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1171 Main Street
St. Johnsbury, VT, 05819
United States



Upcoming Events

3:00 pm15:00

VPR's Dorothy's List is Coming to the Athenaeum!

The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum is hosting a Dorothy’s List (VPR’s book club for kids) discussion group, featuring the book Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson.

Students should read the book and prepare three questions about the book or the author before the event.

VPR’s Amy Noyes will record this discussion, which will be made into a podcast and broadcast on VPR!

Haven’t read the book yet? There are copies available for checkout at the Athenaeum. 

Contact Adele West-Fisher, Youth Services Librarian, prior to the event to sign up and complete a media release.


7:00 pm19:00

1st Wednesdays: Face to Face with the Emotional Brain with Paul Whalen

Whether around the caveman’s fire or the conference table, no signal is
more important to humans’ interpreting social interactions and future
behavior than the smile. Dartmouth Professor of Psychological and
Brain Sciences Paul Whalen explores how the human brain processes
the facial expressions of others and what these responses mean for
understanding our emotional lives.

Watch Paul Whalen's Ted Talk HERE.

1:00 pm13:00

Victorian Holiday Celebration

Vic Holiday 2015.jpg

A Reading of the Polar Express in the Gallery at 12:00 Noon Followed by Holiday Crafts in the Youth Room Beginning at 1:00 PM: Music by area schools, Bill Tobin, and the a capella group, Cantate! Director Bob Joly will conclude the program with a Christmas Reading. Refreshments will be served.

12:00 pm12:00

The Polar Express: Reading in the Athenaeum

The Polar Express is coming to town during Victorian Christmas at the Athenaeum!  Be on time to board at noon as we make our way through the Athenaeum to the Gallery to hear a reading of the Polar Express with a special guest reader.  There will be holiday crafts and hot chocolate.  Continue the fun upstairs at 1:00 p.m. for additional holiday music and presentations.

7:00 pm19:00

First Wednesdays: The Medici Grand Dukes: Art and Politics in Renaissance Florence


UVM professor Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio will explain how art influenced politics in Renaissance Florence in a talk at St. Johnsbury Athenaeum on December 7 at 7:00 pm. Her talk, “The Medici Grand Dukes: Art and Politics in Renaissance Florence,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.

Professor Di Dio will consider how, despite scandals and even murder, the Medici Grand Dukes maintained their power and prominence for nearly two centuries by giving gifts of art by the great Florentine masters to kings, popes, and emperors.

Kelley Helmstutler Di Dio is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Vermont.  She is a specialist of Italian and Spanish sculpture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; her research has been supported by fellowships from the Ministry of Arts and Culture of Spain, the Kress Foundation, the Medici Archive Project, and Harvard’s Center for Renaissance Studies “Villa I Tatti.”  In addition to many articles and essays, she has published several books: Leone Leoni and the Status of the Artist at the End of the Renaissance, Sculpture Collections in Early Modern Spain (with Rosario Coppel), Leone Leoni: Faith and Fame (with Rosario Coppel), and Making and Moving Sculptures in Early Modern Italy.  She has lectured at the Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Wallace Collection, London, the Istituto di Studi Rinascimentali, Ferrara, Italy, as well as at numerous conferences across Europe and North America.

Read more about the First Wednesdays series Here.

10:00 am10:00

Young Writers Workshop

THE 3 SECRETS:  Unlockingeach phase of the writing process with authorDoug Wilhelm.  This is an interactive live stream workshop with the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, Aldrich Public Library, Barre Joslin Memorial Library, Waitsfield Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Montpelier Rockingham Free Public Library and Rutland Free Library.  All ages welcome.  Refreshments provided.   The Young Writers workshop is sponsored by The Young Writers Project; Vermont Department of Libraries; Vermont Humanities; and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.         


Dec 21

Vermont Reads Shackleton: Free Movies and Events

In conjunction with the Vermont Humanities Council 2016 VERMONT READS selection and with our friends from the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, the Fairbanks Museum, and Catamount Arts, we are pleased to present a series of events for Fall 2016.

Wednesday, November 16, 7 pm
The Southern Ocean
An Illustrated Lecture by Dr. Steven B. Young
Fairbanks Museum

Wednesday, November 23
"March of the Penguins"
Catamount Arts

Wednesday,  November 30, 7 pm
"The Endurance: Shackleton's legendary Antarctic Expedition"
Catamount Arts

Wednesday, December 7, 7 pm
"Antarctica: A Year on Ice"
Catamount Arts

Wednesday, December 14, 7 pm
"Chasing Ice"
Catamount Arts

Wednesday, December 21, 7 pm
"Encounters from the End of the World"
Catamount Arts

All Center for Circumpolar Studies Events are Free & Open to the public.
Donations Gratefully Accepted

6:30 pm18:30

Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group: Bury the Chains

For the November meeting of the Athenaeum's non-fiction book discussion group, we will read and discuss Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves, by Adam Hochschild, a narrative of the struggle to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire.

