ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif., is a collections-based research and educational center serving scholars and the general public. Surrounded by 120 acres of breathtaking gardens are four public galleries showcasing the institution’s deep collections of rare books and manuscripts, European art from the 15th to the early 20th century, and American art from the late 17th to the mid 20th century, as well as temporary art, library, and botanical exhibitions. Each year, more than 500,000 visitors from around the world visit The Huntington, and more than 1,600 researchers conduct scholarly studies among its vast collections.
The Huntington’s collections form the basis for advanced humanities research, and each year The Huntington awards approximately $1.7 million in fellowships to scholars through a competitive peer-review process, providing them with an opportunity to study here. The collections also provide a multitude of educational opportunities through school programs, teacher education, and special events for children and families.
The Huntington was founded by railroad and real estate magnate Henry Edwards Huntington in 1919. The galleries and gardens opened to the public in 1928. The private, nonprofit institution is supported by gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies, and by a private endowment that provides about 40 percent of the institution’s annual operating budget.
At the heart of The Huntington is the Library, which contains nearly 9 million manuscripts, books, photographs, and other works in the fields of American and British history, literature, art, and the history of science. Among the highlights of the collection are the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (ca. 1400–1405); a Gutenberg Bible on vellum (ca. 1455); a world-class collection of early editions of Shakespeare; original letters of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Abraham Lincoln; an unsurpassed collection of materials relating to the history of the American West; and outstanding holdings in the history of science.
THE ART COLLECTIONS
The Huntington Art Gallery houses The Huntington’s European art collection. Originally the Beaux Arts mansion built for Henry and Arabella Huntington in 1911, the building is now home to a world famous collection of British paintings, notably Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy, Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie, Joshua Reynolds’ Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse, and works by John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, George Romney, and Anthony van Dyck. In addition, it showcases a fine collection of French decorative arts and Renaissance paintings, including Rogier van der Weyden’s 15th-century masterpiece Virgin and Child, considered by many to be the most important painting at The Huntington. In total, the European art collections include about 420 paintings, approximately 370 works of sculpture, more than 2,500 decorative art objects, and 20,000 prints and drawings.
Just a short walk across the Shakespeare Garden are the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, where American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts are on display, including works by Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, Frederic Remington, Gilbert Stuart, Edward Hopper, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Andy Warhol. The American art holdings now number about 250 paintings, 70 sculpture, 1,000 decorative art objects, 8,700 prints and drawings, and about 1,800 photographs.
Smaller, focused art exhibitions are presented in the Susan and Stephen Chandler Wing of the Scott Galleries and in the Works on Paper Room of the Huntington Art Gallery. Major changing exhibitions are presented in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery, a historic building (originally Henry and Arabella Huntington’s garage built in 1911) that was renovated as an exhibition space and opened in 2000.
THE BOTANICAL GARDENS
The Botanical Gardens contain more than 15,000 different kinds of plants in more than a dozen principal garden areas, including the Japanese, Rose, Shakespeare, Camellia, Jungle, Palm, and Australian gardens. The newest of these is the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, Liu Fang Yuan. The first phase of The Huntington’s Chinese Garden opened in February 2008. It features a lake, bridges, pavilions, and a teahouse, all built with exquisite craftsmanship by artisans from China. The spectacular 12-acre Desert Garden includes nearly 4,000 species of desert plants in a variety of shapes, forms, and colors. The beautiful North Vista frames a view of the San Gabriel Mountains and is flanked by an 18th-century Italian garden sculpture and several acres of camellias. In the 100-year-old Japanese Garden, a 19th-century-style Japanese house overlooks a moon bridge spanning a picturesque koi pond. A new ceremonial teahouse is located on a ridge with an expansive view of the historic landscape, part of a major 2012 renovation of the garden.
Botanical education has become central to The Huntington’s mission: The Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science engages middle-school students and their families in inquiry-based learning about plants, ecosystems, and biodiversity. Adjacent to the Conservatory is the Helen and Peter Bing Children’s Garden, which introduces youngsters to the wonders of the natural world in a playful one-acre garden with interactive elements based on the themes of earth, air, light, and water.
The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and major holidays. Admission on weekdays: $20 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $12 students (ages 12–18 or with full-time student I.D.), $8 youth (ages 5–11), free for children under 5. Group rate, $11 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission on weekends: $23 adults, $18 seniors, $13 students, $8 youth, free for children under 5. Group rate, $14 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission is free to all visitors with advance tickets on the first Thursday of each month. Information: 626-405-2100 or huntington.org.