Long-established libraries like the Providence Public Library and the Providence Athenaeum hold much more than books. The opportunity to explore the art and artifacts in their collections makes visiting a stimulating and worthwhile experience whether or not reading is on a visitor’s agenda.
The Providence Public Library opened its extraordinary building, itself a work of art now on the National Register of Historic Places, in 1900. Guided by Tonia Mason, see unusual architectural features of the building en route to viewing remarkable collections of ship models, ancient tablets, illustrated manuscripts, original WWII posters, and more.
The Providence Athenaeum has always been a membership library, but while only members may borrow library materials, anyone is welcome to visit the library and use its holdings on site. The word “athenaeum” simply means an institution for the promotion of learning. Alison Maxell, executive director, and her staff enthusiastically share the Athenaeum’s wide range of holdings with viewers and visitors, and many Athenaeum programs are open to the public.