Spring in Washington, D.C., is marked by changing weather, gardens coming back to life and of course, cherry blossoms. The famous cherry blossom trees surrounding the Tidal Basin and Jefferson Memorial, a gift from Japan more than a century ago, are nearing peak bloom which also means peak volume of visitors to view them! To celebrate the change of seasons, the Library of Congress is hosting a new pop-up exhibit and series of activities collectively referred to as Spring Fling, starting this Friday, April 6.
Open to the public, the event includes exhibitions of drawings, photographs, books, maps, poetry and music from the Library’s collections related to weather and the seasons, gardens and botany, and of course those beautiful cherry blossoms of the nation’s capital. We hope you can join us at the Library of Congress and enjoy these treasures and the related activities in person! However, if you can’t make the trip, take a tour of Prints and Photographs Division collection items from the display, related to the history of enjoying cherry blossoms in Japan as well as here in Washington, D.C., below.
The 18th- and 19th-century Japanese color woodcut prints below celebrate blossom watching in Japan. And a 1921 watercolor (below right) celebrates the beauty of the blossoms themselves, as one variety of the short-lived blooms is delicately captured on paper.
The springtime ritual of going to see the cherry blossoms for D.C. area residents and visitors goes back decades. The tradition of crowning a Cherry Blossom Queen (and having a court of princesses) as part of the Cherry Blossom Festival continues to this day, and here we have the 1937 honoree, Sakiko Saito, receiving her crown.
With the Jefferson Memorial still under construction, the 1941 visitors depicted below find two ways to rest their tired feet – a boat ride and a bench!
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial welcomes visitors as the third memorial around the Tidal Basin, along with the Thomas Jefferson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorials. This 2000 illustration captures the sight in bright sunny springtime, complete with cherry blossoms.
- Explore more Japanese woodcut prints featuring cherry blossoms in the collections of the Prints and Photographs Division.
- Marvel at the beautiful watercolors of varieties of cherry blossoms by Tsunoi.
- Read about all the events connected to the Library of Congress Spring Fling in this news release.
- Plan your visit to the Library of Congress Jefferson Building and enjoy the other exhibits currently on display.
- Enjoy previous Picture This posts about cherry blossom season.