(Recording Now Available!) Join Chesapeake Forum on a virtual visit to the Freer-Sackler Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art for the renowned Cherry Blossom tour!

The revered sakura, or cherry blossom, has been celebrated in landscapes, figure paintings, and prints by artists from medieval Japan to Katsushika Hokusai and beyond. Long after the cherry blossoms fall in Washington, DC, you are invited to embrace hanami, the traditional Japanese custom of “flower viewing,” by going cherry blossom viewing in the museum’s Japanese art collections!

The National Cherry Blossom Festival annually commemorates the 1912 gift to the city of Washington of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to enhance the growing friendship between the United States and Japan and to celebrate the continued close relationship between the two nations. Years later, the Festival has continued to grow with visitors from around the world arriving in Washington each year to admire the blossoming cherry trees and participate in the Festival, which heralds the beginning of Spring in the nation’s capital.

“We will look at the history of the Cherry Blossom Festival, and then examine items in the NMAA that depict this event, including screens, paintings, and ceramics, as well as some block prints and modern photographs.  Many of the items at which we will look were purchased by Charles Lang Freer, so we will also discuss Mr. Freer and his collecting in advance of the Freer Gallery’s Centennial in 2023.

Feedback from Yuan’s last tour with us:

Absolutely wonderful all the way around! Very engaging docent, lively discussion and a unique way of looking at specific pieces that tell a story of how art evolves from one culture to another.

Yuan, the Freer Gallery Docent, planned and conducted an interactive tour and created an atmosphere of collaboration. The items she selected, the slide show she designed, and the encouragement of listener participation all served to enhance the audience’s knowledge for and appreciation of particular art. Demonstrating the interactions of various ancient cultures provided the audience opportunity to contemplate the values different cultures share. Thank you!”

“The tour itself was very well presented. Instructor was knowledgeable, professional, enthusiastic, and engaging. Her concluding remarks reinforced the theme of the tour and adeptly summarized details of what had been taught.

The docent provided an interesting assortment of objects and explained their history well. She was very good at encouraging responses from the audience.

Excellent.  I  hope we can do more Smithsonian programs.”

A lovely addition to variation of Forum formats. Docent tours of museums and locations  are a great idea!

Zoom. Recording Now Available.

1 Session | No Charge


Dr. Yuan Liu

Dr. Yuan Liu is a neuroscientist, writer, photographer, and public lecturer. She received her Ph.D. from Basel University. She was a research scientist and later served as an International Office Chief at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2014 Yuan became a volunteer docent at the National Museum of Asian Art. Since 2020, she has led 75 online museum tours and 20 cultural-related webinars, serving thousands of listeners. Over the years, she has traveled to 50 countries on six continents and was often invited by universities, libraries, museums, scientific and cultural organizations to deliver lectures on science, art, literature, and culture. She published many scientific research papers as well as articles focusing on Asian art. Her book, written in Chinese, about the US Library of Congress received three “Top 100 Books” awards in China.

Share this course
Related Courses You Might Enjoy
art-across -cultures

Docent Led Course

From Tokyo to Istanbul, the Freer Gallery program will transport you across its many rich holdings.
Sense-of-Place-video-eerste-beeld (2)

Charles E. Yonkers, JD


Michele Dodge

RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE! Join a wildlife photographer as she explores the birds of the Great Pacific Flyway, a major north-south migratory path over the Sacramento Valley of California. As a wildlife rescuer, she will also show what happens when wildlife clashes with humanity.