The Greatest Museum In America - And He's In Charge

June 11, 2019

Lonnie Bunch has been working at the Smithsonian - one of the most important museum and research complexes in the world - since 1978. In 2005 he was hired to lead the new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

The history professor and museum curator is known for powerful, forward-thinking choices.

In 2007, years before the NMAAHC was opened in real life, it opened on the Internet. Bunch wants the Smithsonian to be “more effective in the digital space” so that more people can have access, he said.

Unafraid of controversy, in 2012 the NMAAHC collaborated with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation to create an exhibit highlighting the fact that many of the “Founding Fathers” of the United States, including Jefferson, owned slaves.

The NMAAHC has been a huge success since opening in 2016, and Bunch has now been tapped to lead the entire Smithsonian!

He’s indicated that instead of an American history told only by and about whites, he wants to tell the honest, inclusive, whole truth.

“My whole career has been about expanding the canon, making sure that African American issues ... are at the forefront,” Bunch has said. “...[T]he Smithsonian will take the lead in grappling with these issues… [it] will always be that place to help us understand a diverse America.”

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