Scholarly Programs

Curator giving a gallery tour

Scholarly programs, designed for experts, students, and enthusiasts, share groundbreaking research and provide a deeper look into Asian and American art and culture. Symposia are open to the public and available to watch online.

Symposia & Conferences

Freer Medal Lecture and Award Ceremonies

In 2023, as part of the National Museum of Asian Art’s centennial celebrations, the Charles Lang Freer Medal will go to Vidya Dehejia, the Barbara Stoler Miller Professor Emerita of Indian and South Asian Art at Columbia University, for her lifetime work in South Asian art, and to Gülru Necipoğlu, the Aga Khan Professor and Director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University’s History of Art and Architecture Department, for her lifetime work in the arts of the Islamic world.

  • Postponed—Freer Medal Lecture and Award Ceremony: Honoring Vidya Dehejia
    Friday, April 28, 2023, 6 p.m.
    Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art
    Due to unforeseen business circumstances, we need to postpone the Freer Medal lecture and the conferring of the award. We regret any inconvenience this late notice may cause. We hope to have an update soon.
  • Freer Medal Lecture and Award Ceremony: Honoring Gülru Necipoğlu
    Friday, October 27, 2023, 6 p.m.
    Meyer Auditorium, Freer Gallery of Art

Please visit the award page for more information.

Chinese Object Study Workshops

Sophisticated visual analysis is a hallmark of art history and depends on skills acquired through the direct study of objects. These skills must be taught and practiced. Yet as graduate art history curricula have expanded to include training in methodology, historiography, and theory, training in object study has lessened. The problem is exacerbated for students of Chinese art history, whose graduate curricula include intensive language courses, as well as courses on religion, literature, and history.

Chinese Object Study Workshops is a program that provides graduate students in Chinese art history an immersive experience in the study of objects. The week-long workshops will help students develop the skills necessary for working with objects, introduce them to conservation issues not readily encountered in typical graduate art history curricula, and familiarize them with important American museum collections.

PostponedSymposium: Japan in the Age of Modernization: The Art of Tomioka Tessai and Otagaki Rengetsu

This event has been postponed

This symposium gathers scholars from the United States, Japan, and Europe, who look beyond Japan’s Western industrialization to examine China’s role in forming the nation’s modern identity. It accompanies a major retrospective of the modern Japanese painter Tomioka Tessai (1836–1924) on view from March 28 to August 2, 2020, at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. A curator-led sneak preview of the exhibition concludes the symposium.