School Programs

School programs are free of charge for K–12 students, available Wed.–Fri., 10–11:30 a.m.

All of The Huntington's school programs are led by docents. Working with small groups of students, docents engage students in close looking, inquiry, and conversation. We define our approach as The Huntington Framework. To support all learners, docents use a range of engagement tools and strategies, from sketching to scientific experimentation. All students take home a Huntington School Program Booklet. 

The Huntington Framework:

  • Observe & Describe – What do you see?
  • Explain & Interpret – What does it mean to you?
  • Reason with Evidence – What makes you think that?
  • Wonder & Question – What questions do you still have?

*2019-20 School Program registration requests will be accepted online only July 29–Aug. 2. For more information see our FAQs.

See Teacher-Led School Tours if you wish to bring your students during public hours.

Current Programs

Library Programs

  • Discovering Medieval Books ( Previously 'Paper, Pens, and Prose')

    Students discover the ways in which medieval books were printed and produced, how inks were made, the difference between parchment and paper, and the roles of the medieval scribes and printers. In the Library Hall, students look closely at original manuscripts, including Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales as well as early printed treasures, such as the Gutenberg Bible. Students complete the program by trying their hand at calligraphy and bookbinding.

    • - Grades: 4–9
      - Accommodates: 40 student maximum
      - Offered: Thursdays


  • Remarkable Works, Remarkable Times

    Students discuss and decipher the fascinating stories that primary source documents reveal in the Library Exhibition Hall. Students delve into literature and history, exploring the expansive collection of items ranging from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to a First Folio edition of Shakespeare’s collected plays to relics of the American West.

    • - Grades: 8–12
      - Accommodates: 40 student maximum
      - Offered: Select Fridays


  • Beautiful Science

    Students discover how great ideas in science have changed over time. Exploring the exhibition Beautiful Science: Ideas That Changed the World, students analyze primary sources to determine the exhibition’s main messages, share their findings, and formulate new questions.

    • - Grades: 7–12
      - Accommodates: 40 student maximum
      - Offered: Select Fridays

Art Programs

  • American Art

    Students explore American artworks from 18th century art and design of everyday life, to 19th century Hudson River School Landscapes through to 20th century pop art. Focused in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, theme-based tours encourage students to look, think, and discuss their ideas and perceptions.

    • - Grades: 4–12
      - Accommodates: 50 students maximum
      - Offered: Thursdays and Fridays


  • European Art

    Students explore The Huntington’s collections, focusing specifically on European art displayed in the home of Henry and Arabella Huntington - one of the great Gilded Age residences in America. Students will take an in-depth look at paintings, sculptures and decorative arts.

    • - Grades: 4–12
      - Accommodates: 50 student maximum
      - Offered: Wednesdays, Select Thursdays


  • Discovering Art

    Students explore the elements of line, shape, color and texture through dialogue and tactile materials, visiting a variety of artworks, from portraits to sculpture, housed in and around the original home of Henry and Arabella Huntington. At the end of the program, students engage in a hands-on activity that combines all four elements.

    • - Grades: K–3
      - Accommodates: 50 student maximum
      - Offered: Select Fridays

Garden Programs

  • Adaptations in a Changing World

    Students explore the adaptations that allow plants to thrive in desert-like environments. Through observation and hands-on activities in the Desert Garden, students will learn how plants’ color, shape, and surface texture can be adaptive and to predict how plant forms help them function in a changing environment. Students also compare desert plants to those in other Huntington gardens.

    • - Grades: 3–5
      - Accommodates: 30–60 student maximum
      - Offered: Select Wednesdays; Select Thursdays


  • Seeds, Soil & Surprises

    Students discover the joys of sensory learning while visiting stations on roots, leaves, and seeds. Classes visit both the Teaching Greenhouse and the Conservatory for Botanical Science. Each student plants their own seeds to take back to the classroom.

    • - Grades: K–2 (Kindergarten groups can visit Jan.–May)
      - Accommodates: 50 students maximum
      - Offered: Wednesdays


  • Japanese Garden

    Presented by the San Marino League, this program introduces students to traditional Japanese gardens as an art form and contrasts them with traditional European-style gardens. Students visit a 19th-century Japanese house and Zen garden, and examine garden sculpture and native Japanese plants. During the program students will have the opportunity to wonder and to enjoy moments of serenity.

    • - Grades: 4–12
      - Accommodates: 40 students maximum
      - Offered: Select Wednesdays; Select Thursdays


  • Creating the Chinese Garden ( Previously ‘Poetry in the Chinese Garden’)

    Students engage their senses and minds in an exploration of the Chinese Garden – Liu Fang Yuan, or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance. Through close looking and conversation, students learn about the elements of the garden, consider the people who designed it, and produce their own creative responses inspired by their senses.

    • - Grades: 4–12
      - Accommodates: 40 students maximum
      - Offered: Select Thursdays

Interdisciplinary Programs

  • Explorations in American History

    Students explore how society responded to major events in America’s past and learn how diverse peoples lived throughout its history. Students look closely at primary sources in the Library Exhibition Hall and at artworks in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art. Materials may include manuscripts, books, portraits, and furniture.

