The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia

This historic special-collections library and museum on Washington Square welcomes residents and tourists alike.

In 1814, a group of local learned men – with broad interests in science, literature, politics and more – announced the opening of two reading rooms run by the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.

Named in honor of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, the member-supported Athenaeum was founded to collect materials “connected with the history and antiquities of America, and the useful arts, and generally to disseminate useful knowledge” for public benefit.