The Challenge of Building a National Museum

The Challenge of Building a National Museum

featuring Lonnie G. Bunch III, Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Join us for a special lecture on the complexities, challenges, and opportunities of creating a national museum.


Before his July 2005 appointment as director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Lonnie G. Bunch III served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001–2005). There, he led a successful capital campaign to transform the Historical Society in celebration of its 150th anniversary, managed an institutional reorganization, initiated an unprecedented outreach initiative to diverse communities and launched a much-lauded exhibition and program on teenage life titled “Teen Chicago.”

Most recently, under Bunch’s leadership, the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened seven exhibitions in its gallery located in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The most recent exhibit, “Through the African American Lens: Selections from the Permanent Collection,” opened May 8. In addition, the museum’s traveling exhibition, “Changing America,” will be exhibited at 50 venues across the country through 2018. Bunch also established the program “Save Our African American Treasures” featuring daylong workshops where participants work with conservation specialists and historians to learn to identify and preserve items of historical value.

A prolific and widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from the black military experience, the American presidency and all-black towns in the American West to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. Lectures and presentations to museum professionals and scholars have taken him to major cities in the United States and many nations abroad, including Australia, China, England, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Scotland, South Africa and Sweden.

This event is Sold Out

This event is made possible by funding from the Portland Museum of Art as part of the Leonard and Merle Nelson Social Justice Fund, and is co-sponsored by the University of Maine School of Law, The Maine Historical Society, and the Maine Humanities Council.