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Visiting the Getty Villa in California
Written by Rachel Lee | Published. 2019.07.08 22:27 | Count : 548

When I typically visit a foreign city, I tend to dislike going to galleries or museums; the thought of spending time at an amusement park or eating at popular local cafes excites me far more. But when I visited the Getty Villa in Malibu, California, I felt captured by the architecture and aesthetic value of the museum for the first time in a long while. For the past few years, the only museums or art galleries I had gone to were practically built for taking photos for Instagram – they did not hold much historical or cultural value; thus, getting to relive world history through my visit here felt like a breath of fresh air.

[Photo taken in front of entrance of the museum. Photo courtesy of Rachel Lee]

Built by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty in 1954 and reopened to the public in 2006, the Getty Villa is one of two parts of the Getty Museum - one of the most acclaimed tourist attractions in Los Angeles - located across the state of California. Although most tourists visit the Getty Center in nearby Brentwood, the Getty Villa offers a more garden-focused architectural experience in comparison to the relatively modern buildings of the Center. The Getty Villa focuses on educating the public on European cultures and communities through a replica of ancient Roman villages. As I walked through several halls of the museum, I was fascinated by how Greek and Roman mythological figures and creatures were embedded into historical artifacts, proving just how central they were to contemporary society. For example, a water jar showing the Judgement of Paris was not only aesthetically beautiful but also historically significant. 

[Rachel Lee and friend walk through the gardens of the Getty Villa. 
Photo Courtesy of Karen Yuh]

However, I felt that the true centerpiece of the museum was the Outer Peristyle, which featured a landscape of greenery alongside a seemingly never ending pool of water, making for a great photo zone. And clearly, I wasn’t the only person who thought so; myriad students from school and camp field trips explored the peristyle to admire the structure and take photos. There were also an auditorium and several herb and floral gardens located across the property, but due to my pollen allergy bee activity within the area, I chose not to enter those sections of the museum. 

[Photo of the Inner Peristyle at the Getty Villa. Photo courtesy of Rachel Lee]

All in all, taking a trip to one of Los Angeles’ most esteemed cultural institutions made me feel more insightful and connected to content I learned at school than I did by staring at photos of artifacts in textbooks. I hope that in this coming school year, I’ll be able to connect what I’ve seen today with what I’ll learn in my classes to gain a more comprehensive understanding of world history.



Rachel Lee
Grade 11
Seoul International School

Rachel Lee  student_reporter@dherald.com

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