 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
Sarony Studio, Portrait of Marianne Moore. New York, 1924. 2006. 5116
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Marianne Moore, like Pablo Picasso, broke free of tradition and reassembled the pieces in a new and sometimes confounding way. In this tour, we will study her letters, clippings and the objects she surrounded herself with to find out more about the sources for her revolutionary and groundbreaking work. More
Hands-On Tour
Friday, July 17, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Even if you’ve never read a line of Charles Dickens’s work, you know some of his creations. In this tour we’ll look at the original portrayals of Oliver Twist, Scrooge, and other memorable characters. Through manuscripts, letters, and other documents we’ll follow their creator’s progress from ambitious unknown to international celebrity. More
Rockwell Kent, The Masthead, illustration for Moby Dick, Random House edition.19
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, July 19, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
“Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever”, from Moby Dick. Throughout history authors have used the Sea as a metaphor for birth, adventure, isolation, a moral testing ground, and more. On this tour we will examine manuscript pages of Joseph Conrad, read stories of castaways, the influential poem the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and other writings of life on the tempestuous sea. More
James Joyce, detail of Ulysses manuscript. EL J89ul 922 MS.
Hands-On Tour
Friday, July 24, 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
George Cruikshank, hand colored woodcut print. London, ca. 1840. 1954.1880. 3871
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, July 26, 2015 - 4:00pm - 5:00pm
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
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 - 4:00pm - 5:00pm
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
Scattered among the Rosenbach’s collection of 15th-century, printed books known by bibliophiles as incunabula are among the first books printed in the Hebrew language. Each has its own visual beauty and its own story to tell about early printing in Europe, local cultural tensions, change, and continuity. Whether you are a reader of Hebrew or not, you can engage with these volumes and learn about early works of philosophy and faith, see what makes an Italian prayerbook unusual—as well as rare, in this case—and recognize the difference between an achievement in printing and a triumph. We’ll then venture slightly towards modernity to see how Hebrew books fared in the 17th and 18th centuries. We’ll look at books that originated in modern-day Italy, Portugal, Germany, and the Netherlands, as well as the United States. More