We draw on cultural traditions from across Asia in festivals and events that bring the museums to life for visitors of all ages. Immerse yourself in celebrations featuring art, music, theater, dance, and food that highlight local and international artists and communities.
Nowruz: A Persian New Year Celebration
Saturday, March 16, 11 am–5 pm
Freer|Sackler and Ripley Center
Ring in the Persian New Year at our eleventh annual Nowruz celebration! Welcome spring with free attractions for all ages, including performances, storytelling, hands-on activities, and more.
The celebration will include:
- Haft sin table displays, featuring seven symbolic objects to welcome the new year
- cinematic shadow-puppet performances based on the Persian epic the Shahnama
- interactive storytelling by Xanthe Gresham
- calligraphy demonstrations
- chances to create Nowruz cards, crowns, and puppets
- pop-up concerts in the galleries
- book signing of Cooking in Iran with chef and cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij
- Persian food from Moby Dick House of Kabob and Le Caprice Bakery available for purchase
- featured exhibitions Engaging the Senses, Feast Your Eyes, and Shaping Clay in Ancient Iran
Made possible by the Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Persian Cultural Celebrations Fund.
Empresses Exhibition Opening Day
Saturday, March 30, 12–5 pm
Celebrate Women’s History Month and the opening of the landmark exhibition Empresses of China’s Forbidden City, 1644–1912, with activities for all ages throughout the museums. Be transported into the imperial complex known as the Forbidden City through fascinating curator talks, performances, food, and art activities on this special day.
- Exhibition tours with curator Jan Stuart, 12 and 2 pm, Sackler, level B1 lobby
- Food for an Empress: taste recipes from the Chinese imperial court, 12–4 pm, Sackler, ImaginAsia Studio
- Entertainment for an Empress: Chinese classical musical theater performances by Shanghai Kunqu Troupe, 1 and 3:30 pm, Freer, Meyer Auditorium
- Create your own royal portrait, 12–4 pm, Sackler pavilion
- Write letters to women of the past, 12–4 pm, Sackler, level B1 lobby
- Fly Chinese kites, 12–4 pm, Freer plaza (weather permitting)