By Frederick H. Lowe
Lonnie G. Bunch III, the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and the first African American to hold the post, will embark on a nationwide speaking tour to discuss his book concerning the founding of the Smithsonian National Museum of the African American History and Culture.
Bunch, the museum’s founding director, wrote “a fool’s errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History in the Age of Bush, Obama and Trump.” The book goes on sale September 24.
The $400 million, 400,000 square-foot Washington, D.C.-based museum, which opened September 24, 2016 has so far welcomed 6 million visitors. It is the most comprehensive cultural location devoted to the African- American experience.
- Bunch will open his national speaking tour on September 19 at the Chicago Museum of History, which he led before accepting the herculean task of raising funds to build the museum, collect exhibits;
- On September 24, the same day his book goes on sale, he will speak at the National Museum of African American Museum and Culture in a conversation with Scott Pelly, a correspondent with CBS Television’s 60 Minutes;
- On October 1, he will appear at the New York City’s Apollo Theatre to participate in a discussion with Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning;
- On October 14, he will speak during a private ceremony at the African American Museum in Philadelphia, which is a Smithsonian affiliate. This event is not open to the public;
- On October 15, Bunch will speak at Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution. He will participate in a conversation with Scott Stephenson, the museum’s president and CEO;
- On October 22, Bunch will speak at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He will hold a discussion with author and “Finding Your Roots” Public Broadcasting System television host Henry Louis “Skip” Gates. Gates is director of the Hutchins Center for African American Research at Harvard.
- On October 25, Bunch will speak the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
- On November 16, Bunch will speak at the Nate Holden Theater in Los Angeles.
- Additional tour dates will be announced later
You can book tour tickets at www.nmaahc.si.edu/nmaahcbooktour
“a fool’s errand” discusses how Bunch was tasked to lead a team that created the museum.
Bunch discusses how he planned and managed the work for more than a decade, leading to the museum’s opening. The challenges included finding a construction site and choosing architects to design the museum that would house a collection of nearly 40,000 objects. Bunch also discusses the personal struggles he faced during this challenging period.
Bunch is co-author of “The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden and From No Return: The 221-Year Journey of the Slave Ship Sao Jose.
Bunch assumed the post of Smithsonian Secretary June 16th.