Lessons in Leadership Featuring Lonnie Bunch III

July 13, 2018

We invite you for the final Lessons in Leadership of FY18 on Friday, July 13. Lonnie Bunch III, Founding Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture will join Richard Bynum ('13) for an engaging conversation about culture and leadership. 


Meet Lonnie: 

Historian, author, curator and educator, Lonnie G. Bunch, III is the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.  In this position he promotes the museum’s mission to help audiences see African American history as American history, and provides strategic leadership in areas of fundraising, collections, and academic and cultural partnerships. The museum, the 19th to open as part of the Smithsonian Institution, is located on the national Mall where Smithsonian museums attracted more than 24 million visitors in 2005.  It stands on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument and opposite the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.  The museum opened to critical and public acclaim on September 24, 2016.
As a public historian, a scholar who brings history to the people, Bunch has spent nearly 30 years in the museum field where he is regarded as one of the nation’s leading figures in the historical and museum community. Prior to his July 2005 appointment  as director of NMAAHC, Bunch, served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society, one of the nation’s oldest museums of history (January 2001-June 2005). There, he initiated an unprecedented outreach initiative to diverse communities and launched a much-applauded exhibition and program on teenage life titled “Teen Chicago.”  He also led a successful capital campaign to transform the institution in celebration of its 150th anniversary and managed an institutional reorganization. Bunch has held several positions at the Smithsonian. As the National Museum of American History’s (NMAH) Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs (1994-2000), he oversaw the curatorial and collections management staff of nearly 200.  In addition to leading the curatorial team that developed the major permanent exhibition “American Presidency: A Glorious Burden,” he served as co-author of the exhibition’s companion book by the same name. 

In service to the historical and cultural community, Bunch has 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.   Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and 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 and in 2009, Ebony Magazine named him one of its 150 most influential African Americans. Again, in 2016 he was chosen as one of the 100 most significant African Americans by Ebony Magazine. In 2011, BET (Black Entertainment Television) selected Bunch to receive its BET Honors for outstanding service to American education. In 2014, BET selected Bunch as one of its ICON Men for his work mentoring young African American men.  In recent years, Bunch has been honored with: Visionary History Award, DC Historical Society (2016), Rainbow Push Torchbearer Award (2016), Delta Sigma Thea Remembering Our Heritage Award (2016), and National Newspaper Publishers Association Torch Award (2016). In 2016, Washingtonian Magazine named him Washingtonian of the Year and Bunch was listed as #1 in the Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 ratings and in Vanity Fair’s Hall of Fame. In 2017, Bunch was given the President Award at the NAACP Image Award and the Greater Washington Urban League presented him with the Impact Leader Award. In addition, BLACK ENTERPRISE presented Bunch with the inaugural XCEL Award at their Summit. In 2017, Bunch was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has also been featured on Politico's Annual 50 List and Vanity Fair

Born in the Newark, N.J. area, Bunch has held numerous teaching positions across the country including The American University in Washington, D.C. (1978-1979); the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth (1979-1981); and The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. (1989-2000).  He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from The American University in Washington, D.C. in African American and American history.  

Event Details
Lessons in Leadership:
Lonnie Bunch, III
Friday, July 13 | 8:00-10:00 AM
PNC Place
800 17th Street NW, 12th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20006


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