Members reading

Bag Policy & Visitor Guidelines

Here are a few things to know before you go.

Guests and Day Members

  • Guests register and pay any associated admission fees at the front desk.
  • The reading rooms and stack areas on all floors are open to Day Members.
  • The first floor—including art and exhibition gallery—is open to guests with an Arts & Exhibitions ticket purchase.

Bag Policy

  • Bags and backpacks smaller than 11×17 inches are welcome and should be carried at your side or for backpacks, worn on the front of your body. This helps ensure the safety of our artwork as you navigate some narrow passages.
  • There may be instances where you will be asked to store your bag.
  • All parcels, including handbags, are subject to routine checks.


  • Phone booths on floor 4 can be reserved for phone and video calls.
  • Short and respectful phone use is permitted in the Leventhal Room (first floor), fourth floor living rooms, and terraces.
  • Silence your phones while in the building.


  • Wi-Fi is available for Athenaeum guests.

Silent Spaces

  • The fifth-floor reading room and the Special Collections Reading Room are designated as silent spaces.

Special Collections

  • Anyone with a research interest in the collections may make an appointment. Requests to see special collections materials must be made online.


  • Flash-free photography is allowed with some restrictions. Tripods, selfie sticks, and other camera-holding devices are not allowed. Refrain from photographing people without their permission.


  • Beverages in closed containers are allowed.
  • Food is permitted in the fifth floor members’ lounge, fourth floor living rooms, and our outdoor terraces.
  • No food is permitted on the first floor with the exception of catered special events.