Providence Athenaeum interior by Kenneth C Zirkel

Walking Tour: Rare Books & Beautiful Art in Providence

Heritage Tour
In Person
October 29, 2022 10:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET
251 Benefit Street, Providence, Rhode Island
Curt DiCamillo

This fall, join Curt DiCamillo, Curator of Special Collections at American Ancestors, and other prominent local scholars for a delightful, art-filled day in Providence! Founded in 1636 by Roger Williams as a safe haven from the Puritans of Massachusetts, Rhode Island’s capital city is today a thriving international cultural hub that is the exemplar of small town charm and big city culture. 

Our visit begins at the Providence Athenaeum, one of the great private libraries of America. Named “one of the most beautiful libraries in the world” by Condé Nast Traveler, the Athenaeum manages to be both cozy and grand. Founded in 1753, the library is filled with an outstanding collection of books and art and serves as a vibrant community library and education center. Edgar Allan Poe even courted his Providence fiancée, Sarah Helen Whitman, among its stacks! Executive Director Matt Burriesci will give us a private tour of this lovely building and its special collections, including a look at some of the library’s newest acquisitions.

We’ll then walk down historic Benefit Street to a nearby restaurant for lunch before heading to the Museum of Art of the Rhode Island School of Design (the RISD Museum), the 20th largest art museum in the United States and one of great collegiate art collections of North America. Spanning six floors, the collection of over 100,000 objects is exceptionally broad and includes works from Europe, Asia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Americas. Here we will have a private highlights tour of the museum’s outstanding holdings, after which you can spend time on your own exploring the collection. 

NOTE: Meet at the Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street. Tour includes lunch. There will be moderate walking during the tour. Additional information will be provided by email prior to the start of the event.


Photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel

Curt DiCamillo
Decorative Arts
Historic Houses
Curt DiCamillo, who joined American Ancestors/NEHGS in February of 2016 as the organization’s first Curator of Special Collections, is an internationally recognized authority on British historic houses and the decorative arts.
Providence, Rhode Island

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