Long room with modern furniture in it

Renovation & Expansion

The expansion into 14 Beacon allows us to maintain and enjoy the historic library we love while building a vision of the future Athenaeum we want to create.

From the purely functional (more and better places to display our collections, more spots to settle with a book) to the aspirational (a reading room for non-member visitors to get a taste of the delight we feel here), our additional space lets us to continue to grow our collections, our membership and our programming.

The space expansion allows us to continue growing in relevance and meaning to the community and make the most of the momentum we’ve been building. Leveraging the expanded array of our collection spaces, meeting rooms, events, and venue rental possibilities, we can broaden our revenue streams. Author readings, book and publishing receptions, parties and weddings, and community events are just a few potential avenues.

New features

  • Lobby: The entrance is streamlined and the coat racks and lockers have their own space. Fresh light fixtures brighten the space. A new all-glass lift enhances accessibility.
  • Front Desk: The Front Desk is pushed back to create an open and welcoming space. More natural light floods into our entry rooms, creating a warmer feeling of welcome and inclusion.
  • Children’s Library: The Children’s Library was redesigned to focus on our youngest readers under six. Crawl spaces, sitting areas and mobile bookshelves increase flexibility and make the space more comfortable.
  • Bayard Henry Long Room, floor 1: Improved technology and acoustics for presentations and other programming make lectures and other gatherings more accessible, inclusive, and fun. Author talks and lectures on literary gems have acoustic clarity and visual upgrades—both for in-person viewers and those at home.
  • Leventhal Room, floor 1: With its huge windows overlooking the Granary Burying Ground, the Leventhal Room is an inviting lounge space to read a book and soak up the collections in new display cases. This room is open to visitors as well as members. The new furnishings focus on comfort and style to read, talk, and eat. The room can be reconfigured as an event space with seating capacity for 110.
  • Norma Jean Calderwood Gallery, floor 1: Our new gallery has more space and functional layout. Its modularity allows the Curatorial team to feature various special collections and exhibitions uniquely every time. Other additions include dedicated storage space and flexible ceiling lighting.
  • A Bistro: Folio, the new bistro, is designed to be a social hub: a lively meeting place for members and visitors is scheduled to open in 2024.
  • Study Center, floor 2: A new study room allows academic research cohorts, school field trips, and special docent tours to experience our collections up close. Dante Alighieri’s verse, for example, won’t seem so abstract, and cartes-de-visite from the Harriet Hayden albums will convey their full meaning and power when visitors engage with them in person.
  • Members living rooms, floor 4: The Members’ Living Rooms are designed for cozy comfort with an inviting and intimate feel. Connect, read, and relax while enjoying spectacular views, a water-vapor fireplace, recessed lighting, and comfortable and elegant furniture. The space offers a pantry and four dedicated phone booths for members. In short: a retreat within a retreat, where members can sink into their Athenaeum experience and feel truly at home.
  • Reading and Study Alcoves, basement and floor 4: Additional reading nooks and work alcoves were created.