Smithsonian names Lonnie Bunch III as new secretary, the first African American in the top spot

Historians in the News
tags: Smithsonian, museums, Lonnie Bunch III

Lonnie G. Bunch III — the dynamic founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture — has been appointed secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, becoming the first African American leader in its 173-year history.

Bunch’s nomination was approved Tuesday morning by the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents. He succeeds David J. Skorton, who announced his resignation in December and whose last day is June 15.

Considered a giant in the museum field, Bunch, 66, becomes the 14th secretary of the quasi-federal institution, responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget that supports 19 museums, nine research centers and the National Zoo. He is the first Smithsonian director to ascend to the secretary’s post in 74 years and starts his new job June 16.

Bunch said Monday that he was “a tad stunned” by the appointment. 

“I have such a profound love of the Smithsonian,” he said. “I want to help the world see the Smithsonian as I do, as a place that matters, with gifted people who just want to serve their country.” 

Read entire article at Washington Post

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