We have multiple copies available for check out at the circulation desk. If you would like to reserve a copy,  speak with any circulation staff, or email librarian Christian Collins at

Refreshments will be served.





Nov 12

Winnie the Pooh Stuffed Animal Sleepover

Winnie the Pooh is celebrating National Animal Shelter Appreciation week by hosting a sleepover for stuffed animal friends!  Stuffed animals can be dropped off anytime Friday afternoon, November 11 until 6:30 p.m.  Pick up is Saturday, November 12 at 10:30 p.m.  There will be breakfast treats and a few Winnie the Pooh stories.  The Athenaeum will be open until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday if you cannot pick your stuffed animal up at 10:30 a.m.  All ages welcome! 

As a community service for the Kingdom Animal Shelter, Winnie the Pooh is asking that everyone bring something to contribute to the shelter, such as, non-clumping kitty litter, Friskies, wet, 5.5 oz. cans of cat food, paper towels, cotton balls, Q-Tips, duct tape; the Wish List on the Kingdom Animal Shelter website has many more items listed.  For the complete Wish List, go to

1:30 pm13:30

Polar Regions Presentation for Children of All Ages

Victoria Hust from the Center for Circumpolar Studies, Inc. will be at the Athenaeum with polar gear and slides to discuss the similarities and differences between the Arctic and Antarctic regions including animals, weather, landforms, etc.  Time for Q&A to follow.  Geared to elementary and middle school students, but everyone is welcome!

7:00 pm19:00

Ambassadors Ronald Neumann and Robert Ford in Conversation

Middle East Policy Options for the Next Administration

At the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum on Friday evening, November 4 at 7 PM Ambassador (retired) Ronald Neumann, formerly the American ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain and most recently to Afghanistan, will speak about American foreign policy, the Middle East and what awaits the new President. St. Johnsbury resident Robert Ford will introduce him and, after Ambassador Neumann’s remarks, Ford will pose a few questions to Neumann. The audience can then follow with more questions.

Ambassador Neumann is now president of the American Academy of Diplomacy in Washington. The Academy provides the Secretary of State and Congress with assessments and analysis of how budget proposals will affect the conduct of our foreign policy worldwide and the impact on the U.S. diplomatic service.

Ambassador Neumann served as a U.S. Army lieutenant in Vietnam, and then worked in the U.S. diplomatic service from 1970 until he retired in 2007.  At the end of his career he was considered one of the State Department’s top experts in how the diplomatic service and the military services should collaborate in crisis situations.  He began his career in Iran and later worked in Abu Dhabi and Yemen.  He was the American ambassador to Algeria 1994-1997 during that country’s civil war, and later worked at the American Embassy in Iraq (2004 to 2005) coordinating U.S. diplomatic efforts with the ongoing American military operations in the war there.  In 2005 the Senate confirmed him asthe American ambassador to Afghanistan where he worked from 2005 to 2007. 

Ambassador Neumann is the author of a 2009 book The Other War:  Winning and Losing in Afghanistan.  He still regularly visits that country as a member of study teams invited by the American military commander to provide assessments of U.S. strategies and estimates of where the war in Afghanistan is headed.  He has appeared in such media as the New York Times, NPR and CNN.




Nov 30

Secondhand Prose Book Sale All of November

1222 Main Street
St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

50 cent Fiction Paperbacks
$1.00 Hardcover Fiction
(some restrictions apply)

All sales will be donated to the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum for youth and adult programming and reading materials. 

Nov 30

VVMA Partners with the Athenauem to Celebrate One Health Day

VVMA Logo.jpg

The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum is partnering with the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association to celebrate the first One Health Day on November 3, 2016.

.  The concept of One Health recognizes that human health, animal health, and environmental health are closely interrelated and thus should often be considered as a whole.  This concept comes quite naturally to veterinarians, who have animals for patients and humans for clients.  Moreover, veterinarians who have food animals for patients have clients who are naturally very concerned with environmental health.

A collection of 8 new books related to One Health topics will be on loan to the Athenaeum, and will be available for circulation through the month of November. A signup sheet will be available for those readers who are interested in future participation in a One Health book club.

