The Philadelphia Athenaeum — a non-profit library in Washington West founded in 1814 — is without a doubt one of Philadelphia’s “hidden” treasures. Located on Philadelphia’s historic Washington Square, this year the Philadelphia Athenaeum is celebrating 200 years of offering its members access to a trove of historic items, fascinating lectures and networking events.

In honor of their 200th Anniversary, a documentary was made recently by History Making Productions’ about the library’s history. One of the things that has made the Athenaeum such a treasure is its vast collection of architecture and interior design archives which includes over 180,000 drawings and 350,000 photographs. The Philadelphia Athenaeum was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Even the building in which it is housed is a piece of living history, as it was created by famed architect John Notman in the 1840’s. Designed in the Italianate style, the building is one of the first in Philadelphia built entirely in brownstone.

The Athenaeum continues its 200-year celebration with a host of events, symposiums, lectures and tours.

At 12 noon on December 3, don’t miss Exploring The Athenaeum, Tips of The Iceberg: Join Gladys Brooks Curator of Architecture Bruce Laverty for the next talk in this monthly series. December’s monthly series will focus on the photography of Karl F. Lutz (1896-1976). Other interesting groups at the Athenaeum include the Socrates Café Discussion group and the genealogy group. These groups offer members of the Athenaeum an opportunity to meet one another and engage in exciting discussions. Be sure to visit the Athenaeum during your visit to Philadelphia it’s an opportunity to experience a fascinating and accessible slice of history in Washington Square West.