Lonnie G. Bunch III, Founding Director

Portrait photo of Lonnie Bunch Lonnie G. Bunch III is the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. As the museum’s director, Bunch has identified the museum’s mission and is developing exhibitions and public programs and coordinating the museum’s fundraising and budget development. 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.

Before his July 2005 appointment as director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, 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.”

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.

Museum Council

Richard D. Parsons, Council Co-Chair
Senior Advisor, Providence Equity

Linda Johnson Rice, Co-Chair
Chairman, Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.; Publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines

Rep. Xavier Becerra
United States House of Representatives

Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Former Mayor of San Francisco, CA

Laura W. Bush
Former First Lady of the United States of America

James Ireland Cash, Jr.
Retired James E. Robison Professor Emeritus of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean of Harvard Business School Publishing, Harvard Graduate School of Business

Kenneth Irvine Chenault
Chairman and CEO, American Express Company

N. Anthony Coles
Chairman and CEO, Yumanity Therapeutics

Brian C. Cornell
Chairman and CEO, Target Corporation

Ann Marie Fudge
Retired Chairman and CEO, Young & Rubicam Inc.

Allan C. Golston
President, U.S. Programs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

LaTanya R. Jackson
Actress, Director, and Producer

James A. Johnson
Chairman, Johnson Capital Partners

Robert L. Johnson
Chairman and CEO, The RLJ Companies; Founder, Black Entertainment Television

Quincy D. Jones
Chief Executive Officer, Quincy Jones Productions Inc.

Ann Dibble Jordan
Executive Committee Member, The National Symphony Orchestra; Trustee, The Phillips Collection, University of Chicago, Brookings Institution

Michael L. Lomax
President and CEO, United Negro College Fund; former President, Dillard University

Brian T. Moynihan
CEO, Bank of America

Homer Alfred Neal
Director, University of Michigan ATLAS Project, Samuel A. Goudsmit Distinguished University Professor of Physics, and Interim President Emeritus, University of Michigan

E. Stanley (Stan) O'Neal
Former Chairman and CEO, and President, Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.

Samuel J. Palmisano
Former Chairman, President and CEO, IBM Corporation

General Colin L. Powell
Former Secretary of State, United States of America

Franklin D. Raines
Retired Chairman and CEO, Fannie Mae; former Director, U.S. Office of Management and Budget

Ruth J. Simmons
President Emeritus, Brown University

Dr. David J. Skorton
Smithsonian Secretary

Earl W. Stafford
CEO, The Wentworth Group, LLC

Patricia (Patty) Q. Stonesifer
President and CEO, Martha’s Table

H. Patrick (Pat) Swygert
President Emeritus, Howard University

Anthony (Tony) Welters
Executive Vice President, United Health Group

Oprah Winfrey
Chairman and CEO, OWN

Robert L. Wright
Chairman Emeritus of Sentel Corp.

Scholar Advisory Council

With noted historian Dr. John Hope Franklin (1915-2009) as its Founding Chairman beginning in 2005, the museum created a scholarly advisory committee to help shape its intellectual agenda, exhibition content and programming.