Wilbraham & Monson has opened the Athenaeum, a 5,500-square-foot space located between Smith Hall and Alumni Memorial Chapel, and it is connected to Gill Memorial Library. The Athenaeum has been dedicated as the Griffin Athenaeum, in memory of former Board of Trustees member William A. Griffin '68W.
The Athenaeum - which doubles as our library - was built to accommodate the need for intentional community space, academic collaborative space and the beginning of a campus reorganization that satisfies several needs of our Campus Master Plan.
With its rich history, Gill Memorial Library is currently being used as a classroom to accommodate the need for additional, socially distanced space. It will later serve as an extension of the Athenaeum, as well as additional space for Alumni Memorial Dining Hall (formerly Alumni Memorial Chapel) and community functions.
Gill Memorial Library was named after Benjamin Gill, who taught at the Academy from 1872-1892. The Library was dedicated in 1916 in its previous location in Rich Hall before being moved in 1960 to its current location in Alumni Memorial Chapel.
Alumni Memorial Chapel, which formerly housed the Academy's all-school meeting space and now has been converted to additional (socially distanced) dining space, was designed in the Gothic Revival style in the 1860s (Dedicated in 1870). Its construction was interrupted by the Civil War.
The chapel was said to be part of the Underground Railroad at around the same time. When the Chapel was first built it was not technically part of the Academy’s campus and was simply called “The stone church.” The Chapel was used by the Academy and the town of Wilbraham. In the mid-1930s the Church was falling into disrepair. Ownership was turned over to the Academy by the Methodist Society and the Academy then funded a complete renovation.