An athenaeum, if you are unfamiliar, is an institution for the promotion of learning. The word derives from a reference to the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena.
The Boston Athenaeum began as a reading room in 1807. It began by renting rooms near Kings Chapel Burying Ground and later on Pearl Street downtown before finally moving to Beacon Street location when this building was completed in 1849. It is currently only one of sixteen libraries in the country that require membership for usage of services.
Public access to the library is available for free on first floor. This level contains many historic statues and busts and affords an excellent view of the backside of the Old Granary Burying Ground (the burial site of Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock and Mother Goose).
- Website: http://www.bostonathenaeum.org/
- Address: 10 ½ Beacon Street, Boston, MA
- Cost: Free.