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Providence Athenaeum, Providence

4.7
#4 of 9 in Historic Sites in Providence
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Library
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The Providence Athenaeum is an independent, member-supported subscription library in Providence, Rhode Island. The building is open to the public, but only members can check out items from the collection.

The library was established in 1836 as a merger between two earlier subscription libraries: The Providence Library Company, founded in 1753, and the Providence Athenaeum, founded in 1831. It became "The Providence Athenaeum" by amendment to its charter in 1850.
Use our Providence trip website to visit Providence Athenaeum on your trip to Providence, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Providence Athenaeum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
118 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • We thought this was free, but a $5 donation per person is recommended. No biggie, but it's important info to have. It sits nicely between downtown and College Hill (Brown University), so it's... 
    We thought this was free, but a $5 donation per person is recommended. No biggie, but it's important info to have. It sits nicely between downtown and College Hill (Brown University), so it's...  more »
  • Beautiful library with self-guided tours. There’s a suggested donation of $5 per person and they take credit card and cash. You have to check in by going to the office on the left hand side to get a.....  more
    Beautiful library with self-guided tours. There’s a suggested donation of $5 per person and they take credit card and cash. You have to check in by going to the office on the left hand side to get a.....  more »
  • Our family of four loved this museum, it had an incredible variety, was just the perfect size to keep the kids entertained and the exhibits were incredible. Highly recommend. 
    Our family of four loved this museum, it had an incredible variety, was just the perfect size to keep the kids entertained and the exhibits were incredible. Highly recommend.  more »
Google
  • Beautiful library with self-guided tours. There’s a suggested donation of $5 per person and they take credit card and cash. You have to check in by going to the office on the left hand side to get a sticker before you can walk around the library. There were plenty of members also studying/reading while we walked around and since it’s so quiet, be mindful of your squeaky shoes. There’s a mezzanine area as well as a downstairs part which houses the old artwork and some very comfy chairs. If you’re just doing the self-guided tour, you could spend half an hour to an hour, depending on how in-depth you’d like to go.
  • This is a pretty cool historical library. I came for the self guided tour but several rooms are for members only, even sitting down at a desk is reserved for members. And the rare book room was for staff only, the lights weren't even on to look inside. It's very stuffy inside when it's hot out. I was surprised that you have to pay to be a member when almost every other library around is completely free. If you are under 35 you get a lower rate ($65) - I'm not sure why older people have to pay more. The membership "benefits" are what you get for free at any other library. The tour information even said that there are very few membership libraries left since they were turned into public libraries and made totally free for the community. I wish this place would do the same and make it more accessible.
  • So many neat things about this library. Great kids section, too. Wish I would have done the free audio tour.
  • Very casual, self guided tour. Amazing art, history and books. Amazing place to visit.
  • Amazing library and a piece of history. Worth your time.

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