Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Real Thing

The Huntington. If you live around here you've probably been there—dragged through the galleries on a school trip as a kid or minding your manners in the tea room as an adult. If you're like me you go as often as you can to enjoy the gardens, galleries and exhibits. When blogger Katie of Katiefornia visited last week, our first stop was the Huntington. She and I both love to take photos, so I can promise you more to come.

We have Henry E. Huntington, Arabella Huntington and I suppose even Collis Huntington to thank for it all, as well as those who've come after them to manage the institution. It's only as far as San Marino, the community bordering Pasadena to the south. Yet the Huntington feels to me like a taste of Europe, Asia, the wide world. It's not the real thing, only a reproduction, but a day there feeds my wanderlust, if only briefly.

The Japanese Garden, pictured above, was used in a scene in Memoirs of a Geisha. You have to be as big as a movie studio to use the Huntington for your event. As perfect as it would be they don't hold weddings or private parties there. They'd be doing it all the time, wouldn't they? No, no, no. The Huntington is for the people.

Except the library. If you want to get an up-close look at a First Folio of Shakespeare or perhaps Benjamin Franklin's autograph autobiography, you must be a "qualified scholar." But there's always a library exhibit, so the unqualified scholars among us can occasionally view these treasures through glass. I've seen Galileo's handwriting only inches from my face. Not a reproduction. No, no, no. The real thing.

33 comments:

USelaine said...

Ahhh! The manuscript displays there are incredible! The Real Thing indeed.

The Mt. Baldy Eagle said...

I was just there last Friday and Eddie Murphy was shooting a movie there. They had the lower central garden (where there is a big flat grassy area) transformed into a small cemetery. Murphy kept falling down behind a gravestone in one scene. We had some friends with us from Europe and they thought it was cool to see some Hollywood star.

Thursday Girl/Hollis the Cat said...

Hope all's well with you in the "the Dena"...lots of shaking going on in the downtown LA high rise ...and thanks for this post--I linked to the Huntington and now know about the free days every month. Very cool!

D said...

Beautiful and very serene.

Life Observer said...

P, a wonderful island. I used to be a member & occasionally walked the grounds prior to public opening time.
I recently received a mailing to rejoin. Like to, but do i have the time.

Laurie said...

I haven't been since (gasp) I was 13 and visiting Los Angeles with my parents. I still remember Pinky and Blue Boy. I think I also saw some William Morris fabrics, too.

Gorgeous shot, Petrea!

Christie said...

VERY cool!! It is gorgeous, sounds like a great place to spend a free afternoon, morning, evening, day, week....

So, how clearly did Galileo write?

Keith said...

So close and I haven't been there in years. I really need to go back.

Petrea said...

Elaine: I cried when I saw a Shakespeare First Folio up close. It was on my first visit, about 7 years ago.

Mt. Baldy: I wondered what that was. We only saw the trucks, no Eddie.

TG/HtC: We're fine, though we definitely felt it. For those free days: Call in first thing on the designated day, and use your redial!

Thanks, d. It definitely is. The new Chinese Garden is, too. More pics to come.

Life Observer: we got an offer to rejoin at the 2004 price. Couldn't pass it up.

Laurie, they have an extensive William Morris collection which enjoys its own showings from time to time. They can't show everything at once, I guess. It would take forever to see it all.

Christie: Katie and I spent an afternoon, then went back the next morning to see the photography exhibit. Still not enough! Galileo's writing: kinda pretty but hard to read (not that I read Italian).

It's worth the trip, Keith. Even if you came from far away.

Aloha said...

The Huntington is really a beautiful place.

The first time I was there, my parents took me there for tea. I loved the Rose Garden Tea Room.

Katie said...

Stunning photo Petrea. Mine didn't come out nearly this good! Thank you so much for introducing me to the Huntington. This really is a magical place. I'm bummed you didn't arrange to have a movie shoot going on during my visit though.

Petrea said...

Well hello there, Honolulu, welcome. So you're familiar with this neck of the woods. Nice to see you here.

You're so welcome, Katie. But I did have a movie shoot! Remember the trucks in the Huntington parking lot? They were shooting somewhere at the Huntington, we just didn't find them. Maybe if we'd known it was Eddie Murphy we'd have looked a little harder.

Bernie K. said...

To honor a certain heroic Italian, and to commemorate our interesting morning, I invite all to Google the following phrase: "E pur si muove."

Kim said...

