Articles by Lonnie G. Bunch III

Smithsonian scientist Genevieve Noyce conducts a plant census in a wetland at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland.


How the Smithsonian Grapples With Climate Change

As a hub for research and education, the Institution is poised to help the world find solutions to the global challenge

Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley, in 1978, stands before a portrait of a predecessor—Joseph Henry, the first Secretary.

Smithsonian 175

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on What It Takes to Lead the Smithsonian

A successful Secretary must acknowledge the Institution’s failures as well as successes—and celebrate its capacity for change

An interactive lunch counter at the African American History Museum lets visitors grapple with moral dilemmas of the civil rights movement.

Race in America

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on Why the Smithsonian Is Talking About Race

In a deeply divided moment, a new initiative aims to bring Americans together by reckoning with our racial past

Two American bison grazed in a paddock behind the Castle. A few years later, in 1891, they joined the first animals at the new National Zoo.

Smithsonian 175

Secretary Lonnie Bunch Reflects on the Smithsonian's 175th Birthday

The Institution's leader looks back on a vibrant history—and ahead to the next two museums

Each year, Smithsonian’s Tropical Research Institute hosts 1,400 scientists from across the world at its Panama facilities.

The Global Reach of the Smithsonian

Expanding the Institution's reach and relevance requires collaborating with museums and researchers around the world

In Myanmar, a scientist with Smithsonian’s Global Health Program examines the world’s smallest mammal, a bumblebee bat.

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on the Power of Research at the Smithsonian

We can accomplish more when we unite our robust scientific capabilities with our educational reach

In “Deep Time,” curators used each fossil, including the sea scorpion Eurypterus lacustris, to weave a detailed timeline of Earth’s history.

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on What Makes for a Great Museum Exhibition

A well-curated show makes the unknown feel familiar—and reveals the unexpected

Chosen for the 2021 inauguration, this 1859 painting by the African American artist Robert Duncanson depicts the promise of America.

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on Healing a Divided Nation

We must use the lessons of the past to help our country grow and move forward

The carriage that Ulysses S. Grant rode to his second inauguration is one of 900 items in the exhibition "The American Presidency."

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on the Year Ahead for Museums

After a year fraught with challenges, we must build on our strengths for a common purpose

To keep Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit from degrading, conservators designed a custom mannequin that allows air to circulate inside.

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on the Invisible Work of the Smithsonian's Conservators

From deep cleaning to painstaking repairs, caring for Smithsonian’s 155 million objects requires serious TLC—and steady hands

The National Native American Veterans Memorial, designed by Cheyenne and Arapaho artist Harvey Pratt, features a steel circle balanced on a carved drum.

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on the New Memorial to Native American Veterans

Located in front of the National Museum of the American Indian, the sculpture reminds us of the true burden of freedom

Rock legend Chuck Berry drove his 1973 Cadillac 
Eldorado onto a St. Louis stage in Hail! Hail! Rock ’n’ Roll, a 1987 documentary.

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie Bunch on How the Institution Builds Its Collections

Finding the next awe-inspiring artifact requires flexibility, help from the community—and a healthy dose of good luck

The “Summer Road Trip” uses Bessie Coleman, the first African American to earn a pilot’s license, as inspiration to build a paper biplane.

Education During Coronavirus

Secretary Lonnie Bunch on What the Smithsonian Is Doing to Help Virtual Learning

Committing to our educational mission means reaching people where they are

After George Floyd’s death, Jason Allende, 13, and his family joined protesters in Junction City, Kansas, on May 29, 2020.

Secretary Lonnie Bunch: Learning From Americans' Past Ordeals

Looking to history can help find healing and hope

Protesters hold signs during a demonstration in a call for justice for George Floyd, who was killed while in custody of the Minneapolis police.

Secretary Lonnie Bunch: It Is Time for America to Confront Its Tortured Racial Past

This moment, says the Smithsonian secretary, should be the 'impetus for our nation to address racism and social inequities in earnest'

"Our planet faces the challenge of a lifetime," says Bunch. "Let’s work together to imbue our future with all the hope and healing we have to offer.

Planet Positive

In a World Facing Grim Challenges, Hope Still Reigns Supreme

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III says: ‘It’s time to put our heads down, and work’


How Lonnie Bunch Built a Museum Dream Team

An exclusive excerpt from the Smithsonian Secretary’s new book, ‘A Fool’s Errand’

Breaking Ground

The Definitive Story of How the National Museum of African American History and Culture Came to Be

From courting Chuck Berry in Missouri to diving for a lost slave ship off Africa, the director's tale is a fascinating one

"One of the most important contributions" of the film, says Lonnie Bunch, "is the humanization of Dr. King," as portrayed by David Oyelowo.

Breaking Ground

The Director of the African American History Museum Weighs in on "Selma"

A film with black history at its core and created by African Americans opens up a "national conversation"

This month's Atlantic cover story by Ta-Nehisi Coates is generating some serious discussion about "The Case for Reparations."

Breaking Ground

America's Moral Debt to African Americans

The director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture joins the discussion around "The Case for Reparations"

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