An Insider’s look into the Silk Road Society

The Silk Road Society offers young professionals in the DC area a chance to experience Asian art and culture in engaging and creative contexts. Members receive benefits such as special access to Freer|Sackler exhibitions and evening events, plus discounts in Smithsonian shops and at local hotspots. In addition, members are invited to monthly events held not only in our galleries, but also at other area museums, embassies, art galleries, and artist studios. A year’s membership costs $150 and can be shared by two members, or a single member can use it to bring one guest to all non-ticketed events.

Interested in learning more about the Silk Road Society? Read the interview below with advisory board member Minh Dang and get a sense of what it means to be a member.

Image of Minh Dang at Christies New York, Asia Week 2017

Minh Dang works for the Drug Enforcement Agency in Washington, DC, and is a lover of art, culture, the environment, and philanthropy. Along with the Silk Road Society’s advisory board, Minh serves on boards for children’s charities, Asian associations, and environmental foundations. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Minh likes to surf, hike through redwood forests, and enjoy the arts.

How long have you been a member? And what led you to join the Silk Road Society?
I’ve been a member for three years. As the chair of the Department of Justice Asian Employee Association, I had arranged a docent-guided tour of the Freer|Sackler exhibition The Traveler’s Eye: Scenes of Asia for our members during the 2014 Lunar New Year. This was my first experience with the museums, and I was taken in by their tranquil space, extraordinary exhibitions, and wonderful staff. I soon thereafter joined the Silk Road Society.


What do you love most about the Silk Road Society?
I participate in many of the art and culture programs in Washington, and what I do very much love about the Silk Road Society is the sophistication, quality, and intimacy of its many programs throughout the year. The Silk Road Society arguably is one of Washington’s best-kept secrets.


What has been your favorite event so far and why?
My favorite Silk Road Society event so far would be the 2015 Birds of a Feather Gala. We had an extraordinary evening at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery with a champagne reception and an exclusive preview of Peacock Room REMIX, followed by an after party at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, where we enjoyed drinks, dessert, and dancing. It was a breathtaking evening of art, music, and dance!


Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room; James McNeill Whistler, 1876–77; oil paint and gold leaf on canvas, leather, and wood; Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1904.61. Detail of north wall, installed with Kangxi blue-and-white porcelains. Photo: Neil Greentree

Do you have a favorite artwork at the Freer|Sackler?
I visit the Peacock Room often. I am drawn to the beauty, complexity, and rich and tumultuous history of the room, including the relationship between the patron (Frederick Leyland) and the artist (James McNeill Whistler).


What are you looking forward to?
I look very much forward to the reopening of the Freer|Sackler and our annual trip to Asia Week New York.


Silk Road Society members will have the opportunity to preview the Freer Gallery of Art before the public reopening at our annual fall reception on Friday, September 22. Join now and reserve your spot!

Wren Manly

Wren Manly

Wren Manly is membership assistant at the Freer|Sackler. Questions about your membership or becoming a member? Contact Wren at or 202.633.0417.

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