Arts & Entertainment

The Huntington Announces Year-Long Centennial Celebration

‘Huntington’s Hundredth’ commemorative rose. – Courtesy photo / Weeks Roses

A new commemorative rose variety, “Huntington’s Hundredth,” unveiled

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens recently announced plans to mark its centennial with a year-long series of exhibitions and programs celebrating the impact of the research and educational institution’s incomparable collections while exploring the interdisciplinary ideas that will shape the next 100 years.

To punctuate the announcement, a new variety of rose, “Huntington’s Hundredth,” was unveiled at this year’s annual Huntington Ball. The pastel yellow and orchid pink floribunda was hybridized in 2009 by Tom Carruth, The Huntington’s E. L. and Ruth B. Shannon curator of the Rose Collection and will become available for sale for the first time in January 2019.

“From the tens of thousands of researchers who have studied The Huntington’s collections over the past century and the countless people their research has touched, to the millions of visitors who have explored the galleries and gardens here, this institution’s reach is immeasurable,” said Huntington President Karen R. Lawrence. “We are seizing this moment not only to reflect on the legacy of our past, but also to explore unexpected synergies across the library, art, and botanical collections; to steward and grow those collections; and to welcome new audiences of scholars, artists, and the public whom they will inspire. We want to encourage creative exploration of the relationship among the humanities, the arts, and nature.”

It was in August 1919 that railroad and real estate businessman Henry Edwards Huntington (1850–1927) and his wife Arabella (1851–1924) drafted the trust indenture document that established The Huntington as a collections-based research and educational institution for the public’s benefit. Twelve miles from downtown Los Angeles, their Gilded Age estate— one of the first cultural centers in Southern California—opened to the public in 1928. Since that time, the collections have grown exponentially, and the institution has become a premier research center and a world leader in the promotion and preservation of the humanities, and its galleries and botanical gardens have become beloved destinations to some 750,000 visitors each year. With its extensive historical and literary archives, signature holdings of European and American art, and 120 acres of astonishingly varied botanical collections, “The Huntington has, in its first 100 years, by all estimates, established itself as a vital cultural treasure,” Lawrence said.

Exhibitions, Events, Outreach, and Collaborations

The Huntington’s Centennial year opens in September 2019 with “Nineteen Nineteen,” a major exhibition in the MaryLou and George Boone Gallery that draws from the library, art, and botanical collections to examine that historic year across the globe and the founding of The Huntington in the context of international events. In October 2019, “What Now: Collecting for the Library” opens in the Library’s West Hall, the first exhibition of a two-part series highlighting a wide variety of recent acquisitions of rare books and manuscripts. Also opening in the fall of 2019 is the fourth installment of The Huntington’s/five initiative, a collaboration in which contemporary artists respond to a theme drawn from The Huntington’s collections, culminating in an exhibition.

Throughout the celebration year, The Huntington will offer a special series of programs that look at the collections in new ways and explore their potential impact into the future. The Huntington’s audiences will have the opportunity to experience centennial-oriented content through a dedicated website inviting visitors to share their memories and impressions of The Huntington through text and images. New displays in the Mapel Orientation Gallery are planned as well.

The Huntington’s education division—which engages some 15,000 school children and their teachers each year—will continue its partnerships and outreach with Southern California schools by adding a special Centennial-themed tour to its list of programs. And to encourage the next generation of life-long learners, 100 free Huntington memberships will be offered to students attending Southern California colleges and universities.

“During our Centennial celebration, we want to engage people in The Huntington as an unparalleled repository of our history and, at the same time, as a site of increasing relevance to the way we think, create, and live our lives today” said Lawrence. “It may seem that our botanical gardens are the only organic parts of our collections, but in fact, our library and art collections are organic as well, growing and changing their physical and interpretive shape. With ‘Nineteen Nineteen,’ our curators have the chance to identify objects from across the library, art, and botanical collections to tell fascinating stories about intellectual, aesthetic, and natural history, and suggest new directions for thought. Why did Henry Huntington, a wealthy industrialist, collect rare books, manuscripts, and fine art? Why did he develop among the first avocado orchards and desert gardens in Southern California? We believe it is because the arts, humanities, and the natural world added both pleasure and meaning to his existence. The Huntington is a wondrous enterprise that never ceases to delight its visitors in the same existential way.”

Details about all The Huntington’s Centennial celebration exhibitions and programming will unfurl over the coming year.

‘Huntington’s Hundredth’ Rose – Available beginning January 2019

The ‘Huntington’s Hundredth’ rose will be available for sale at The Huntington beginning in January (as bare-root plants at the monthly Second Thursday Garden Talk and Sale on Jan. 10), and at the Spring Plant Sale from April 26 – 28. “This could easily be one of the top 10 roses from my 40-year rose breeding career,” said Carruth, who enjoyed a long career as an award-winning hybridizer before joining The Huntington’s staff in 2012 as curator of the rose collection. The rose is a cross between one of Carruth’s most popular roses, “Julia Child”, with the French variety, “Stormy Weather.”

“As it blooms, the flowers open a soft yellow color, and then gradually blush to shades of orchid, pink, and cream,” Carruth said. “Beautiful colors aside, what really makes this variety stand out is the intense fragrance of lemon blossom with a hint of fruit.” The rose has been planted in The Huntington’s historic Rose Garden and will anchor a new centennial garden display, situated between the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art and the Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science.

September 13, 2018

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