Athenaeum of Philadelphia

Perhaps you are smarter and more informed than I, we can have that argument later, but while walking with my wife through Washington Square one evening I came across a word I had never heard before.

Athenaeum founded 1814.

It was inscribed on a bronze plaque with no other explanations. Intriguing.

Athenaeum of Philadelphia

I had lived most of my life just calling the library “the library”, till arriving in Philly when with a snicker I read every sign that read “Free library”. I never knew any other kind. Till now.

Apparently the word means a place where printed materials are kept, available for reading. Turns out this private circulation library is open to the public 9-5 Mon-Fri.

Staircase to the stacks.

You must buy a membership to check out a book, and they say there is a members only reading room, but any old person, like me, can stroll right into this room.

main reading room

If I make an appointment I can do research here.

research room

I didn’t read a thing on this trip, I just strolled around being a creep with my iPhone.

in the chess room

While I may not be the best, I enjoy a game of chess. I am horrible playing chess with friends, better in the park, I have no idea how good I am here but i intend to find out.

chess room

Why have I never heard of this place? I am not all knowing but I believe I am slightly more informed about this city than the average Joe; so how did I miss this all these years?

Stacks in the research room

It was some years ago that in like fashion I discovered Philly’s civil war museum complete with Honest Abe’s death mask. I found this one slightly more interesting. I’m not sure why, but seriously, how did I miss this?

Death mask from Napoleon


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