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.

The Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent

Philly History Museum

When I was young, I toured the Atwater Kent museum and was fascinated by the toys, drawings of the city and Philadelphia objects on display.

But I don’t recall ever going again.

And that’s a problem for a small museum like the renamed Philadelphia Museum at the Atwater Kent. It needs repeat visitors to help stay open and thrive.

So the newly named museum, which reopened in September 2012 and has over 100,000 items in its vast collection, now will change exhibits several times a year.