Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of
African American History and Culture to Speak at Marquette
Released: Feb. 9, 2006
MILWAUKEE – Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, will speak at Marquette University on Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. in David A. Straz, Jr. Hall Room 105. Bunch’s lecture, “What’s It Like to Build a Museum?,” will address his transition from president and CEO of the Chicago Historical Society to developing a cultural attraction in our nation’s capital. A reception in Straz Hall Room 269 will follow the talk. Both events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the Marquette Department of History and the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences.
In the role as founding director that he assumed in 2005, Bunch will work to identify the museum's mission; develop exhibitions and public programs about the history, culture and contributions of African Americans; and coordinate the museum's fundraising efforts and budget development. The Smithsonian recently announced that the new museum will be located in a prominent location on the National Mall, adjacent to the Washington Monument.
Bunch has spent much of his career working for major museums throughout the United States. Prior to his appointment with the National Museum of African American History and Culture, he was president of the Chicago Historical Society from 2001-2005. Crossing the country, Bunch was the founding curator of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles in 1983, and he remained there until 1989.
Bunch has also served in various capacities at the Smithsonian. From 1989 to 2000, he worked as a curator and administrator at the National Museum of American History. From 1978 to 1979, Bunch was an education specialist at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, where he developed education programs for the museum.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established on Dec. 19, 2003, when President Bush signed legislation establishing the museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution. The new museum will be the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. It will be governed by the Institution's Board of Regents. The museum is expected to be completed in under a decade; cost estimates range from $300 - $500 million.
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