The Bentley Rare Book Museum was founded as a gallery in 1986 by Robert Williams, former director of the Sturgis Library, and Fred Bentley Sr., a prominent Marietta attorney. Bentley provided the initial donation of books, and together they modeled the gallery design on an English library from the eighteenth century. They hired a local father and son team to create a space using traditional techniques, working only with hand tools and making an historically-accurate varnish.
Today, the Bentley Museum carries on the tradition of using rare books to enrich the community through teaching, research, exhibits, and programming. Our collection houses over 10,000 rare books, each carefully chosen to tell the story of the written word. We invite visitors to access the collection through self-guided tours, interactive exhibits, and community-focused programming.
Mr. Williams discusses the genesis of the Gallery and its purpose with Dr. Tom Scott.