Laden Evenementen

“Museums have a social justice role to play. Cultural institutions need to be as much about today and tomorrow as they are about yesterday. This may just be a time of transformation.”

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the highest position of leadership within the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex. He is the first historian and the first African American to hold this position. Previously, he became the first director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

There was, however, one major hurdle when he started as director in 2005: the museum did not yet exist. A site had yet to be selected, and it only had one employee aside from himself. Over a decade later, the museum opened to fanfare on the National Mall in the heart of the American capital. The nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the United States’ largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history.

The museum that he founded is widely regarded as one of the most innovative in recent history: NMAAHC invites visitors to immerse themselves in the past. By stimulating conversations around race in one of America’s most beloved institutions, Secretary Bunch’s vision moved the museum beyond collecting alone, and into the hearts and minds of Americans in a bold way.

As Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution since 2019, Bunch currently oversees 21 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, and numerous research and education units. Two new museums—the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum—are in development.

A widely published author, Secretary Bunch has written on topics including the Black military experience, the American presidency, African American history in California, diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. His most recent book, A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump, chronicles the making of the museum that would become one of the most popular destinations in Washington.

The Netherlands has much to learn from his expertise. Secretary Bunch – a historian and educator – will participate in a public event hosted by the John Adams Institute, organized in collaboration with Black Achievement Month and the U.S. Embassy in The Hague. He will be joined by local experts to discuss how to do the work of memory in a time when looking to the past through a diversity of lenses matters more than ever. Ticket info:

18 oktober

20.00 uur

Singelkerk, Singel 452 te Amsterdam