The Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents elected Lonnie G. Bunch III, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, as the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian, effective June 16.
Bunch is the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in September 2016. He oversees the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history.
Bunch’s election is unprecedented for the Smithsonian: He will be the first African American to lead the Smithsonian, and the first historian elected Secretary. In addition, he will be the first museum director to ascend to Secretary in 74 years.