If you've visited The Huntington Library in San Marino in the last several months -- or, really, years -- you've no doubt seen construction projects aplenty dotting the tree-laden grounds. Happily, we've begun to notice the pockets of construction wrapping up with each visit (not that construction is bad, but we are eager beavers about whatever is being built). The latest addition? The wondrous Dibner Hall of the History of Science.
Dibner Hall, which just opened this past weekend, puts the focus on the sciences (it has to, we suppose; the pledge is in the hall's very name) in myriad ways, including spotlighting 100 important books and manuscripts (the kind of stuff that changed how we think about everything from the universe to light to health). One thing visitors should not expect is a room full of bubbling beakers and boards crowded with quantum equations; rather, The Huntington aims to tell the story of science, with all the lyricism and excitement and surprise that story has contained.
The importance and rarity of some of the artifacts on display cannot be overstated -- there is a copy of "Opticks" which belonged to none other than Mr. Gravity himself, Sir Isaac Newton -- but everything at Dibner Hall adds up to presenting deep and serious knowledge in an exquisitely rendered yet down-to-earth light.
We can't wait to visit. While The Huntington is famed for its thought-provoking and very smart exhibits, we too often find ourselves staring dreamily at cacti while there. Perhaps because we love the bucolic spot so, our thoughts instantly become joyously diffused -- it's all the tea drinking, sculpture gazing and rose sniffing, we think -- and adding another brain-stimulating dimension like Dibner Hall can only pull us out of our languor and challenge us to think. A good thing indeed.
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino