Any visit to New Harmony is likely to start at the Atheneum Visitors Center and Museum. The Atheneum is an important piece of modern architecture that somehow manages to stand out from the surrounding community and, paradoxically, fit right in.
Notable for its light and clean spaces, the Atheneum is a three story building with a long ramp and overlaying grids that provide beautiful views of the town, Wabash river and surrounding countryside from just about anywhere inside, and on the spacious viewing deck on the roof. It was designed so that visitors can take a specific path through the building and then emerge into New Harmony itself.
The Atheneum is named for the Greek Atheneum, a temple dedicated to Athena in ancient Greece. It was designed by the noted architect Richard Meier, who also designed the Getty Center in Los Angeles among other important works scattered throughout the world and it has won several prestigious architecture awards.
There are four galleries in the Atheneum Museum. The first hosts a gift shop and a spacious area that can be used for events. The second presents important people in New Harmony’s history, such as George Rapp and Robert Owen, and a 1/32 scale copy of the Harmonist Brick Church. The third gallery has a scale model of New Harmony in 1824. The fourth, which is closed to the public, is used for office space.
The tour of Historic New Harmony begins at the Atheneum and continues out to the town where visitors see and learn about other historically significant buildings such as the Granary, various Harmonist and Owen structures, and Thrall’s Opera House.
The Atheneum is available for receptions, small meetings, or other events.
It also includes a museum gift shop featuring books, home decor and other unique items with an historic New Harmony theme.
The Atheneum Visitors Center and Museum
401 N. Arthur Street
New Harmony, Indiana 47631
Phone: (800) 231-2168