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Redwood Library & Athenaeum

50 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI 02840-3229
+1 401-847-0292
Review Highlights
Don't judge this book by its cover

What a fabulous find! Our tour began on the front walk with a detailed description of the exterior... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Grosse Pointe, Michigan
Stepping Back in Time

A historic story that has survived time. Coming here is a step back into time! Libraries were not... read more

Reviewed 19 June 2017
James S
New York City, New York
via mobile
Read all 72 reviews
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About the Redwood Library and Athenæum: Chartered in 1747 by 46 prominent citizens of Newport with “nothing in view but the good of mankind,” the Redwood Library & Athenæum is a hybrid museum, rare book repository, and the oldest continuously operating lending library still in its original structure, the nation’s oldest public Neoclassical building. Designed by Peter Harrison, the Library is a registered National Historic Landmark. The Redwood contains over 200,000 titles in its Circulating and Special Collections, with another 751 titles forming the Original Collection, purchased by the founders in 1750 and housed in the historic Harrison Room. Collections strengths include: colonial American history and material culture, early modern architecture and garden design, the history of Newport, Aquidneck Island and Rhode Island. The Redwood also possesses substantive holdings of historic printed materials, archives and private papers. Featured on permanent view is an exceptional collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century portraits by such artists as John Smibert, Robert Feke and Gilbert Stuart, in addition to a range of sculpture, furniture, and decorative arts. Two gallery spaces feature temporary exhibitions, while the Redwood’s Reading Room, with its iconic green leather chairs and original Palladian windows, is a welcome sanctuary for visitors. Lectures, gallery talks, and musical events are scheduled throughout the year, and unique gift items and used books are available in the gift shop. As an athenæum born of the American Enlightenment values of liberty, equality and democracy, and capitalizing on its unique position as a catalyst for intellectual pursuit across periods and disciplines, the Redwood is approaching its fourth century in the service of a rigorous and accessible humanities education for the benefit of the widest possible audience.
  • Excellent63%
  • Very good30%
  • Average6%
  • Poor0%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
Closed Now
All hours
Hours Today: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Suggested Duration: 1-2 hours
50 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI 02840-3229
+1 401-847-0292
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Reviews (72)
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1 - 10 of 72 reviews

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

What a fabulous find! Our tour began on the front walk with a detailed description of the exterior. Elaine, our tour guide, is well-formed and obviously loves her subject. Her enthusiasm is infectious. This historic library features 93% of its original volumes, in addition to...More

Thank KittyF309
Reviewed 19 June 2017 via mobile

A historic story that has survived time. Coming here is a step back into time! Libraries were not always free and were once the oasis of the educated and wealthy. This library was founded in 1747, before the American Revolution. It's the oldest library still...More

1  Thank James S
Reviewed 3 June 2017 via mobile

What an amazing visit! The 200 plus year old trees out front are the first wonder of your visit. The portraits inside are true treasures. The books from the 1760s are spectacular. One note: there is a $10 fee for anyone over 18. It's well...More

Thank Malinda U
Reviewed 22 April 2017

Yes, there may be older libraries in Philadelphia and elsewhere, but this is the oldest lending library in continuous use in all of America. Pretty cool. Not only that, but it has also retained its architectural integrity over the years. Early preservationists saved the oldest...More

1  Thank ragtop_rider
Reviewed 30 March 2017

Beautiful building and inside architecture. Not sure if they offert tours but know they have readings on special nights

Thank sandra r
Reviewed 27 December 2016 via mobile

There are several lovely gifts for holiday shopping. Redwood member can receive 20% discount on all purchase. From now to March 2017 The Variable Line: Master Drawings, Renaissance to Contemporary in Van Allen Gallery.

1  Thank Raimund C
Reviewed 11 December 2016

A friend works here so we finally paid a visit here yesterday. People may walk by without paying much attention to the "mansion" but, when history of it unveils all we'd do was to awe, and to admire. That said the style of the edifice...More

Thank simonfung888
Gretchen M, Public Relations Manager at Redwood Library & Athenaeum, responded to this reviewResponded 13 December 2016

We are glad that you enjoyed your visit to the Redwood Library & Athenaeum! Yes, Thomas Jefferson visited George Washington in Newport in 1790 after which time he advocated the adoption of the neo-classical style for the nation's federal buildings. Designed by Peter Harrison, the...More

Reviewed 14 November 2016

In an amazing Palladian brownstone building, this library has a small but interesting collection of books and artwork. The building itself is really pretty, a nice place to hang out and relax while broadening your understanding of this fascinating city.

Thank michael g
Reviewed 10 October 2016

This is basically a very old and quiet library with early American portraits lining the walls up along the ceilings.

Thank Poppadoc
Reviewed 28 September 2016 via mobile

Great historical visit! Easy walking distance from the harbor and tourist sights. I highly recommend taking an hour for this unique collection.

Thank Alannah C
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