Remarkable Works, Remarkable Times

The Huntington Library's extraordinary holdings of 11 million items reveal an infinite number of stories. The works on display give voice to just some of the collection's depth and breadth in the culture and history of North America, the British Isles, Continental Europe, the Atlantic World, and the Pacific Rim.
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two white falcons

John James Audubon (1785–1851), The Birds of America, London, 1827–38.

Ellesmere Manuscript of The Canterbury Tales

Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1343–1402), Ellesmere Manuscript of The Canterbury Tales, England, ca. 1400–1405

Stories from The Huntington Library’s Collections

The Huntington Library’s extraordinary holdings of 11 million items have the power to reveal an infinite number of stories. The works on display in the Library Exhibition Hall give voice to just some of the collection’s depth and breadth in the culture and history of North America, the British Isles, Continental Europe, the Atlantic World, and the Pacific Rim. The diverse books, manuscripts, maps, prints, photographs, and other objects range from the Ellesmere manuscript of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to a typed draft of Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower.

We have all lived through remarkable times. Twelve key objects in this exhibition serve as portals to other notable works of the distant and recent past. Many of the items may inspire awe and wonder, while others may intrigue, move, perplex, or even disturb us. Together, the objects—and the connections between them—serve to deepen our understanding of remarkable works and remarkable times.


The Exhibition Hall itself was built as the original library reading room in 1920. It provides a beautiful setting for these highlights while reflecting the building’s historic past. Along with the 2012 restoration of the original marble and cork floor, three dramatic chandeliers have been fabricated based on archival photographs of the original fixtures to evoke the space as it looked in Henry Huntington’s day.

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