Memory and Forgetting - The Challenge of Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Lecture / Free admission / CANCELED
Unfortunately, this lecture had to be canceled. We are hoping to welcome Lonnie G Bunch III on another date in the future.
Since its grand opening in September 2016 the ground-breaking museum has welcomed over three million visitors making it one of the most popular Smithsonian destinations in Washington, D.C. A powerful combination of celebration and reflection, the museum presents both a celebration of how far African Americans have come in the struggle for equality in the United States and a reminder of how far there is still to go.
This talk will explore the history of and struggle to create the National Museum of African American History and Culture, focusing on a variety of challenges, including building on the Mall, conceptual frameworks, the contextual terrain of race, public expectations, getting objects, creating exhibitions, and deciding on a narrative.
Lonnie G. Bunch III is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. A prolific and widely published 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.
As the museum’s director, Bunch has identified the museum’s mission and is 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 seven exhibitions in its gallery located in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The most recent exhibit, Through the African American Lens: Selections from the Permanent Collection opened May 8, 2018. In addition, the museum’s traveling exhibition, Changing America was exhibited at 50 venues across the country through 2018. 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.
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 (2001–2005). There, he led a successful capital campaign to transform the Historical Society in celebration of its 150th anniversary, managed an institutional reorganization, initiated an unprecedented outreach initiative to diverse communities and launched a much-lauded exhibition and program on teenage life titled Teen Chicago.
Introduction: Dr. Andreas Etges, Amerika-Institut/ LMU Munich
Organizers: U.S. Consulate General Munich, Bavarian Center for Transatlantic Relations
(Photo: Lonnie G. Bunch III ©Smithsonian Institution)
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