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Treasures from the Spanish Museum in Manhattan

This interactive designed for families tells the story of a man who loved books and art called Archer Milton Huntington, whose dream was to create a Spanish museum in Upper Manhattan in New York.

This museum, which he founded to introduce Americans to the splendid world of Hispanic culture, was given the name of The Hispanic Society of America.

If you are interested in finding out about this amazing man and discovering some of the treasures he collected during his lifetime, join us on this return journey…

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Huntington

Hello! My name’s Archer Milton, but everyone knows me by my surname, Huntington. I was born in New York in 1870 and although I’m American, my great passion has always been Spain and everything to do with the Hispanic world.

As a teenager I started to acquire an important collection of books, paintings, sculptures and other interesting objects that became a real treasure horde. Then, years later, I founded the Hispanic Society of America in order to show my great collection to the entire world.

Now, more than 100 years later, the building of this Library and Museum needs renovating and for this reason my treasures have travelled to Spain and are being exhibited at the Prado.

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Huntington

Maps were some of my most highly prized treasures as they helped me to understand how the world was seen in earlier times. On Vespucci’s map try locate places where I spent key moments in my life.

Travelling was one of my great passions. I travelled round Spain various times and visited different places in Europe, Africa and South America, although I never reached all the different countries where Spanish culture was present, a complicated challenge as it had reached so many!

I always brought back some treasure from my travels to be added to my collection but my fondest memories are of the people and places that I encountered.

Huntington

Some of the objects that I acquired were true marvels. Look at these masterpieces of Spanish painting.

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At the age of 12 I went to Europe with my parents and in a bookshop in London I bought The Zincali. An account of the Gypsies in Spain, a very special book for me and the first in my great collection of books about Spain. I went on to buy many more, most of them about art and history and also some very rare examples: all of them helped me to understand that far-off country.

Reading was one of my favourite pastimes. I appreciated books so much that I even bought an entire library. It was a fine collection that included extremely valuable books and was certainly worth all the effort!

Here you can see some of my favourites…

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Huntington

During my trips to Spain I met extremely important people whose conversation I enjoyed. I asked Sorolla and various other painters to paint portraits of many of them so they would be present in the Hispanic Society.
Do you recognise any of these silhouettes?

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Huntington

This one is me, Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955). I never liked to be the centre of attention and there are not many portraits of me, so this is one of the few that records this period of my life.

I greatly enjoyed meeting the people of Spain’s villages: simple men and women with a profound knowledge of their surroundings and great wisdom born from experience. Meeting them helped me to learn more about Spain.

Over the years I created a large and important collection of books, paintings, drawings and photographs on Spain in my Library-Museum in New York, making it possible for anyone to learn about the peoples, traditions, cities and landscapes of Spain without leaving the Big Apple.

Huntington

I hope you have learned something about me and about my collection: do please browse all the information on the exhibition available on the website. See you soon!

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