Click HERE for a VVMA One Health Day Infographic

7:00 pm19:00

First Wednesdays: Hamlet in Prison

Author Ilan Stavans Shares Inmates' Insights into Hamlet

Celebrated literary critic Ilan Stavans will share his experience teaching Shakespeare in correctional facilities in a talk at St. Johnsbury Athenaeum on November 2 at 7:00 pm. His talk, “Hamlet in Prison,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.

Stavans will discuss his teaching of Hamlet in correctional facilities, and share insights his classes have made about the play and revenge, freedom, and redemption.

Stavans is an internationally known, award-winning cultural critic, linguist, translator, public speaker, editor, short-story writer, and TV host, whose best-selling work focuses on language, identity, politics, and history. Born in Mexico in 1961 into a Jewish family with roots in Eastern Europe, he was raised in a multilingual environment. He is the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships, and other honors, including an Emmy nomination, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Jewish Book Award, the Latino Hall of Fame Award, Chile’s Presidential Medal, and several grants. He is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. His many books include Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language and Quixote: The Novel and the World.

4:00 pm16:00

Halloween Trick or Treat Open House

Trick or treating starts at 4:00 p.m. on Main Street. Add to your fun by walking in the Halloween Parade with the Athenaeum Teen Advisory Board!  Meet on Charles Street next to the Fairbanks Museum at5:30 pm; the parade begins at 5:45.  Come join us for a Spooky Scavenger Hunt in the Athenaeum before or after the parade. Make sure you drop by Secondhand Prose afterwardsfor a free book!

Looking for donations of gently used children’s books for Halloween give away.  Donations can be left at the circulation desk by Oct. 30.



11:00 am11:00

Secondhand Prose 10th Anniversary Celebration and Open House

1222 Main Street, St. Johnsbury

1222 Main Street, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819

The Friends of the Athenaeum and the staff of the volunteer-operated Secondhand Prose Bookstore invite you to stop by, share some refreshments and meet many of the Friends who envisioned the store and have dedicated countless hours toward its operation and success for the past decade.

Proceeds from the store have helped to support programming and materials for the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Library and Art Gallery.

6:30 pm18:30

Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group: Presidential Leadership

Thanks to everyone who took part in our September non-fiction book discussion about Shackleton and the voyage of the Endurance. Our next meeting will be Wednesday, October 26th at 6:30 pm. We will be exploring the theme of presidential leadership, and the qualities that make some U.S. presidents stand out as visionary and effective leaders, with a particular focus on U.S. presidents up through the early 20th century.

You are encouraged to choose a book from the list below-- or another one from our collection or your personal library-- read it, and come prepared to share the insights you've gleaned about presidential leadership.

Refreshments will be served.

Suggested Reading:

-Chernow, R. (2010). Washington: A life.

-Ellis, J. J. (1997). American sphinx: The character of Thomas Jefferson.

-Foner, E. (2010). The fiery trial: Abraham Lincoln and American slavery

-Goodwin, D. K. (2013). The bully pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of journalism.

-Gordon-Reed, A., & Onuf, P. S. (2016). "Most blessed of the patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the empire of the imagination.

-Gordon-Reed, A. (2008). The Hemingses of Monticello: An American family       

-McCullough, D. G. (2001). John Adams.

-Meacham, J. (2008). American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.

-Russell, F. (2005). Adams, an American dynasty. Edison, N.J: Castle Books.

-Shlaes, A. (2013). Coolidge. 

-Vidal, G. (2003). Inventing a nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson

-White, R. C. (2009). A. Lincoln: A biography.

Oct 31

Jack-O-Lantern Contest!

The Athenaeum is searching for a few scary, goofy, fancy, creative jack-o-lanterns for its first annual Jack-O-Lantern Contest!  Carve a Jack-O-Lantern and bring it by the Athenaeum sometime after October 26.  Winners will beannounced November 1.


10:00 am10:00

Acorn Club Literacy Celebration with Children's Author David Martin

David Martin, children’s author and illustrator, will be leading our celebration with stories and songs to delight children and adults.  Parents, caregivers, and childcare centers with small children are encouraged to attend.  Each child will receive a free book!  The Literacy Celebration will take the place of Storytime on that Friday. This event is made possible through the generous donations of TD Bank, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, and the Friends of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.


