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T.O.K field trip to the Huntington Library

A live jazz band plays at the Huntington Library’s Rothenburg Hall.

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens are tourist attractions and collections-based research institutions. Rene Romero’s TOK (Theory of Knowledge) class recently went on a field trip to the beautiful Huntington Library. Here is my experience.

The Huntington Library has invited schools to learn and explore their museums and gardens for 15 years. A week before South Hills students and I went on a field trip here, we learned about Langston Hughes’ poems and created some poems of our own. Three other schools attended the field trip with us on April 19. We heard a live jazz band quartet, readings of poems by speakers from Langston Hughes, and students’ poems inspired by Langston Hughes. The live jazz band was amazing and did live accompaniment for the students who shared their poems on stage.


After the performance from the jazz band and speakers, the students were allowed to explore the gardens, arts, and the library. There are 16 gardens at the Huntington so seeing all of them in two hours was impossible. The Rose Garden was my first stop. Along the way, many statues surrounded the Huntington mansion and library. We finally got to the Rose Garden and there were different variations of roses all labeled and beautiful in bloom. Right next to the roses was a wisteria archway in full bloom that led to the Japanese Garden.

Seeing the Japanese Garden was breathtaking. We walked down to a little pond with koi fish and the Moon Bridge, which is not historically Japanese but is thought to have taken inspiration from a Chinese bridge-making method. Although I didn’t get to go in, a historic Japanese house was up on a hill, surrounded by plants and trees. The house is based on 18th-century Japanese architecture and would’ve been used as a village town center. The Japanese Garden has been very popular with visitors and has been one of the oldest gardens in the Huntington Library.

The Chinese Garden was my next stop. The Garden of Flowing Fragrance is a classical Chinese garden that connects to Chinese literature and culture. While walking through, Chinese architecture was all around. Toward the end of this garden there was a large pond with wildlife such as fish, ducks, and turtles. I also got to walk under a little waterfall. Other than looking at the scenery, you could also buy food and snacks in this garden. The Chinese Garden was my favorite place I visited at Huntington and in my opinion, everyone who goes should visit the Chinese Garden.

As an artist myself, seeing paintings was at the top of my list. I first went to the Museum of American Art. I saw statues and paintings that I had learned about in class. I’m still not a fan of minimalist art but other modern art pieces were exciting and fun to see.

Next, I went to see the Huntington mansion. The home of Henry E. and Arabella Huntington was converted into a museum of European art. There are many famous historical paintings and statues in this museum that I also was able to see. I’ve seen some paintings from there online, but they were way bigger than I thought they were when I saw them in person. Along with the historical objects, the mansion’s very detailed architecture was displayed throughout the house. I was very grateful I was able to see the important and beautiful art displayed in the museum. 

I was very grateful I got the opportunity to go on this field trip to the Huntington Library. Although I couldn’t see everything, I was happy I was able to see different gardens and art pieces I had learned about in class. I definitely plan on visting again.


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About the Contributor
Tatiana Monge
Tatiana Monge, Staff Reporter
I am a junior here at South Hills and it's also my first year in Growl. Other than writing I enjoy painting, music, and being a part of the school's theater program. 
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