Tag: California African American Museum

Lonnie Bunch, Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, to Become New Secretary of Smithsonian

Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, moderates a panel on the “Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement: Views from the Front Line” at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library. (Photo by Lauren Gerson via commons.wikipedia.org)

Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), was appointed the new Secretary of the Smithsonian on Tuesday. According to dcist.com, Bunch is the fourteenth person to hold the position in the Smithsonian’s 173-year history, and the first African American.

As Secretary, Bunch will manage the administration of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 21 libraries, and the National Zoo. He is also responsible for its $1.5 billion annual budget. Bunch succeeds David J. Skorton, who announced his resignation in December.

“Lonnie has spent 29 years of his life dedicated to the Smithsonian, so he knows the institution inside and out,” said David Rubenstein, the chair of the Smithsonian Board of Regents on Tuesday. The Board met at the Supreme Court earlier in the day unanimously elected Bunch as Secretary.

“He’s also highly regarded by members of Congress and highly respected by our donor base,” Rubenstein added, while also citing Bunch’s “incredible character” and his leadership of the NMAAHC as major assets.

“You’re going to make a historian cry,” Bunch said when he spoke at Tuesday’s press conference. “This is an emotional moment, because the Smithsonian means so much to me personally and professionally.”

Bunch was the first curator for the California African American Museum in Los Angeles in the 1980s and previously served as president and director of the Chicago History Museum from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, Bunch came to the Smithsonian to steward NMAAHC from conception. He shepherded both the David Adjaye-designed structure, did tireless fundraising, and helped build up and curate the museum’s collection from scratch.

The museum has been such a huge success that tickets are still largely required more than two years after opening, with visitors staying for hours longer than at other facilities. In its first year of operation, NMAAHC welcomed nearly 2.4 million visitors and was the fourth-most visited Smithsonian institution.

“It tells the unvarnished truth,” Bunch told DCist on the one-year anniversary of the museum’s opening. “I think there are people who were stunned that a federal institution could tell the story with complexity, with truth, with tragedy, and sometimes resilience.”

Over his tenure, Bunch and his team of curators made it a point to continue building a collection for the museum’s future, including acquiring artifacts from the Black Lives Matter movement, and to integrate D.C.’s own rich history into the fabric of the museum.

Read more: https://dcist.com/story/19/05/28/the-smithsonians-next-secretary-will-be-lonnie-bunch-the-head-of-the-african-american-history-museum/

Five African-American Museums to Visit in the U.S.

Black culture is found all across the country. Whether you’re in the rolling fields of the Midwest or the quiet back roads of the South, here are five inexpensive (or free) museums that feature art, music, and culture from the African diaspora.

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California African American Museum (photo via experiencela.com)

WEST 

What: California African American Museum

Where: Los Angeles, CA

How much: Free

This museum is home to some of the most fascinating exhibits of African and African American culture. Check out Toward Freedom: A Photo Exhibition of the Beta Israel Community in Israel and the Ethiopian Community in Los Angeles, photojournalist Irene Fertik’s images of Ethiopian communities establishing themselves in Israel and Los Angeles. Or, view The African American Journey West: Permanent Collection, which features art and artifacts that show the African American journey from the shores of Africa to America’s western frontier. Wherever your interests are, this museum is sure to have something that’ll satisfy your intellectual craving.

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DuSable Museum of African American History (Photo: wttw.com)

MIDWEST

What: DuSable Museum of African American History  

Where: Chicago, IL 

How much: $10 

This museum is a crux in Chicago’s black community. Home to several after-school programs, the museum has a history of engaging with the community on current topics. Current popular exhibits include Freedom, Resistance, and the Journey Towards EqualityRed, White, Blue & Black: A History of Blacks in the Armed Services, and The Freedom Now Mural.

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Buffalo Soldiers Museum (Photo: wikipedia.com)

SOUTHWEST

What: Buffalo Soldiers Museum

Where: Houston, TX

How much: $10 

The Buffalo Soldiers Museum has one of the most highly-curated museum collections of black soldier life. Founded in 2000 by a Vietnam veteran and African-American military historian, it’s currently the only museum primarily dedicated to the African-American veteran experience. Check out the memorabilia, fine arts collection and videos here.

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Tubman African-American Museum (Photo: grouptravelleader.com)

SOUTHEAST

What: Tubman African American Museum

Where: Macon, GA

How much: $10  

This museum, which calls itself an “educational adventure through time,” houses one of the most diverse collections of African-American historical artifacts in the country. Currently, visitors can see areas such as Folk Art, the Inventors Gallery, and a special area for Black Artists of Georgia.

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Museum of African American History (Photo: timeinc.net)

NORTHEAST

What: Museum of African American History

Where: Boston, MA

How much: $3

This museum — which is the 1834 African American Meeting House — has both rotating and permanent exhibits on local African-American history. The Black Books exhibit examines the historical and cultural implications of forbidding enslaved Africans to read or write. It also traces the evolution and recovery of their written voices. You can also see the Abiel Smith School, the first public school built to educate black children.

article by Kayla Stewart via blavity.com