12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
In Conversation with Secretary Lonnie Bunch
About the Keynote Session
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
In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum
professionals of the 20th century by the American Association of
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.