The Providence Athenaeum: Providence’s Time Capsule

The city of Providence, Rhode Island has an artistic feel unlike any other. Its unique community and off the beaten path destinations make it a city for every kind of traveler. After living in Providence for nearly four years and being a lifelong Rhode Islander, I thought I had seen it all. It was then that I found the Providence Athenaeum, my new favorite hideaway and go-to study spot in Providence.


The parlor. All photos taken by myself.

The Athenaeum was built in 1836 and has been attracting writers and scholars alike since its inception. Edgar Allen Poe frequented the Athenaeum during his relationship with Sarah Helen Whitman. Even H.P. Lovecraft was known to wonder around this historic library from time to time. Now, the Athenaeum attracts students looking for a quiet place to read and study.


Second floor study nooks. All photos taken by myself.

Private desk nooks comprise the upstairs, each lined with bookshelves containing books from the last three centuries on old, hardwood floors. Many of these are travel books from the turn of the 20th century. Venture downstairs and you can find the parlor.

The parlor’s walls are covered in bookshelves from the floor to the ceiling. Beautifully upholstered and well-kept chairs and benches dot the parlor, where you can cozy up with a good book. The best part? Many of the books are fragile, so the librarians prefer to put them back themselves, which means no heavy books to put back when you’re done!

The Athenaeum truly is an ideal study spot for any student. Tourists will be transported back to the 19th century and will be able to curl up with a good book and a travel mug of coffee, which the library permits. Just don’t try to sneak in any food.


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