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The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108, USA

Opening Hours

10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Be sure to visit the Desert Garden early in the morning, as this is when the light is most magical for photography and the temperatures are more pleasant. Don't miss the special exhibitions that often feature rare manuscripts and works of art—check the calendar for members' early access days."

What is Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens?

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, often referred to simply as The Huntington, is a private, nonprofit cultural and research institution in San Marino, near Los Angeles, California. It is an illustrious establishment, encompassing a world-class library, extensive art collections showcasing European and American art, and astonishingly beautiful botanical gardens spread across 120 acres. It's a place of study, inspiration, and immense beauty, attracting scholars, art lovers, and nature enthusiasts alike.

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The Huntington is not just any library or garden—think of it as an oasis of culture and horticulture. With rare books, manuscripts, and distinguished art pieces, it provides an unrivaled educational experience. The botanical gardens, with their themed areas such as the Japanese Garden and the Desert Garden, serve as living collections accessible to the public. It's like stepping into different worlds, each garden with its own unique story and atmosphere.

It’s a revered spot for both quiet reflection and vibrant discovery. Whether you're a die-hard bibliophile, an art aficionado, or a devotee of the natural world, The Huntington opens up a treasure trove of experiences. Shall we delve deeper into the historical tapestry of this storied place?

History of Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

The Huntington was established by Henry E. Huntington (1850–1927), a man of vision, influence, and remarkable taste, and his wife, Arabella Huntington (1850–1924). Henry was a successful businessman dealing in railroads and utilities, but it's his passion for collecting books, art, and plants that has left a lasting imprint on Los Angeles' cultural landscape.

Originally, the property was a working ranch with citrus groves, which Henry transformed into one of the most comprehensive research libraries in the country, amassing a stellar collection of rare books and manuscripts. Following his death, The Huntington was opened to the public in 1928, fulfilling his dream of sharing his collections with the world. Since then, it has become a cornerpiece of Los Angeles' academic and cultural community.

Over the years, the institution has expanded in size and scope. It has continually added to its collections and developed its grounds, nurturing the botanical gardens, and advancing its mission as a hub for research, education, and culture. Have you ever wondered why The Huntington holds such a special place in the heart of Los Angeles and beyond?

Why is Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Important?

The significance of The Huntington lies in its multi-faceted offerings and its commitment to preserving and advancing human knowledge. The library's holdings include around nine million items, dating from the 11th century to the present, with gems such as a Gutenberg Bible and the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." These are cultural relics that shaped the modern world, and The Huntington serves as their custodian.

Artistically, The Huntington hosts a magnificent collection with British and French art from the 18th and 19th centuries, including Thomas Gainsborough's "Blue Boy" and Sir Thomas Lawrence's "Pinkie." The value of such masterpieces is beyond measure, as they connect us with different eras and narratives, enriching our understanding of history and humanity. But what truly sets The Huntington apart is its dedication to the cultivation and study of the living collections in its botanical gardens, which represent over a dozen principal garden areas.

These gardens are not just displays; they are active research grounds for botanists. From the stunning Chinese Garden's authentic Suzhou-style to the serenity of the Japanese Garden, the grounds of The Huntington foster an environment where the beauty of nature meets the pursuit of knowledge. Isn't it marvelous how much life, art, and history can coexist in one breathtaking place?

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Things to Do & See at Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

A visit to The Huntington is a journey through time, cultures, and landscapes. You can start by exploring the library, where you can view extraordinary items on display from their vast collections. Regularly changing exhibits mean there’s often something new to discover, and the depth of the collections caters to a wide range of interests, from medieval manuscripts to early American history.

As you move on to the art galleries, prepare to be captivated by an array of stunning works. You might spend hours pondering the expressions and contexts of the European art collections or exploring the American art gallery, which reflects a panoramic view of America's artistic heritage. Each artwork tells a story, inviting you to immerse yourself deeply into its narrative.

Of course, a large part of your day should be reserved for the Botanical Gardens. Twelve thematic gardens including the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, and the Desert Garden offer an intriguing variety of botanical experiences. Don't miss the Conservatory, with its climate-controlled environments showcasing exotic plant species. And if you appreciate the delicate balance between nature and design, the Chinese Garden with its artful pavilions and the Shakespeare Garden, brimming with plants from the Bard’s plays, are not to be missed.

For those looking to delve deeper, attend one of the many educational programs or seasonal events. Indulge your curiosity with a lecture, workshop, or enjoy music and performances that echo through the gardens. Whether it's a quiet stroll amidst the camellias or participating in family activities on Free Day, there are countless ways to engage with this landmark. So, what would you like to discover first in this remarkable ensemble of history, art, and nature?

Frequently asked questions

What is the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens?

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a cultural and research institution in Los Angeles housing a vast collection of rare books, manuscripts, artwork, and extensive botanical gardens.

How can I purchase tickets for the Huntington Library?

Tickets for the Huntington Library can be purchased online through their official website or at the entrance, though it's recommended to buy in advance as they often sell out.

What are the opening hours of the Huntington Library?

The opening hours for the Huntington Library typically range from 10 am to 5 pm, but it is best to check their official website for current hours as they can vary.

Are there guided tours available at the Huntington Library?

Yes, the Huntington Library offers guided tours for different parts of the institution, including the art collections and botanical gardens. Information on tour schedules and themes can be found on their website.

What are some must-see attractions at the Huntington Library?

Must-see attractions at the Huntington Library include the Gutenberg Bible, the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales,' the Japanese and Chinese gardens, and the extensive collection of American and European art.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108, USA

Opening Hours

10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps