In this activity guide, the topic of bridging cultures is explored by investigating objects in The Huntington’s collections. Students are asked to think about art as a cultural expression, and also to consider art as something that is traded and valued by many; it has its own journey and its own story to tell. Close looking and deep thinking may reveal how culture is represented and transmitted through these objects. There are opportunities throughout these activities for students to reflect on how trade shapes cultures, and how the influence of cultural artifacts and images prompts assimilation into a particular culture. Items from The Huntington’s collections in the following locations will be explored: the Huntington Art Gallery, the Chinese Garden (known as Liu Fang Yuan, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance,), the Library Exhibition Hall, and the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art. All of the collection items can also be found online in the Huntington Digital Library, the Art Collections Catalog, or the Huntington website.
The activities and writing tasks presented in this activity guide are appropriate for high school students, particularly those enrolled in English Language Development (ELD) or emerging bilingual classes, or students interested in Chinese identity in American culture.