6:00 pm18:00

Meet the Candidates for the House of Representatives

  • Philip Aldridge

  • Rep. Scott Beck

  • Scott Campbell

  • Corey Raynor

  • Rep. Janssen Willhoit

  • Moderator: David Reynolds

The event is free and all are welcome! Meet the candidates and learn more about their plans for leadership, and how they will represent our community around issues that matter most to you. The audience will have the opportunity to provide questions for the candidates.
Need to register to vote? The League of Women Voters and the St. Johnsbury Business and Professional Women (BPW) are providing a voter registration and resource table.
For more information about the event or its sponsors contact Ann Moore at 802.535.8695. Learn more about the candidates and be an informed voter!

Co-hosted by: Business and Professional Women of Vermont; The Caledonian Record; The League of Women Voters.



7:00 pm19:00

Death Cafe

Could facing our own mortality inspire us to live our lives more fully?

Held worldwide, this informal small table discussion about death has no agenda, no directive and no specific message to be shared. Questions? Call Abby Pollender, 748-7473. Everyone is welcome — free of charge.

6:30 pm18:30

Halloween Family Movie Night

On her 13th birthday, Marnie learns she's a witch, discovers a secret portal, and is transported to Halloweentown--a magical place where ghosts and ghouls, witches and werewolves live apart from the human world. But she soon finds herself battling wicked warlocks, evil curses, and endless surprises. A Disney Comedy for all ages! 

Rated: PG   Run Time:  84 minutes

7:00 pm19:00

Vermont as a Model for Sustainable Living & Economics

The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and the Shambhala Meditation Center of St. Johnsbury are delighted to present an inspiring and interactive dialogue among experts in the fields of economics, leadership, climate action and community building.Join these presenters for an evening of food, conversation and creative thinking:

  • George Lakey, author of Viking Economics
  • Jane Arthur, former director of Vermont Leadership Institute
  • Gwendolyn Hallsmith, founder of Vermonters for a New Economy
  • K.C. Whiteley, board member from

Vermont can be the forerunner, and lead the nation toward a sustainable future!

People often say that Vermont is too small and our footprint is relatively insignificant, therefore there's really not much we can do to affect change. In fact, our political system, economic structure, and way of life are more conducive to positive change, for those same reasons. 

Vermont has what it takes to be a forerunner in establishing a sustainable lifestyle in the face of climate disruption:

  • We have the financial infrastructure that could readily lend itself to establishing a state bank. A state-owned bank could retain millions of dollars in Vermont for construction of roads and bridges, to fund our schools and agricultural enterprises, retro-fit our homes for energy efficiency, and invest in alternatives to fossil fuels.
  • We have young people coming to Vermont with energy and ideas for local sustainable farming practices and distribution of nourishing foods.
  • Our legislators are accessible and we have a reverence for Nature--Vermont could actually be a model for the rest of the nation.

The goal of the evening is to join our minds and hearts in the spirit of moving forward--moving things in a better direction!

Refreshments will be provided. The only other ingredient is you. 

7:00 pm19:00

1st Wednesdays: Philip Caputo: Putting the Sword to the Pen

Journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Rumor of War Philip Caputo will discuss the treatment of war in his writing in a talk at St. Johnsbury Athenaeum on October 5 at 7:00 pm. His talk, “Putting the Sword to the Pen,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.

Caputo will reflect on how, in his work, war is a context in which our contradictory natures play out, often with stark clarity.

Caputo has written 16 books. His acclaimed memoir of Vietnam, A Rumor of War, has been published in 15 languages, sold two million copies since its publication in 1977, and is widely regarded as a classic in the literature of war. He has published dozens of major magazine articles, reviews, and op-ed pieces in publications including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and National Geographic. He has won ten journalistic and literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for team investigative reporting with the Chicago Tribune. He was born in Chicago, graduated from Loyola University, and served in the US Marine Corps from 1964 to 1967.

4:00 pm16:00

Author Reading and Book Signing: Maryl Danzinger

Meryl Danzinger will be reading from her new book, Sing It!: A Biography of Pete Seeger.  Pete Seeger—singer, songwriter, social activist, environmentalist—he filled his toolbox with songs and set out to repair whatever in the world was broken. …..listeners will be surprised to discover how many familiar songs, people, and projects somehow connect back to this one individual ( Meryl Danzinger lives in Manhattan and works as founder and director of Music House, a unique, highly individualized alternative to traditional music lessons (  A book signing and refreshments will follow the presentation.

Oct 12

Vermont Reads Children's Book Club

This book club will meet on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.  It is for students on a 5th grade reading level and higher.  The featured book is Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong, which will be checked out to students at the first meeting.  In addition to the discussion, students will produce an art or science project that will reflect the theme of the book which will be on display at a Shackleton/Antarctic themed movie night.  Contact Adele West-Fisher, Youth Services Librarian, to sign up.