Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), will deliver the second annual African and African American Studies fall lecture at Loyola University Maryland on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m. in McGuire Hall on the University’s North Charles Street campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Bunch is currently working to set the museum’s mission, coordinate its fundraising and membership campaigns, develop its collections, establish cultural partnerships, and oversee the design and construction of the museum’s building, which is set to begin in 2012. The museum, the 19th to open as part of the Smithsonian Institution, will be built on the national Mall on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument and opposite the National Museum of American History.
A native of Newark, N.J., 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 for more than four years as the president of the Chicago Historical Society, one of the nation’s oldest museums of history. He has also held several other positions at the Smithsonian, including associate director for curatorial affairs, assistant director for curatorial affairs, and supervising curator at the National Museum of American History (NMAH), and education specialist at the National Air and Space Museum. From 1983-89, Bunch was the curator of history for the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles, where he organized several award-winning exhibitions including “The Black Olympians, 1904-1950” and “Black Angelenos: The Afro-American in Los Angeles, 1850-1950.”
He has produced several historical documentaries for public television and written extensively 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. His most recent book, Call the Lost Dream Back: Essays on Race, History and Museums, was published in 2010. Bunch has traveled the world to give lectures and presentations to museum professionals and scholars, and during the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Bunch served as an on-camera commentator for ABC News.
In service to the historical and cultural community, Bunch has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums and the American Association of State and Local History. Among his many honors, 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. In 2011, Black Entertainment Television selected Bunch to receive its BET Honors for outstanding service to American education.
Bunch has held numerous teaching positions at universities across the country including The American University; the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; and The George Washington University. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees in African American and American history from The American University.
The first lecture in this series marked the launch of Loyola’s African and African American Studies minor in 2010 and featured Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and chief executive officer of the NAACP.
More information on this year’s lecture can be on the AAAS webpage.
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