    • - Grades: 5,8,11
      - Complements American History Curriculum
      - Accommodates: 40 student maximum
      - Offered: Wednesdays


    • Learning Through the Collections

      Students learn what it means to collect, while exploring the diversity and connections between The Huntington’s library, art, and botanical collections.

      • - Grades: 3–12
        - Accommodates: 40 student maximum
        - Offered: Wednesdays

Download the School Programs [PDF] to review all of our school programs.

California State Standards for 2019-20 School Programs

Participation in our School Programs provides students opportunities to practice skills relevant to the following Standards:

Common Core State Standards- English Language Arts

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own ideas clearly and persuasively
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally


California English Language Development Standards

  • ELD.PI.K-12.1 Exchanging information and ideas with others through oral collaborative discussions on a range of social and academic topics
  • ELD.PI.K-12.3 Offering and supporting opinions and negotiating with others in communicative exchanges
  • ELD.PI.K-12.5 Listening actively to spoken English in a range of social and academic contexts
  • ELD.PII.K-12.6 Connecting ideas


College, Career & Civic Life (C3)

  • D2.Civ.7.K-3 / 3-5 / 6-8 / 9-12 Apply civic virtues and democratic principles when participating in school/community settings/when working with others

Preparing for your School Program Visit

Preparing for your School Program 
Bus Route Map
Teacher Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost for docent-led school programs?

All school programs are provided at no cost to school groups. Schools may continue their visit after their program at no cost, so long as they have the proper number of chaperones at no cost. Self-guided homeschool visits are also available at no cost on non-holiday Mondays during public hours.


What time do the school programs begin?

All docent-led school programs begin at 10 a.m. We ask that schools arrive between 9 and 9:30 a.m. to be able to begin promptly at 10 a.m.


What is the minimum number of students needed to participate in a program?

Groups must have at least 25 students to reserve a program (most of our programs will accommodate multiple classrooms.) If you are a homeschool group who cannot meet the 25-student size requirement, you can also visit on a Homeschool Monday visit. Self-guided homeschool visits are available on non-holiday Mondays during public hours.


How many chaperones are required?

We require one chaperone for every ten students. The adult chaperones must accompany the students throughout the visit and are responsible for the group’s behavior while visiting The Huntington. No more than one adult per four students will be allowed for the school program. No infants, siblings or strollers are allowed on docent-led school programs.


Can I bring multiple grade levels to a school program?

Yes - you can bring more than one grade level to a program, but you must still meet the following requirements. For K–5 school groups, you can bring up to two different grades on a field trip (e.g. 1st and 2nd grade or 4th and 5th grade). If you are a 6th–8th grade, you can up to three different grade levels. If you are a 9th–12th grade group, you can bring up to four grade levels. You must still meet the program-specific grade level requirements for each participating student.


Are lunch facilities available?

The Huntington has a picnic area located near the bus drop off where students may eat lunch. There is a limited amount of picnic tables/seating available. A protected lunch area is not available on rainy days. Students will need to leave lunches at the picnic area upon arrival, since food and drinks are not allowed on the grounds.


What is the next step after requesting a program date online?

After you have requested your preferred program dates, you will be notified within two weeks whether you are registered for a program or wait-listed for a program. If you are registered for a program, you will receive pre-visit preparation material via email and asked to confirm your scheduled visit. Programs are not scheduled on a first come, first served basis. All program requests will be reviewed after Aug. 2.


Am I guaranteed a program in the 2019-20 school year if I submit a request between July 29-Aug. 2?

No – due to the popularity of the school programs, the number of reservations we receive exceeds the number of program dates available. All reservations that do not receive program confirmation will be added to a wait list.


Is bus funding available?

The Huntington offers limited bus funding assistance. If you are a public school, we can fund up to $500 dollars on a case-by-case basis towards your transportation costs. You will need to submit a Transportation Reimbursement Request Form and you can contact for more information.


What if it rains?

All library and art programs are provided rain or shine. Garden programs run on most rainy days and we provide rain ponchos to students. On rare occasions, we will cancel a garden program because of torrential rain which makes it unsafe to walk in the gardens. A protected lunch area is not available on rainy days. If rain is expected, please ensure students dress accordingly.


I was waitlisted for the program I wanted - when will I find out if a date becomes available?

Dates become available when we receive cancellations from registered school groups. While we cannot predict when we will receive a cancellation, we will contact those on the waitlist for that program/date as soon as possible.



Teacher-Led School Tours

Teacher-led school tours available for teachers who wish to bring their students during public hours. More

Homeschool Mondays

Self-guided homeschool visits available on non-holiday Mondays during public hours. Learn More.

Contact Us

School Program Sponsors

Edison International
Gardner Grout Foundation
Wells Fargo Foundation
The Capital Group Companies, Inc.
Dan Murphy Foundation
Sahm Family Foundation
Ann Peppers Foundation
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation
Bank of America
East West Bank
The Langham Huntington, Pasadena
Bartlett Tree Experts
Compass Group
Trader Joe's Company
Associated Foundations Inc.
MATT Construction Corporation
Town & Country Event Rentals Inc.
Tiffany & Co.
The Walt Disney Company