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Established by Arabella Duval Huntington and Henry Huntington, a wealthy couple, the Huntington is home to a collection of educational and research materials. The institution features a library, several exotic gardens, and art museums.

Located in San Marino, the institution was once a ranch until railroad tycoons with a knack for art landed in the area. Travelers today visit the space to explore the intersectional display of history depicted throughout the place. One of these artsy displays of brilliance is the fabled Liu Fang Yuan, a Chinese garden that illustrates ancient oriental social gardening.

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The Huntington further offers a sturdy platform for its diverse scholars and curators to research and explore unearthed historical pieces of the world. It also provides an ideal environment for tourists to learn and explore thrilling outdoor activities.

What To See At The Huntington

Through its mission, the institution shares multiple collections to foster learning, inspire creativity, support scholarships, and offer transformative experiences to diverse audiences. Furthermore, it awards a $2.1 million fellowship for scholars to research the humanities further.

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The over 400 staff maintain the area to ensure visitors get an ultimate tour experience. An excellent example of such a site is the prominent Huntington Library. The historical repository is one of the world's great independent research libraries, storing over 11 million materials spanning the 11th to the 21st century.

Travelers mosey through the library, exploring the intersecting historical interests on display. These exhibits center on American history trickling down to the various historical documents that capture the stages of world civilization. An example is the collections of British medieval manuscripts, considered one of the world's largest.

Further deep into the institution is the artistic setup of the Art Museum. The site includes more than 42,000 objects detailing European and American art spanning over half a millennium. People visit the place to explore the various extraordinary examples of decorative and folk art, quaint paintings, prints, and drawings.

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The landmark further constitutes the Huntington Art gallery and the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art. These galleries showcase contemporary and archaic art by displaying photography and sculptures.

Huntington further explores nature by incorporating various exotic gardens highlighting the history of botanical sciences worldwide. These gardens are spectacular and feature some 2000 species of living flora. The most prominent of the botanical parks in the area is the Liu Fang Yuan garden.

  • Entrance Fee: $23 adults/ $19 students and seniors (weekdays)

$25 adults/ $21 students and seniors (weekends)

Things To Do At The Chinese Garden (Liu Fang Yuan)

Liu Fang Yuan takes inspiration from Suzhou's gardens, a metropolis in southeastern China. The park incorporates the artsy handwork of Chinese artisans with the structural brilliance of American engineers. This concept is evident in the various pavilions lying across the area.

Most features touch on specific Suzhou gardens, eight of which fill the Love for the Lotus Pavilion. Furthermore, the ancient landscaping principles formulated in Suzhou deeply inform Liu Fang Yuan.

Each step through the place unveils a new artistic perspective to visitors since the curators constantly fill the pathways with flora of cultural or literary significance. In addition, the plants signify different seasons while others illustrate human qualities such as purity or humility.

Additionally, the 16-acre garden has carvings of pine, plum blossoms, and bamboo adorning the ceilings of its pavilions. Numerous calligraphy texts that bear hidden poetic meanings are other inherent artistic touches exhibited in the pathways and pavilions. These calligraphy inscriptions were an essential aspect of art during the Ming dynasty.

To further indulge tourists, the garden offers exhibitions and online tours all year round. There are also soloist musicians who also provide recitals in the garden each Wednesday. Other unique performances that excite travelers include Chinese opera troupes that periodically perform excerpts from works of famous Cantonese artists.

To inspire new works of music, art, and drama, Huntington coordinates an artist-in-residence program through the Huntington's Center for East Asian Garden Studies. The initiative helps advocate innovative scholarships on garden-making traditions in Japan, China, and Korea.

What To See At The Chinese Garden

The garden features several pavilions that highlight different works by global artists. The Reflections in the Stream and Fragrance of Orchids Pavilion is a good example. Characterized by mature California oaks, the 308-square-feet area offers visitors ideal grounds to pause, meditate, and be poetically inspired.

Another significant part of the garden is the Studio for Lodging the Mind. Works of 21 contemporary ink artists grace this studio, periodically providing travelers a fresh outlook of the garden's expressive view. Tourists further get to learn more about the different forms of calligraphy.

Visitors can as well explore the sweeping scenery of the garden's landscape at the Stargazing Tower. This pavilion is the park's highest point, offering tourists a commanding view of the Mt Wilson Observatory. It's also an amazing place for lovers of star-gazing.

The Huntington lies in an expansive exotic neighborhood. Its location might seem inaccessible to most tourists. However, the following tips will guide tourists on the means to take when visiting the area:

  • Tourists can rent a bike in the city and cycle to the place since the parking area has bicycle racks
  • The ideal mode of transport to the area is by taxi or ride-hailing services
  • Tourists can also use buses, but they should bear in mind that the bus stations are approximately one mile away

California offers many activities to explore, in addition to its beautiful beaches and fascinating landmarks. Other exciting attractions lie scattered throughout the state, with southern California boasting historical landmarks. One of these landmarks is the Huntington, an area rich in artistic diversity.