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C.V. Starr Center for the


Study of the American Experience

Lonnie Bunch - Founding Director, The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture


Date: 5:30pm EDT April 15

American educator and historian, Lonnie Bunch is a former director of the Chicago Historical Society and, currently, the founding director of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.


Lonnie G. Bunch III, is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. responsible for defining the new museum’s mission, developing exhibitions and public programs, and coordinating the museum’s fundraising and budget development.

Under Bunch’s leadership, the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened an exhibition in January titled “The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington: Picturing the Promise,” which features more than 100 images created by one of the premiere African American studios in the country and one of the longest-running black businesses in Washington. In addition, the museum opened its inaugural exhibition in May 2007 at the International Center of Photography in New York. The exhibition, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Photographs,” examines 150 years of American history to show how photographers and their subjects worked together to create positive images, challenge demeaning stereotypes and shape new attitudes about race and status. Bunch also established the program “Save Our African American Treasures” featuring daylong workshops where participants work with conservation specialists and historians to learn to identify and preserve items of historical value ranging from photographs and jewelry to military uniforms and textiles.

Before his July 2005 appointment as director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001 to 2005). As author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from the black military experience, the American presidency and all-black towns in the American west to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. 



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