May Lecture: “The Challenge of Building a National Museum”

May 16, 2019 11:00 am


Pillsbury Auditorium

Ticket Price: Free

Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture Lonnie Bunch to speak at May Friends lecture.

Lonnie Bunch, Mia
Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution

Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Founding Director  of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to Mia will be the featured speaker for the Friends May lecture on May 16 at 11AM.

Mr. Bunch’s talk will explore the history and struggle to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture—a process that included a variety of challenges including building on the Mall, conceptual frameworks, public expectations, and the contextual terrain of race.

Mr. Bunch will discuss the strategies used to successfully navigate these challenges, talk about the current status and future plans for the museum, and explore how it will ultimately help the Smithsonian transition from a 19th-century institution to a 21st-century enterprise.

Mr. Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001-05) and held several positions at the Smithsonian, including associate director for curatorial affairs (1994-2000) and supervising curator (1989-1992) at the National Museum of American History. He is the author of the award-winning book, Call the Lost Dream Back: Essays on Race, History and Museums (2010), and has published several other books including Slave Culture: A Documentary Collection of the Slave Narratives (2014) and Memories of the Enslaved: Voices from the Slave Narratives (2015).

Since 2008, Bunch has served as the series co-editor of the “New Public Scholarship Edition” from the University of Michigan Press.  He has also served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums, the African American Association of Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the ICOM-US. Lonnie Bunch has received several awards and recognition including being appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 (reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2009). In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals in the 20th century by the American Association of Museums. In 2017, Bunch was given the President Award at the NAACP Image Award, presented with the Impact Leader Award from the Greater Washington Urban League, and was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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