Any bookworms and art aficionados, history buffs and collectors will find a welcoming atmosphere at the scholarly hub and local public library known as the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum. The Athenaeum is a combined art gallery and library housed in an architecturally and historically phenomenal building designed in the Victorian style and full of the flavors of the 19th century, inside and out. A mansard roof, tall arched windows, intricately carved woodwork, spiral staircases, and a floor made of alternating strips of ash and walnut maintains the building’s original and authentic mid-1800s style and flare.
What makes the Athenaeum unique is more than its vibrant colors and rare collections; instead of artificial lighting, this National Historic Landmark (one of the only libraries in the country designated as such) lights its prestigious collection naturally with the arched glass skylight in the ceiling. Serving as the public library, the Athenaeum hosts over 45,000 volumes of books, growing from the 9,000 it originally selected by bibliographer William Poole. With its attention to detail and carefully curated collections of art and books, the library stands as a pristine monument out of a century long past and an excellent choice for an excursion for those with any interest in the Victorian era, its architecture, or aesthetic as well as finding rare books.
Self-guided tours are available of the art gallery, an outstanding collection of American art displayed in the style of the 19th century for an authentic experience. Visit the Athenaeum’s website for more information on the self-guided tours as well as the written guide for each tour option. Check the hours here and plan your visit today.
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum
1171 Main Street
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819