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“A step back in time”

Providence Athenaeum
Ranked #24 of 124 things to do in Providence
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Attraction details
Owner description: One of America's oldest lending libraries established in 1753.
Reviewed November 28, 2012

This is your grandmother's library, complete with card catalog (with some hand-written entries). Comfortable reading room and very interesting programs if you happen to catch one; there's a self-guided tour of the building that could be done in 10 minutes. A nice place to take a break after the RISD museum (across the street.)

1  Thank Jazzmom15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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57 - 61 of 84 reviews

Reviewed November 20, 2012

I loved browsing the shelves of this ancient library. Knowing Edgar Allen Poe read here too was very exciting.

Thank famharr5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2012

Go there and browse their collections. The staff is very inviting and the atmosphere is simply serene. More to read than one can do in a lifetime, with a range of materials from the historic to the current.

Thank C2C2C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

The Athenaeum, a handsom grey stone building in severe Greek revival style facing the state court house, is the oldest private library in the United States, and visitors can read books but not take them out. They have wonderful programs for children of various ages, and it's a great place to sit and read. I think is a place to which one would want to belong but not much of a tourist destination — unless of course one wants to take a break and catch one's breath on the very, very steep walk up College Hill to Brown from down town.

Thank George L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2012

I absolutely adored this library. The Providence Athenaeum was built in 1836 and is the fourth oldest library in the country! The history is apparent in the layout of the library, the old volumes lining the shelves, and the handwritten card catalog. If you have an appreciation for books and history then I highly recommend stoping here and peeking around. This library is located on Benefit Street, just a few minutes walk from the John Brown House Museum the Stephen Hopkins House. Well worth it.

Thank nch7w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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