Oh, one of my favorite places in SoCal. I was one of those school kids that arrived en masse on a yellow bus. It was the destination for one Honor Society end of year outing (there were mumbles about why can't we go to Dineyland instead from many quarters). There I was intruduced to Albrecht Durer, DID see the Shakespeare folios (or was that at the Folger Library. ..?), and I know I saw Pinky and Blue Boy. The Huntington is where the college I transferred to in Seattle held their student interviews in SoCal, and I remember my mom getting to stroll about in the gardens while I was chatting with the admissions folks. You've captured this gorgeous scene beautifully. We are flying into Long Beach tomorrow morning (my mom's memorial with friends), and if we have time during the week, I may email you to see if we can get together.
-Kim
Seattle Daily Photo

USelaine said...

Petrea, my last visit was in late spring of 2001, so we could have bumped elbows. Well, except I was getting a private tour from the exhibits preparator *heh* to look at their use of fiber optic lighting on a Tuesday when no one else was around.

If you score a visit with Kim of Seattle, you score CDP Blogger royalty! I hope that works out. I'm feeding this all into my script outline - is that stealing?

Meead S. said...

:) Nice garden. I like that wooden bridge.

Harry Makertia said...

A great place to visit, and spend your time there. I hope I'll have a chance to be there, sometimes!

freefalling said...

Hey Petrea, that earthquake didn't get you, did it?

babooshka said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
babooshka said...

This really isa beautiful place and I do reall it now from the film. Would qualify for a zen shot, it's just so serene.

Miss Havisham said...

Charles Bukowski's widow donated an archive of his original manuscripts to the Huntington Library.

Linda is a regular visitor.

http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/?id=3847&IssueNum=37

Did you see that? The bridge moved.
E pur si muove

Petrea said...

The earth moves! Indeed, I watched it with my eyes, felt it with my feet, explained it to my dog.

Kim: My condolences. May your visit to southern California bring good memories of your mother.
The Durers I'd like to meet are the self-portraits.
The Folger, as I understand it, owns the most First Folios. The Huntington has one, The Bodleian has one, the Folger has 79. There are 200-some in existence, of about 1000 originally printed. Some are privately owned, each is worth millions.

Elaine, tell us how you scored a private tour! I sent you an email. I might be in your spam box.

Hi Meead. It won't be long before a trip here will be a short journey for you.

Hello Harry, come visit!

Freefalling, we're okay. We definitely felt it, though.

Babooshka, I thought of using it for the Zen Monday post!

Miss Havisham, thanks for the link. I copied this paragraph from the article by Nikki Bazar, to show you all a little about what kind of library the Huntington is:
"The Huntington does not allow just anyone from the public to access their research collections. Researchers who do not already have a Ph.D. must formally apply for reader privileges, which include providing two references. Once accepted, readers view materials in a specially monitored reading room where bags and pens are prohibited. Readers are able to handle original material, but if the material becomes too fragile, it is retired from use and replaced by a copy."

Gives you an idea. The stuff is precious and rare.

Kim Thomas said...

Dragged through on Field Trips. LOL, isn't that the truth.

Dina said...

News that an earthquake was starting really scared me.
My son takes me to the Huntington when I visit them. Really a special place.
I can understand your feelings seeing the Shakespeare. I had tears at the Rockefeller Museum on seeing archaeological treasures I had known only from books.

Petrea said...

Kim, by now you like the place though, right?

Dina: a daughter in Australia and a son in LA? Goodness, no wonder you miss them. All across the globe.
I'll have to visit the Rockefeller Museum. I've had mixed feelings seeing archaeological treasures in captivity. The Elgin marbles, for example, at the British Museum. Beautiful, incongruous, wrong somehow. Should have made me weep but I was too shocked. Others seem safe and protected in museums. I guess it depends.

Lydia said...

What a beautiful place, and photo!

Anonymous said...

I had to check my 30 year old photo album, but I did remember correctly that the bridge used to be a bright, bright red. Thanks again for the walk down memory lane.

Petrea said...

Thanks, Lydia.

Anonymous: bright red! I would have loved it.

Ted Thompson said...

While the manuscripts would be attractive, that garden looks WONDERFUL - too bad I'm over here on the east coast... -_-

Petrea said...

Ted, your "About" section is one of the funniest things I've read in a long time.

Ted Thompson said...

Why thank you Petrea! For the record, you've known me in the past as Yorokobi, from MySpace and here in a few comments.

I must say, this Slice of Life, like a personal guided tour of Pasadena as seen through your eyes is delightful.

Virginia said...

I think I stayed there in college for a convention. Lovely gardens and your info about the place was so interesting to learn about.

Petrea said...

Aha! Ted. You're THAT Ted! I love your website. Thanks for commenting here.

Thank you, Virginia.