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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / The Huntington Library: Supporting the Common Core Curriculum

The Huntington Library: Supporting the Common Core Curriculum

by Pasadena Independent
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Dome in the evening. - Photos by Tim Street-Porter

Dome in the evening. – Photo by Tim Street-Porter

By May S. Ruiz

Henry Huntington may not have known it at the time but his bequest is not merely a showcase of important art and historical artifact, it is also an instrument in shaping America’s future.

Through the Huntington Library’s Teacher and School Programs, educators receive training on how to incorporate the Library’s vast collection of books, art, and gardens in the implementation of the Core Curriculum. Huntington’s educators collaborate with teachers in developing lesson plans, which are nationally available online. Teachers from K-12th grade choose from 12 programs to provide their students appreciation, engagement, and understanding of various subjects.

Programs in Art include: European Voyages where students in grades 4 through 8 explore 18th century British and French art in the Huntington mansion. In Discovering Art, kindergarteners through 2nd graders are introduced to basic concepts as line, shape, color, and texture. American Adventures dialogue tours introduce critical thinking and speaking skills to 1st through 12th graders using artwork from 1700 – 1980, while theme based tours encourage students to look, think, and discuss their ideas and perceptions.

Some of the Garden Programs are: Soil, Seeds and Surprises, which acquaints students in kindergarten through 2nd grade with botany. Students from grades 4 through 12 experience the Japanese Garden as an art form and contrasts it with a traditional European-style garden. Poetry in the Chinese Garden engages 4th through 12th graders in verse as they compose two-line poems inspired by the beauty they behold.

The Library Programs cover: Explorations in American History for grades 5, 8 and 11 is designed to complement the American History curriculum. In Paper, Pens & Prose, students in grades 4 to 9 learn how books were produced, how paper and inks were made, and what scribes used to write.

Inside the Huntington gift shop. - Photo by Tim Street-Porter

Inside the Huntington gift shop. – Photo by Tim Street-Porter

The Huntington Library encourages teachers to use its grounds and facilities to make the learning experience enjoyable for students. Mikki Heydorff, Volunteer and School Programs Manager, would like educators to know about school field trips at no charge every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from October through May. From 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. every morning on these three days, teachers can come in with their students to visit the Library and its gardens on docent-led tours. To take advantage of this opportunity, teachers have to sign up on a first-come first-serve basis, starting August 1st, to reserve a date.

Educators, too, can take advantage of the many summer activities at the Huntington. In its 11th year of implementation, Shakespeare at the Huntington is a three-week course for high school English and Drama teachers focusing on training through performance. Shakespearean educator Louis Fantasia and an international faculty train 6th to 12th grade teachers on development, scene analysis, acting and directing techniques. Getting Your Green Thumb classes for teachers cover garden planning, gardening techniques and curriculum connections. Information on field trips, lessons plans, and interactive media are available on the Huntington’s website www.huntington.org under the Education page and teacher resources.

To ensure that it continues to support its various education efforts, the Huntington Library embarked on a major expansion project. The $68 million renovation made possible through private donors will open this Saturday, April 4, as the Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center. It raised another $10 million to endow the new facilities’ operations. The project consists of 52,000 square feet of educational space and visitor amenities replacing existing construction built in1980 that no longer accommodated the needs of its visitors, scholars and staff. The Visitor Center features a 400-seat auditorium, a large café with indoor-outdoor seating and garden views, four multi-use classrooms, meeting and event areas, and an orientation gallery.

This latest renovation followed the recent opening of the Huntington Store, a new specialty coffee shop, and a new full-service admissions and membership section.

From its first opening in 1919, when Henry Huntington bequeathed his vast collection and botanical gardens to enrich visitors, it has grown into an internationally known research center for scholars, an important destination for tourists, and a tranquil retreat for locals. Every year 600,000 visitors come to the Huntington Library to experience its impressive collection of magnificent art, rare books, significant manuscripts and botanical gardens. Its education programs offer school visits, tours and hands-on activities to 20,000 students annually. More than 10,000 people participate in its public programs including classes, workshops, performances, and lectures.

How monumentally proud Henry Huntington would have been if he were around to witness how his precious legacy is being utilized and preserved!

The celebration garden. - Photo by Tim Street-Porter

The celebration garden. – Photo by Tim Street-Porter


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