Program Directory

City Club of Cleveland - The Challenge of Building a National Museum
The Challenge of Building a National Museum
Lonnie G. Bunch
Founding Director, Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture
Sponsor: National City

Named the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History and Culture's first director in July 2005, Lonnie G. Bunch will speak about the new museum's mission to develop exhibitions and public programs about the history, culture and contributions of African Americans.

Prior to his appointment, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society from 2001 to 2005. There, he led a successful capital campaign to transform the institution in celebration of its 150th anniversary; managed an institutional reorganization; initiated an unprecedented outreach initiative to diverse communities; and launched an exhibition and program on teenage life titled "Teen Chicago."

Bunch has held several positions at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. As associate director for curatorial affairs (1994-2000), Bunch oversaw the curatorial and collections management staff and led the development of "American Presidency: A Glorious Burden." While serving as assistant director for curatorial affairs (1992-94), he supervised the museum's research and collection agendas and developed "Smithsonian's America" for the "American Festival Japan '94." As a supervising curator (1989-92), Bunch oversaw several of the museum's divisions, including Community Life. He also was an education specialist at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum (1978-79).

Bunch served as the curator of history and program manager for the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles (1983-89), 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 also produced several historical documentaries for public television.

Bunch has held numerous teaching positions at The American University, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, and The George Washington University.
February 5, 2007