Smithsonian Selects First Director
Of National Museum of African American History
The Smithsonian Institution has tapped Dr. Lonnie G. Bunch as the first director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, effective in July.
As the museum’s founding director, Bunch will work to identify the museum’s mission; develop exhibitions and public programs concerning the history, culture and contributions of African Americans; and coordinate the museum’s fund-raising efforts and budget development.
“Lonnie Bunch is a distinguished historian and a skilled leader,” says Smithsonian secretary Lawrence Small. “With his many talents and vast experience, he’s perfectly suited to take on the exciting task of creating the new Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. We’re delighted he has returned to the Smithsonian family and look forward to welcoming him back.”
“I am humbled and excited about the possibility of helping to create such an important national museum for the Smithsonian Institution,” says Bunch. “Though I am saddened to be leaving one of the nation’s premier history museums, the opportunity to create a museum that will explore African-American culture, and one that can remind us all of the centrality of race in our lives, was too important to pass up.”
Prior to his appointment as director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society. There, he led a successful campaign to transform the institution in celebration of its 150th anniversary; managed an institutional reorganization; initiated an unprecedented outreach initiative to diverse communities; and launched a much-applauded exhibition and program on teenage life titled “Teen Chicago.”
Bunch received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and doctorate from American University in Washington, D.C.
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