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Banner Image: Busch Reading Room, c.1972.

Membership    ·    New Books    ·    Current Exhibition    ·    Event Calendar

Banner Image: Banner Image: Busch Reading Room, c.1972.


Current Exhibition-Face & Form: The Art and Caricature of Frank Furness


Louis Sullivan called Furness the man who made “buildings out of his head.” For a new and fascinating glimpse inside that head, the Athenaeum presents this exhibition of Furness sketchbooks. Dating from the 1860s through the 1890s these sketches, which include buildings, people, and animals galore, provide a rare opportunity to comprehend the world as Furness saw it. Preserved by several lines of the architect’s descendants, this show will be the first time these items have been publicly exhibited.


This exhibition is generously supported by The Barra Foundation.


Exhibition Dates: November 30-January 11


Gallery Talk: There will be a gallery talk by guest curator Michael J. Lewis on Thursday, January 3 at 5:30pm.  Space is limited.  To RSVP contact Susan Gallo at 215-925-2688 or


See coverage of the exhibition at WHYY Newsworks and The Wall Street Journal.


Upcoming Events

Gail Caskey Winkler, Capricious Fancy: Draping and Curtaining the Historic Interior, 1800-1930.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 6:00 PM

Chronicling changes in fashionable curtain and drapery styles in the United States and Europe during the Industrial Revolution, this amply illustrated volume presents Gail Winkler’s extensive research on this topic using the Athenaeum collections, and especially the Samuel J. Dornsife Collection of the Victorian Society in America. As deeply researched as it is colorfully illustrated, Capricious Fancy marks the communication of fashionable drapery styles from Paris to London and to North America.  Gail Caskey Winkler, FASID, has been a Lecturer at the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. She is Senior Partner of LCA Associates (Winkler & Moss), a design firm specializing in historic interiors.

Free for Athenaeum Members. RSVP to Susan Gallo at 215-925-2688 or  All others $10, online payment 


Alexander B. Bartlett and Robert W. Sands, Independence Hall and The Liberty Bell.

Friday, December 14, 2012, 3:30 PM

Filled with images from the archives of Independence National Historical Park, the Philadelphia Department of Records, and collections from around the country, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell illustrates how these two historic relics have evolved over the centuries and adds new insights into our interpretations of American historical icons.

Free for Athenaeum Members. RSVP to Susan Gallo at 215-925-2688 or  All others $10, online payment 

Reference Room To Close During Renovation

The Athenaeum’s Henry Paul Busch Reference Room will be closed from November 30, 2012 through April 1, 2013 to accommodate window restoration, removal of the current mezzanine shelving, and the construction of new shelving on the south wall.  During this time, the reference book and serials collection will be unavailable to researchers, members and staff.  Reference and reproduction questions concerning architectural drawings, photos and archival materials will be answered by staff, but in-person consultation of these materials may not be possible during this closure.  Efforts will be made to accommodate Athenaeum members, and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience this construction may cause.


Member News


John Gallery Receives Preservation Honor Award


The National Trust for Historic Preservation presented its 2012 John H. Chafee Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy to John Gallery, the Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Since becoming Executive Director in 2002, Gallery has been a leading voice for historic preservation in Philadelphia. His advocacy has led to a number of recent successes, including local designation of the historic public interior spaces of the Family Court Building on Logan Square and legislation that protects the historic character of Market Street. The award was presented at the National Preservation Awards ceremony in Spokane, Wash., on November 2. The National Preservation Awards are bestowed on distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to their communities through preservation of our architectural and cultural heritage.



Publications by Robert Spencer Barnett


The Society for College and University Planning published a book by Robert Spencer Barnett AIA titled Hindsight–Foresight: from the Founding to the Future of Five Ivy League Campuses in the October 2012 online journal Planning for Higher Education. The University of Pennsylvania is one of the five along with Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia. The November 2012 issue of Architectural Record included an article titled "Expanding Universities" also by Mr. Barnett.  For an interview with Robert Barnett regarding his latest publication, click here.

Joanna Rotte leads Asian Arts Series


The Asian Studies Program at Villanova University, led by Athenaeum member Joanna Rotte, will mount a series of programs in winter/spring 2013 celebrating Asian Arts.  Launching this series of events will be The Beautiful Life of the Woman Komachi, written by Joanna Rotte and directed by Elizabeth Dowd, Producing Director, Noh Training Project, with original music by David Crandall, Theatre Nohgaku..  This first event is free and open to the public and will take place beginning January 18th.  For tickets and information visit  For more information regarding the Asian Arts Festival of free events, click here.



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