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Lonnie Bunch Named Smithsonian’s New Secretary

More on this here.

With three decades of experience at the Smithsonian, leading up to his current post as founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Lonnie Bunch, 66, is an ideal candidate to hit the ground running, on short notice, as the Smithsonian’s 14th Secretary (effective June 16).

Lonnie Bunch, addressing the press conference where his appointment as Smithsonian Secretary was announced
Screenshot from the live webstream

As the driving force of the acclaimed, wildly successful NMAAHC, he was not only a manager, but also a visionary and a builder.

The Smithsonian’s announcement of his appointment is here.

During the brief question-and-answer period following his meet-the-press moment, Bunch proved himself adroitly articulate and laid out a clear, concise summary of his vision for the Smithsonian as its new leader:

People understand the Smithsonian as a place to come to be educated to see wondrous things. But I want the public to understand that in addition to that, the Smithsonian is this major entity that helps us understand who we are as Americans, using history to better contextualize what we are today, wrestling with science to help us understand the challenge of environmentalism and globalization.

So for me, the Smithsonian should never hold its light under a bushel barrel and I want it to be the kind of institution that people realize is of value—of value in traditional ways—great exhibitions, wonderful preservation of collections—and of value in non-traditional ways, in being in that space that helps us debate, that helps us discuss, that helps us understand, that helps us become better as a nation [emphasis added].

Let the debates begin.

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