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“loved it!”

Redwood Library & Athenaeum
Ranked #38 of 115 things to do in Newport
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: 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.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access
Los Angeles, California
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“loved it!”
Reviewed 22 October 2013

Incredible library dating back to 1747, technically the oldest lending library in the country. Guided tours daily at 2pm for $5 was a bargain, spent about 40 minutes with a docent who was extremely knowledgeable and quite personable. If this sort of thing appeals to you, the Redwood will not disappoint.

Visited October 2013
Thank KuwaitiBob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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71 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
127 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“More than library”
Reviewed 6 October 2013

The history this place holds is amazing, like a little museum that is a must see. With all the talk about the "cottages", it would be easy to overlook the history of this building. The structure is wonderfully maintained and to walk in the footsteps of our forefathers is humbling, especially when you read the letter from George Washington. The staff is happy to answer all your questions. There is even a section for young children.

Visited October 2013
Thank TMJC11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
East Northport, New York
Level 6 Contributor
472 reviews
153 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem!”
Reviewed 28 September 2013

A great place to relax and spend the day browsing the extensive collection of artwork and ancient leather bound books, or settling in a cozy leather chair reading. Beautiful architecture, too! For a Self guided tour your asked to give a $2 donation. Guided tour donation is $5.

Visited September 2013
Thank Lo R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Newport, Rhode Island USA
Level 5 Contributor
95 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
“Walking in the footsteps of the American Forefathers”
Reviewed 15 September 2013

The magnificent collection of Books, Documents and Paintings contained in the Redwood Library is a must experience. To see where the very seeds of the United States were sewn and the sprouts of Freedom grows from. Looking into the painted eyes of some of the Founders of the United States will send chills through you.

Visited August 2013
Thank Joseph S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“A Must see for all those who love Librarys”
Reviewed 6 July 2013

This was very historical! A must see for those who love librarys and art! Beautiful enclosed books, leather bound, and amazing to look at the old leather bound books! A must stop and see how beautiful it is. Parking was so easy, free and up close! What a great site, I hope thay never change a thing!

Visited June 2013
Thank Dolly H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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