athenaeum (plural athenaeums)
1. An association for the advancement of learning, particularly in the fields of science or literature
2. A building for storing books or newspapers; a library, reading-room etc.
The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, is significant because of its construction, the American landscape paintings and books from its original role as a public library and free art gallery, and funding by Horace Fairbanks, manufacturer of the world’s first platform scale. The art collection contains a number of Hudson River School paintings. This unaltered building retains a strong, Victorian (French Second Empire) flavor of the 19th century. It is one of about ten athenaeums in the United States.