March 18 - June 30, 2023
The View From Washington Square: An Athenaeum Look At Neighborhood, City & Nation
In October 1847, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia opened a building like this city had never seen – the first public building in the Italianate Renaissance Style, and the first public building to sport a brownstone façade. The quiet dignity and understated palette of John Notman’s staid building stands in stark contrast to the tumultuous times in which it opened. As part of our celebration of the 175th anniversary of the Athenaeum’s National Historic Landmark, this exhibit will examine not only the building, but the tumultuous years that flank its opening. Architecturally, economically, politically and racially---these were years of dramatic, and often violent, change.