03/02/2012 10:37 am ET

National Geographic Museum Explores Japanese Samurai With New Exhibition Opening March 7 (PHOTOS)

WASHINGTON -- Cherry blossom season is coming up fast, and the National Geographic Museum is getting into the spirit of all things Japanese with its new exhibition, "Samurai: The Warrior Transformed," which opens March 7 and runs through Sept. 3.

The exhibition features suits of armor, weapons and photographs that, according to a media advisory, explore "the role and symbolism of the Samurai as part of the relationship between the United States and Japan and the role the Samurai played as diplomats and cultural ambassadors."

Samurai played an integral role in U.S.-Japan relations from 1860 up through the 1930s.

On display will be items including a sword presented to President Ulysses S. Grant and elabore suits of armor gifted to presidents Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.

The exhibit also touches on a bit of the museum's personal history. Eliza Scidmore, the first woman to serve on the board of the National Geographic Society, was instrumental in facilitating Japan's 1912 gift of cherry trees to D.C., which were planted along the Tidal Basin and the banks of the Potomac River and are now the setting for the city's celebrated National Cherry Blossom Festival.

A gallery of photographs, "Reflections of Japan: Photographs by Eliza Scidmore," will include 27 hand-colored published and unpublished images from National Geographic's archives that feature Scidmore’s travels to Japan in the early 1900s.

In the meantime, click through the below gallery for a quick preview.



PBS Documentary On Samuari: