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 [email protected].

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

Cash & Godshaw, photograph of Adolph Rosengarten. Louisville, Ky, 1862. 2006.674
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, February 7, 2016 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
From the writings of Abraham Lincoln, to the wartime letters of Col. Alexander Biddle of the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, to a Confederate children’s textbook, this tour provides a glimpse into the lives and thoughts of those who shaped and survived America’s worst conflict. More
George Cruikshank, hand colored woodcut print. London, ca. 1840. 1954.1880. 3871
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, February 14, 2016 - 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, February 19, 2016 - 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
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, February 21, 2016 - 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 texts published in London and the Continent during the middle of the century. We will look at books in English, Latin, Dutch, Hebrew, and more. More
Hands-On Tour
Friday, February 26, 2016 - 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
Rockwell Kent, The Masthead, illustration for Moby Dick, Random House edition.19
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, February 28, 2016 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
“Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever,” from Moby-Dick. 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
George Cruikshank, “Return Again Our England’s Hannibal.”  Hand colored woodcut
Hands-On Tour
Friday, March 4, 2016 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Incomprehensible incantations, mysterious symbols, and sleight-of-hand illusions abound on this tour about the history of magic in print. Learn about bogus Latin spells, try a beginner’s lesson in “card conjuring," and hold an autographed portrait by Houdini in your hands. More
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, March 6, 2016 - 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. We’ll look at books that originated in modern-day Italy, Portugal, Germany, and the Netherlands, as well as the United States. More
Cash & Godshaw, photograph of Adolph Rosengarten. Louisville, Ky, 1862. 2006.674
Hands-On Tour
Friday, March 11, 2016 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
From the writings of Abraham Lincoln, to the wartime letters of Col. Alexander Biddle of the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, to a Confederate children’s textbook, this tour provides a glimpse into the lives and thoughts of those who shaped and survived America’s worst conflict. More
Francesco Bartolozzi, after William Hamilton, Mr. Kemble as King Richard the Thi
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, March 13, 2016 - 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