The Huntington Celebrates Its 100th Birthday

Though most Angelenos probably didn’t realize it at the time 1919 was an important year for the area as it marked the beginning of several famed institutions. These include UCLA, LA Philharmonic, Musso & Frank, Fosselman’s Ice Cream and The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. Isn’t that incredible? 1919. What a year! I love all of these institutions and am so happy they’ve been around for the past century. Last week, I was lucky enough to head to The Huntington to help celebrate its 100th birthday.

As you may or may not not The Huntington is the former estate of railroad magnate Henry Huntington and his wife, Arabella. The estate was purchased in 1903 and during their time there Henry and Arabella amassed a significant collection of art and rare books and their land was filled with beautiful botanical gardens. On August 30, 1919 they signed a trust that allowed their private land to become a public institution and in 1928, after their deaths, The Huntington opened its doors.

Without the August 1919 trust The Huntington would not have existed and its extensive library, art collection and botanical gardens would not be available for Angelenos (and visitors from all over the world) to experience.

To celebrate this momentous occasion The Huntington has several special events planned throughout the coming year. For instance, the Mapel Orientation Gallery has transformed into centenary central and inside you can view a timeline of the institution’s major milestones, learn about the Huntington family and even sign a large birthday card.

This Saturday a special exhibition entitled Nineteen Nineteen will open at the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery. The exhibit will feature 275 objects from The Huntington’s collection that will help tell the story of the year 1919 which was not only significant in Southern California but also all over the world. I cannot wait to see it.

George R. Watson, Portrait of Henry E. Huntington on Loggia of San Marino Residence, April 1919; printed 1927. Gelatin silver print, 22 x 18 3/4 in. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens © The Huntington

2020 will bring even more celebrations. On New Year’s Day you’ll find The Huntington participating in the Rose Parade for the first time in 50 years. The float, called Cultivating Curiosity, will feature various highlights of the institution’s collection and will be sure to delight spectators. In the summer it will join forces with The Hammer to present the annual exhibition Made in L.A. This will bring significant works of art by contemporary Angelenos to two major LA institutions at once.

These are but a few of the many celebrations The Huntington has in store for the coming year. You can keep up with all the goings on here. I know I’ll be checking it often and making numerous visits to San Marino during the next 12 months.

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