Kutler Center course tours Smithsonian museum virtually


Printed with permission of Bin He

History’s Imprint on Modern Chinese Culture teacher Bin He and his class wave to Dr. Yuan Liu, their docent at the National Museum of Asian Art.

Chloe Park

Students in the History’s Imprint on Modern Chinese Culture course participated in a virtual tour of the National Museum of Asian Art on Friday. Volunteer docent from the Smithsonian museum Dr. Yuan Liu conducted the tour, describing her experience during the Cultural Revolution, a political movement whose goal was to preserve Chinese communism.

The Kutler Center course primarily focuses on the influence of history on the culture of modern China, and students learn about cultural concepts that played important roles in shaping China’s domestic development, foreign policy and current affairs. History’s Imprint on Modern Chinese Culture course teacher Bin He said he decided to include the tour in the curriculum because art is a crucial element of Chinese culture.

“I feel like art is very important to Chinese culture and can be representative of China’s history,” He said. “I chose to include the tour since it provided specific artistic and cultural elements that would bolster the students’ understanding of China and its relationship to the world. Also, I wanted to create an environment in the class where students would explore how culture shapes our daily lives in unexpected ways since our first unit focuses on that, and the tour was a great interactive way for the students to learn.”

Karen Wu ’23 said she enjoyed the interactive nature of the tour as well as the artwork itself.

“I really liked how the docent made the tour interactive, which meant we got to both ask and answer a lot of questions,” Wu said. “The art we looked at was really beautiful and I loved being able to see how different cultures would influence each other with their art motifs and techniques.”

Owen Huang ’24 said the virtual tour was a valuable experience and taught him a lot about the economy in China.

“The virtual tour was a great experience for us to connect with and understand Asian and specifically Chinese art and its connections with other cultures,” Huang said. “I most enjoyed being able to understand how developments in one region spread quickly to others, as well as how and why certain places become centers of particular products. It was great to have Dr. Liu come and share her connections and stories with us, which shows how this class is such a one-of-a-kind experience.”