Northeast Kingdom Chamber of Commerce Business Directory

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum & Art Gallery

St. Johnsbury, VT

The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum is located on Main Street in St. Johnsbury in heart of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  It has been serving patrons since 1871.

The Athenaeum is the legacy of the Fairbanks family who were the inventors and manufacturers of the platform scale.  Due to their business successes and philanthropy during the late nineteenth century, the family created the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, St. Johnsbury Academy, and North Congregational Church.

The family also produced two of Vermont’s Governors, one of whom was the founder of the Athenaeum. In 1871, Horace Fairbanks gave “the people of St. Johnsbury” a library that housed a collection of 9,000 finely-bound books. These were selected by bibliographer William F. Poole.   

Today, the Athenaeum library is the largest public library in the region and has the most comprehensive collections.

In 1873, the Art Gallery was added to the building.  The Art Gallery, displaying its original Victorian-period interior design (pictured), features paintings by artists of the Hudson River School including Jasper Cropsey, Asher B. Durand, Sanford Gifford, and Worthington Whittredge. 

A prominent painting in the gallery is Albert Bierstadt’s mammoth 10-by-15 foot masterpiece Domes of the Yosemite, one of the most famous paintings in America (pictured).  The Library and Art Gallery were designed by John Davis Hatch III in the Second Empire Style and built by Lambert Packard. In 1996, the Athenaeum was designated as a National Historic Landmark, one of only seven arts-based National Historic Landmarks in New England.

The mission of the Athenaeum is promoting life-long learning through art, literature and information services, and preserving its National Landmark building, collections and furnishings. 

This listing appears in these categories: Art Galleries,Artisans & Artists,Attractions,Education,Shopping/Retail - Complete Listings

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St. Johnsbury Athenaeum & Art Gallery

Bob Joly
1171 Main Street
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819
Phone: 802-748-8291
Fax: 802-748-8086

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1171 Main Street

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