Home Hours/Directions History Programs Membership Donate Contact Index

Athenaeum Programs

General Information

Calendar of Events

Programs by Month:

Children's Events

Happenings Around Town

About Salons

Reading Groups

Our spring program season is made possible in part by the generous support of Campus Fine Wines, The Felicia Fund, RI State Council on the Arts, The Susan Jaffe Tane Foundation, and Taco/The White Family Foundation. 


Programs are made possible in part by a grant from the RI State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the RI General Assembly and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

February 2015 Salons and Programs

Our spring program season is made possible in part by the generous support of Campus Fine Wines, The Felicia Fund, The Susan Jaffe Tane Foundation, and Taco/The White Family Foundation.


Thursday, 2/5, 7pm: Book Launch: Allen Kurzweil on his new book Whipping Boy, the Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully. Equal parts childhood memoir and literary thriller, Whipping Boy takes Kurzweil from a Swiss boarding school (where he endures horrifying cruelty) to the slums of Manila, from the Park Avenue boardroom of the world's largest law firm to a federal prison camp in Southern California, and features an international cast of unforgettable eccentrics. A scrupulously researched work of nonfiction that renders a childhood menace into an unlikely muse, Whipping Boy is a surreal odyssey born out of suffering, nourished by rancor, tempered by wit, and resolved, unexpectedly, in a breathtaking act of personal courage. Books for sale and signing made available by our generous friends at the Brown Bookstore.

Friday, 2/6, 5-7pm: SALON: Athenaeum Director of Programs and Public Engagement Christina Bevilacqua and research assistant Jane'a Johnson on "The Athenaeum Salon: Past, Present, and Future," part 6 of "The Cosmology of Conversation," a series on the history of the salon. Bevilacqua is a 2014-15 as a Community Fellow at Brown’s John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, where she is working with Johnson, a PhD student in Brown's Department of Modern Culture and Media, on a variety of projects focused the history and future of the Athenaeum Salon.  Join them for a discussion of their fellowship work, the role of the Salon within the Athenaeum and the larger community, and the ideals and ideas for spring and beyond.

Friday, 2/13, 5-7pm: SALON, co-presented with FirstWorks: Violinist and Community MusicWorks musician Chase Spruill on "Another Look at Harmony" (Through Philip Glass), an intimate evening of discovery and inquiry into the musical realm of composer Philip Glass. Spruill is currently touring North America and Europe as a duo with pianist and longtime director of the Philip Glass Ensemble Michael Riesman, premiering the newest Philip Glass concert works for the stage. He is uniquely qualified, then, to present a conversation on the music of Philip Glass, which continues to be hotly debated amongst lovers and detractors of his distinctive, infectious style. With a prodigious output of music for concert stages, opera houses, galleries and theaters of every kind, Glass is arguably the most influential American composer working today, influencing artists in every field. Over the years, critics have tried to categorize the hypnotic, sweeping, cyclical nature of his music, calling it minimalist and repetitive. But where does the music of Philip Glass have its genesis? How has it developed? And where is it going next? Join Spruill for consideration of these and other questions. This Salon presentation sets the context for  FirstWorks' "Philip Glass: An Evening of Chamber Music, Featuring Composer and Pianist Philip Glass and Violinist Tim Fain," on stage 2/25  at 7:30 at the Vets, more here: Special offer for Athenaeum friends: purchase tickets to the 2/25 concert at a 20% discount! Go to this site and use the Promo Code Athen20:

Friday, 2/20, 5-7pm: SALON: Bard Graduate Center Assistant Professor of European and American Textiles Michele Majer on "La Mode à la girafe: Fashion, Culture, and Politics in Bourbon Restoration France,"  part 3 of 'What use is the giraffe?' – The Evolution of Science, Society, and Spectacle in the Cosmopolitan 19th Century, a series on the giraffe who went to Paris in 1827. (Note: this Salon is rescheduled from April 2014.)

Tuesday, 2/24: 5:15-7pm: Library Orientation, Tour, and Reception (reception 5:15-5:45pm; presentation 5:45-6; building & special collections tours 6-7). All welcome, whether potential, new, or longstanding members; join us for any portion of the evening you can. Please RSVP to Kirsty Dain at or 421-6970 x14.


Friday, 2/27, 5-7pm: SALON: Brown University Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions research fellow Marc J. Dunkelman on his recent book The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community, part 7 of “The Cosmology of Conversation,” a series on the history of the salon. Technology and the new routines of everyday life connect tight-knit circles and expand the breadth of our social landscapes, but sap the commonplace, incidental interactions that for centuries built local communities and fostered healthy debate. Dunkelman posits that the institutions that were erected to support what Tocqueville called the "township"—that unique locus of the power of citizens—are failing because they haven't yet been molded to the realities of the new American community. Join us for a conversation on how we adapt yesterday's institutions to the realities of the twenty-first-century American community. Books for sale and signing made available by our generous friends at the Brown Bookstore.


March Programs