12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

In Conversation with Secretary Lonnie Bunch


About the Keynote Session


Image Credit: Michael Barnes, Smithsonian Institution.

Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, joins us for a conversation about his experience building and serving diverse communities through bold, visionary museum action and leadership. Reflecting on the Conference's guiding pillar of Community, our discussion will explore museums as places of collaboration that are breaking down barriers to accessibility and ensuring inclusive representation of and for their communities. Come prepared with your own questions as this exciting conversation with Secretary Bunch will be followed with a Q & A opportunity, inspiring the work of Alberta museums as vital participants in creating vibrant and engaged communities.


About the Keynote Speaker

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian. He assumed his position June 16, 2019. As Secretary, he oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers.

Previously, Bunch was the director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. When he started as director in July 2005, he had one staff member, no collections, no funding and no site for a museum. Driven by optimism, determination and a commitment to build "a place that would make America better," Bunch transformed a vision into a bold reality. The museum has welcomed more than 6 million visitors since it opened in September 2016 and compiled a collection of 40,000 objects that are housed in the first "green building" on the National Mall.

Before his appointment as director of the museum, Bunch 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."

In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals of the 20th century by the American Association of Museums.

Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2010. In 2019, he was awarded the Freedom Medal, one of the Four Freedom Awards from the Roosevelt Institute, for his contribution to American culture as a historian and storyteller; the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal from the Hutchins Center at Harvard University; and the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund.






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