School Programs

School programs:

  • are free of charge for K–12 students
  • available Wed.–Fri., 10–11:30 a.m.
  • include library, art, garden, or interdisciplinary programming

Working with small groups, docents engage students in close looking, inquiry, and conversation using the Huntington Framework. To support all levels of learners, a range of engagement tools and strategies are used, from sketching to scientific experimentation.

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?

Each student receives a Huntington School Program Booklet at the end of their visit.

*School program registration for the 2020-21 school year opens July 27.
Registration closes Aug. 7. Applications will be reviewed after registreation closes; applicants will be notified via email by Aug. 24.  FAQs


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


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

    This docent led program is designed to complement the American history curriculum. Through dialogue and other age-appropriate engagement strategies, students will explore how society responded to major events in our nation’s past, as well as learning about how diverse people lived throughout our history. All students will engage in close looking of primary sources in the Library Exhibition Hall, as well as artworks in the Scott Galleries of American Art. Materials may include: manuscripts, photographs, and literature, as well as portraits, sculptures, statuary, furniture and everyday items used in the homes of rural people.

    • - Grades: 5, 8, and 11
      - Accommodates: 40 student maximum
      - Offered: Wednesdays


  • Learning Through the Collections

    Students will explore what it means to collect, how the Huntington collections have grown, and what we can learn through our diverse collections – from the Library Exhibition Hall, to the gardens, and into the art galleries. Led by docents, students will be invited to make connections across the collections. This program will focus on close looking at primary sources, inquiry, dialogue and other age appropriate engagement strategies.

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

Download/print School Programs [PDF]

California State Standards for School Programs

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
School Programs Pre-Visit Video

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost for docent-led school programs?

School programs are provided at no cost. Schools may continue their visit after their program at no cost, provided they have the required number of chaperones. Self-guided homeschool visits are also available at no cost on non-holiday Mondays during public hours.


What time do school programs begin?

Docent-led school programs begin promptly at 10 a.m. Schools should arrive by 9:30 a.m.


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

School groups must have at least 25 students to reserve a program (most programs will accommodate multiple classrooms.) If you are a homeschool group who cannot meet the 25 student requirement, you may visit on Homeschool Mondays (available on non-holiday Mondays during public hours.)


How many chaperones are required?

One chaperone is required for every ten students. Chaperones must accompany the students and are responsible for the group’s behavior throughout the visit. No more than one adult chaperone per four students will be allowed. No infants, siblings or strollers are allowed on docent-led school programs.


Can I bring multiple grade levels?

You may bring more than one grade levels as long as you meet the following requirements: K–5: two grades (e.g. 1st and 2nd grade or 4th and 5th grade). 6–8 grade: three grade levels; 9–12 grade: 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 are a limited number of picnic tables and seating available. There is no covered lunch area for rainy days. Students will need to leave lunches at the picnic area upon arrival as food and drinks are not allowed on the grounds.


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

Applicants will be notified within two weeks after registration ends whether you are registered for a program or wait-listed. If you are registered for a program, you will receive pre-visit preparation material via email and asked to confirm your scheduled visit.


Am I guaranteed a program after registering?

No. Program requests received exceed 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?

Limited bus funding assistance is available. Public schools may apply for up to $500 in transportation assistance. Complete a Transportation Reimbursement Request or contact .


What if it rains?

Library and art programs are provided rain or shine. Garden programs run on most rainy days and rain ponchos are provided for students. A covered lunch area is not available on rainy days. If rain is expected, please ensure students dress accordingly. In extreme weather conditions, garden programs will be canceled for the safety of our visitors.


If I'm waitlisted for the program I requested, when will I find out if a date becomes available?

We will contact waitlisted groups as soon as we receive notification of a cancellation.



Interactive Virtual Tour

Art Encounters: explore paintings, statues, and objects in this interactive lesson.

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. More

Contact Us

School Program Sponsors

Edison International
Gardner Grout Foundation
Wells Fargo 
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