The Iconic PVD Spot To Explore With Your BFF On The Next Rain Day This Summer

One thing I’ve found myself looking forward to lately is the weekly email from Matt Burriesci, Executive Director of the Providence Athenaeum - because it’s highly entertaining, insightful, and (at times) hilarious.

Know what’s even better, though?

An actual visit to the PVDATH at 251 Benefit.

Especially on a cloudy and grey or drizzly day. (Is the rest of the Summer going to be like today? Fingers crossed noooo, but who knows?)

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

The thing about the Athenaeum is, if you’ve never been, you might be intimidated by its facade, the Greek columns, the Richmond Fountain out front (which btw was the first public drinking fountain of its kind in the area), everything really.

Well…Pish Posh!

Photo Courtesy Of

Photo Courtesy Of

Once you walk in, you’ll find the interior is everything you never knew you needed in your life this Summer and beyond.

Especially if you grew up on the pre-cursor to Google.

Yesssss, I’m talking about the card catalog.

Photo Courtesy Of

Photo Courtesy Of

There’s that and so many other interesting artifacts from days gone by, like:

  • a bust of HP Lovecraft (He frequented the Athenaeum too! Also for the record, I’ve never heard a single person refer to it as The Ath. Is that a for real thing?)

  • an 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass with notes by Walt Whitman himself

  • a copy of one of Gilbert Stuart’s paintings of OG Founding Father GW in the cozy reading room on the lower level

  • that Fountain, which after more than ten years of inactivity, is running again with clean drinking water, so take a sip or fill up your modern day canteen (S’Well water bottles, mason jars, and the like) because that whole folk tale about how drinking from it means you’re cursed to never leave Providence was probably started by some Bitter Betty (or Ben)

You should also be aware that in addition to becoming a popular venue for weddings, cocktail parties and other events. (Search the hashtag on Insta, and you’ll find some pretty great event-related photos.) and having a whole calendar of happenings for the entire family this season, this season the PVDATH has also furnished their outdoor patio space.

You know what that means - you can go and hang at the ATH on sunny days now too.

For more info, go to