An interview with Charlie Grantham, a member since 2023.

What drew you to become a member of the Athenaeum?

Charlie Grantham: I came here on Community Day. I had never heard of the Athenaeum, but it came up on my Instagram algorithm as something free to do in Boston and I thought it looked cool. I had no idea how big it was! I think we were only about twenty minutes into walking around, and I turned to my husband and said, “I have to become a member.” I feel so inspired when I’m here. I have told so many people this, but I get my work done better. It’s like time stands still when I’m here and the world goes quiet.

What’s your favorite spot in the building?

CG: My go-to spot is on the fourth floor right outside the Trustees’ Room — not the tables by the window, but one of the tables hidden behind the bookshelves.

What are you working on at the Athenaeum currently? What do you bring with you to work on?

CG: I’m a photographer, so I edit my photos here. I also work on my website, study, and have meetings. Usually, I try to get here right at nine. I like to get my spot and get cozy. If I can sit here all day, that’s my favorite because I get so much done, but I’ll switch up my spots, too.

How has the Athenaeum helped support your interests? Is there anything you’ve discovered here that you’d want to share? 

CG: I’m very interested in the photography collection here — I was drawn to the Developing Boston exhibition. Being in a place surrounded by art inspires me — It’s wonderful being exposed every day to the photographs, paintings, and sculptures.

What’s your favorite perk of being a member of the Athenaeum?

CG: The Athenaeum gives members a space to have quiet and to have stillness, which I think is really rare in today’s world. That’s a big draw for me, and it’s hard to find that in other places in the city.

If any, what fictional character or historical figure would you expect to find in the Athenaeum? 

CG: I have two: One is Louisa May Alcott – I know she was a member here and that was another thing that drew me to membership. I also think this one’s a little silly but Belle from Beauty and the Beast. She would live here!

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