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Address: 50 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI 02840-3229
Phone Number: +1 401-847-0292
09:30 - 17:30
Open now
See all hours
Sun 13:00 - 17:00
Mon - Tue 09:30 - 17:30
Wed 09:30 - 20:00
Thu - Sat 09:30 - 17:30
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

About the Redwood Library and Athenaeum: Chartered in 1747 by 46 prominent...

About the Redwood Library and Athenaeum: Chartered in 1747 by 46 prominent citizens of Newport with "nothing in view but the good of mankind," the Redwood Library & Athenaeum 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 athenaeum 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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 65 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 40
  • 19
    Very good
  • 5
  • 0
  • 1
Remarkable library

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... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 weeks ago
michael g
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65 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 65: English reviews
Level Contributor
76 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

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
Washington State
Level Contributor
74 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 October 2016

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

Thank Poppadoc
Middle Haddam, Connecticut, United States
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles 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
Level Contributor
83 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 September 2016

What a great place to discover! If in Newport check out this little known treasure. Beautiful building and history. Take a look if you are in town.

Thank Fred454
Sandwich, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
27 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 August 2016

Admission is $10 if you're not a resident or student, otherwise it is free. My girlfriend and I are students, so we got in for free - and thank goodness because it would not have been worth $20. The building is beautiful and they had a couple of exhibits, but besides that there wasn't much.

Thank Jtries
Ridgeland, Mississippi
Level Contributor
79 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 August 2016

Beautiful museum as well as a Library. The walls just ooze History... One could spend an entire afternoon here...

Thank shchristy
New York
Level Contributor
165 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2016

I loved having this place just down the street from our hotel. There is an admission charge of $10 which is interesting as I have never seen this before. It is very small with a main reference area and another room filled with paintings of founding father's and other early immigrant families. I went on a Sunday when the reference... More 

Thank BuckeyeChef
Miami, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 June 2016

this is a historic library - a must visit and even better is they have a little nook where they sell books for $1 or less

Thank Jane W
Abingdon, Virginia
Level Contributor
58 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 June 2016

We were fortunate to attend a piano recital by a young German pianist at the Redwood Library, a historic museum/library in Newport, RI. You should make every effort to include a visit in you itinerary.

Thank Quertosomo2015
Mineola, New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 May 2016

As the place is on the small side, there isn't much of a "tour". The guide was terrific. Full of facts, interesting, extremely knowledgeable. We found it fascinating and wished she had talked to us even longer. We learned so much and enjoyed every minute of the her ability to present the history of this place.

Thank T R

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