The Athenaeum of Philadelphia
National center for architectural history
This 1840s brownstone by architect John Notman, a National Historical Landmark, boasts one of Philadelphia’s finest 19th century interiors, and a research collection dedicated to architecture and interior design. Tours of the restored reading rooms are available by appointment, as is research in the collections of books, architectural drawings, photographs, and manuscripts representing the work of more than 2,000 American architects and firms.
No appointment is necessary to visit the exhibition gallery on the first-floor, which delves into the history of buildings and design. Recent exhibits included one on photographs documenting the little-known Quaker aesthetic: “Silent Witness: Quaker Meetinghouses of the Delaware Valley, 1695 to the Present.”
The Athenaeum was founded as a member-supported library in 1814, and continued for more than a century and a half as a British-style reading room on one of the city^s original squares. During the last quarter century, the Athenaeum built its collections, restored its building, and transformed itself into a national center for the history of architecture and design. The Athenaeum stands only one block from Independence Hall, overlooking leafy Washington Square.
Open Mon – Fri
Guided tours and research by appointment only.
Philadelphia Architects and Buildings Project, www.philadelphiabuildings.org provides access to more than 13,000 biographies and 30,000 images.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
2nd and Locust Streets Society Hill Towers courtyard Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Philly Art Experience
at Bridgette Mayer Gallery
- Tides of Freedom
African Presence on the Delaware River
- Laff House
- Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
- Polish American Cultural Center
- Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church
- Screenings Under The Stars
Summer Movie Series at Penn’s Landing
- Oktoberfest at Brauhaus Schmitz
- The Physick House
- View more attractions
Restaurants & Dining