Enfilade

The Huntington to Open New Education and Visitor Center

Posted in museums by Editor on March 31, 2015

Press release (5 March 2015) from The Huntington:

The new Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center will open to the public on April 4, 2015, offering the 600,000 annual visitors to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens a dramatically improved experience, replete with six and a half acres of gardens interspersed with beautiful facilities for dining, shopping, meeting, seeing a lecture or performance, or attending a class.

The Rose Hills Foundation Garden Court in the new Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo: Tim Street-Porter

The Rose Hills Foundation Garden Court in the new Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo: Tim Street-Porter

The front, northernmost section of the complex opened to the public in January, making available to visitors a new and substantially larger Huntington Store, a new specialty coffee shop, and a new full-service admissions and membership area. The rest of the visitor center, opening on April 4, features a 400-seat auditorium, a large café with indoor/outdoor seating and garden views, four multi-use classrooms, meeting and event spaces, and an orientation gallery—all arranged amid new, beautifully landscaped, drought-tolerant gardens.

The $68 million project broke ground in April 2013. An additional $10 million has been raised to endow the new facilities’ operations. Designed by Architectural Resources Group, the Education and Visitor Center consists of 52,000 square feet of educational facilities and visitor amenities. The design of the complex of buildings and gardens harmonizes with the original early 20th-century Beaux-Arts architecture on the property (once the estate of Gilded Age railroad magnate, real estate developer, and collector Henry E. Huntington). The landscape, designed in concert with the architecture by the Office of Cheryl Barton, reflects the local Mediterranean climate as well as both the agricultural and elegant estate history of the 207-acre Huntington grounds. Much of the new construction replaces existing facilities built in 1980 that no longer accommodated the needs of Huntington visitors, scholars, or staff. The project also includes the addition of 42,000 square feet of underground space to house The Huntington’s growing collections of original historical research materials as well as provide institutional storage.

The Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center was funded entirely with private contributions, with a lead gift from Charles T. Munger.