A Fool's Errand Book Tour

Lonnie G. Bunch III, the newly appointed 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, will embark 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 kicks off in Chicago on Sept. 19 and takes him to seven cities in the U.S. in 2019, with more dates in 2020 to be announced. Through intimate conversations with high profile journalists and historians including Scott Pelley, Gayle King and Henry Louis “Skip” Gates, the tour will offer guests an unfiltered view of the path to building a national landmark that was a century in the making.

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September 19, 2019

Chicago History Museum
Chicago, IL

SOLD OUT

September 24, 2019

National Museum of African American History and Culture
Washington, DC

SOLD OUT

October 1, 2019

The Apollo Theater
New York, NY

(Registration Opens on September 6)
register

October 15, 2019

Museum of the American Revolution
Philadelphia, PA

(Registration Opens on September 17)
register

October 23, 2019

Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology
Cambridge, MA​

(Registration Opens on September 25)
register

October 24, 2019

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History
New Haven, CT

(Registration Opens on September 25)
register

November 16, 2019

Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
Los Angeles, CA

(Registration Opens on October 11)
register

 

This book tour is generously supported by Toyota

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  • Books available for purchase at the event will be pre-signed.


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  • Parking for each location varies. Please visit the venue website for directions.


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  • Doors will open one hour prior to event start time.

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

Purchase A Fool's Errand

Photo Credit: Getty Images

"This book begins like a mystery, unfolds like a thriller, and ends like a romance novel of love for a people whose heritage has been hostage to hostility and ignorance. Lonnie Bunch led in creating a monumental institution that will stand the test of time."

— Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University and author of Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

Photo Credit: Getty Images

"America owes Bunch a debt for creating the museum, now we are in his debt, again, for this elegant story of triumph."

— Scott Pelley, 60 Minutes correspondent and author of Truth Worth Telling

Photo Credit: Getty Images

"A fascinating depiction of a dreamer and his destiny as he works faithfully to bring to fruition a home not just for artifacts, but finally a resting place of memory and spirit."

— Angela Bassett, Actress

Photo Credit: Getty Images

"This stirring tale of a labor of love should be read by anyone and everyone who wants to understand how to fight for representation of that which matters most."

— Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation

Historian, author, curator and educator Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex. He was appointed in June 2019.

Prior to assuming this position, Bunch was the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In this position he promoted the museum’s mission to help audiences see African American history as American history, and provided strategic leadership in areas of fundraising, collections, and academic and cultural partnerships.

The museum, the 19th to open as part of the Smithsonian Institution, is located on the National Mall where Smithsonian museums attracted more than 24 million visitors in 2005. It stands on a five-acre site adjacent to the Washington Monument and opposite the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. The museum opened to critical scholarly and public acclaim on September 24, 2016.

 

Read MORE

Former President Barack Obama, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Former President George Bush W. Bush, Former First Lady Laura Bush and Founding Director Lonnie G. Bunch III at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Former President Barack Obama, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Former President George Bush W. Bush, Former First Lady Laura Bush and Founding Director Lonnie G. Bunch III at the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Leah Jones/NMAAHC

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

Media Contacts

Fleur Paysour (202) 633-4761; paysourf@si.edu
Lindsey Koren (202) 633-4052; korenl@si.edu