Friday, January 29, 2010

Another Hidden Treasure of Salem -- The Athenaeum

A beautiful mural on the staircase is just one of the many art treasures in this historic building.
Jean Marie Procious, Director of The Salem Athenaeum, and Francie King, President

After Hours for the Salem Chamber of Commerce -- many attended and enjoyed great conversation and networking.

The Stacks of the Salem Athenaeum

Rinus Oosthoek, Executive Director of the Salem Chamber of Commerce.

I am very embarrassed to say that I have never been inside the Salem Athenaeum until last night, despite the fact that I walk by it at least 100 times a year. My stock excuse is that when I walk by in the morning on my way to work, and in the evening on the way home, it is closed.

However, I finally had the opportunity last night, because they opened their doors for the Salem Chamber of Commerce After Hours event. I am so happy that they did this, because it truly is a treasure for Salem to have one of only 16 membership libraries in the United States.

The photos above will help to explain how beautiful it is inside.

Anyone may enter and use the library when it is open. The hours are as follows:

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 1pm to 5pm

Thursdays: 5pm to 9pm

Saturdays: 10am to 2pm

You do not need to be a member to use the books and other offerings there. There is much of historical value to see in the Athenaeum, so visitors should make it one of their Top 10 Free Things to See in Salem.

If you do want to check books and materials out of the library, you do need to become a member, but at only $90 per year for a household, it is a great bargain. And you can even become a proprietor of the library if shares become available. Just think -- being 1/100th owner of all this great history, and all these terrific books! You do have to wait for a proprietorship to become available for purchase, but I am certain that offering must go to members first.

I do hope you won't be like me, and wait 10 years before you take the opportunity to go inside to see this lovely resource. It is in the historic McIntire District, only a 10 minute walk from the Hawthorne Hotel, and is located at 337 Essex Street here in Salem, MA.

Their phone number is 978-744-2540, and they do host a number of notable events, including readings, talks, and musical events. Again, you do not need to be a member to attend these events, but you will pay less if you are.


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