A Fool's Errand Book Tour
Lonnie G. Bunch III, the newly appointed 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, continues on a national tour to discuss his new memoir A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump.
The tour kicked off last September in Chicago. It continues with dates in 2020 to include Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco and more. Through intimate conversations with high profile journalists and historians, the tour will offer guests an unfiltered view of the path to building a national landmark that was a century in the making.
Watch the video of Secretary Bunch discussing his book with Scott Pelley.
A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump is Founding Director Lonnie Bunch’s deeply personal tale of the triumphs and challenges of bringing the Smithsonian’s 19th museum to life. His story is by turns inspiring, funny, frustrating, quixotic, bittersweet, and above all, a compelling read.
In its first four months of operation, the National Museum of African American History and Culture surpassed one million visits and quickly became a cherished, vital monument to the African American experience. And yet this accomplishment was never assured. In A Fool’s Errand, Bunch tells his story of bringing his clear vision and leadership to bear to realize this shared dream of many generations of Americans.
Outlining the challenges of site choice, architect selection, building design, and the compilation of an unparalleled collection of African American artifacts, Bunch also delves into his personal struggles---especially the stress of a high-profile undertaking---and the triumph of establishing such an institution without mentors or guidebooks to light the way. His memoir underscores his determination to create a museum that treats the African American experience as an essential component of every American’s identity.
This inside account of how Bunch planned, managed, and executed the Museum’s mission informs and inspires not only readers working in museums, cultural institutions, and activist groups, but also those in the nonprofit and business worlds who wish to understand how to succeed---and do it spectacularly---in the face of major political, structural, and financial challenges.
This book is dedicated to my colleagues at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and to the staff of the Smithsonian Institution, both of whose commitment to excellence, to service, to scholarship, and to the American public is often unnoticed but greatly appreciated by me.Lonnie G. Bunch III, A Fool’s Errand
Being part of the birth of the National Museum of African American History and Culture nurtured the souls of my ancestors. Until I returned to the Smithsonian in 2005, I had never written about or mentioned ancestors. But the museum should be about more than an individual’s dream. This endeavor was more important than anything I could ever do.Lonnie G. Bunch III, A Fool’s Errand