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
Sunday, November 23, 2014 - 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
Hands-On Tour
Friday, December 5, 2014 - 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
Washington, George, (1732-1799).Autographed Letter Signed, 1749 May 5, Ferry Far
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, December 7, 2014 - 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
Francesco Bartolozzi, after William Hamilton, Mr. Kemble as King Richard the Thi
Hands-On Tour
Friday, December 12, 2014 - 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
McMullin & Black, Silver Tankard. Philadelphia, 1813. 1970.0004.
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, December 14, 2014 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
This intimate tour focuses on decorative arts made here in Philadelphia between 1750 and 1850. Visitors will be invited to look closely and to handle selected pieces of furniture and silver as the tour explores issues of craftsmanship, style, and the changing world in which artisans and their patrons lived and worked. More
Sarony Studio, Portrait of Marianne Moore. New York, 1924. 2006. 5116
Hands-On Tour
Friday, December 19, 2014 - 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
Incun 491p Lisbon pentateuch
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, December 21, 2014 - 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
George Cruikshank, “Return Again Our England’s Hannibal.”  Hand colored woodcut
Hands-On Tour
Friday, January 2, 2015 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Incomprehensible incantations, mysterious symbols, and sleight-of-hand illusions abound on this tour about the history of magic in print. You’ll be bamboozled by magicians like Hermes Trismegistus and John Dee. Impress your friends with a newfound knowledge of bogus Latin spells and try a beginner’s lesson in “card conjuring.” And along with these enchantments, you’ll get to experience the real magic of a fifteenth century book and an autographed portrait by Houdini in your hands. More
Sarony Studio, Portrait of Marianne Moore. New York, 1924. 2006. 5116
Hands-On Tour
Sunday, January 4, 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
John Tenniel, The Jaberwock, with eyes of flame. Pencil and gauche, ca. 1870. 19
Hands-On Tour
Friday, January 9, 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