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All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.
Thanks to our generous season sponsor, Bank of America.
October 2017
Wednesday, October 18 @ 6:30 pm8:30 pm

PCFF Jury Night

pcff-updated-logoJoin the Athenæum and the Providence Children’s Film Festival in critiquing short films for the upcoming 2018 Festival. Free & open to the public. Please register with Lindsay Shaw at or 421-6970 x17.

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Friday, October 20 @ 5:00 pm7:00 pm

Expressions of Freedom

SALON: Expressions of Freedom with Curator Nancy Bercaw

Presented with the Rhode Island Historical Society

Dr. Nancy Bercaw, lead curator of the “Slavery and Freedom” exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, will explore Rhode Island’s role in telling the story of global slavery. Beginning in the 15th century with the transatlantic slave trade and travelling through the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, the museum’s centerpiece exhibition “Slavery and Freedom” uses personal stories and priceless artifacts such as Harriet Tubman’s shawl and Nat Turner’s Bible to explore the economic and political legacies of slavery for all Americans. Dr. Bercaw will discuss the Rhode Island Historical Society’s role in the creation of this exhibit and its preservation of objects and stories from both slaves and slave traders.

Sponsored by Nat Rea Photography

Registration is required.



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Friday, October 27 @ 5:00 pm7:00 pm

Music & Muse

SALON: Music & Muse with Composer Eric Nathan

Composer and Brown University Assistant Professor of Music Eric Nathan will speak about his recent original compositions, “the space of a door” for orchestra and “how small a part of time,” a choral work with a text strung together from book titles found under “h” in the Athenæum’s card catalog. Nathan’s work is a journey in dialogues, performed throughout the world by performers and ensembles including conductor Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble. Nathan will discuss his creative process, the Athenæum as muse, and the collected energy of historical spaces to create music that contains “sadness, beauty and hopefulness all at once.”

Registration is required.



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November 2017
Friday, November 3 @ 5:00 pm7:00 pm

Making Sense of Science

SALON: Making Sense of Science with former NYT Science Editor Cornelia Dean

Presented with the University of Rhode Island’s Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting

Cornelia Dean, former New York Times Science Editor, joins Sunshine Menezes of URI’s Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting in a conversation about Dean’s recent book, Making Sense of Science: Separating Substance from Spin, which seeks to equip non-scientists with a set of critical tools to evaluate the scientific claims and controversies that shape our lives. Calling attention to the importance of narrative in telling compelling stories about science, Dean explores the price society pays when political agendas mix with ideologies in a world where “researchers gather data; politicians, business executives, or activists spin it; journalists misinterpret or hype it, and the rest of us don’t get it.” Timely and provocative, she warns us all, now more than ever, that we can no longer afford our collective scientific ignorance if we are to invest in our future.

Book signing to follow program.

Registration is required.



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