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Director’s Innovation Speaker Series: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Date and Time

June 28, 2022
3:00–4:00 p.m. ET


Secretary of the Smithsonian, Lonnie G. Bunch III


In its first four months of operation, the Smithsonian’s 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 conversation with NIMH Director Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Secretary of the Smithsonian, Lonnie G. Bunch III  will tell his story of bringing his clear vision and leadership to realize this shared dream of many generations of Americans.

The discussion will outline the challenges of site choice, architect selection, building design, and the compilation of an unparalleled collection of African American artifacts. Secretary Bunch will also share his personal struggles—especially the stress of a high-profile undertaking—and the triumph of establishing a museum that treats the African American experience as an essential component of every American's identity.

About Secretary Bunch

Secretary Bunch assumed his position June 16, 2019. As Secretary, he oversees 21 museums, including two new museums in development—the National Museum of the American Latino and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers.

About the Director’s Innovation Speaker Series

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) established the Director’s Innovation Speaker Series to encourage broad, interdisciplinary thinking in the development of scientific initiatives and programs, and to press for theoretical leaps in science over the continuation of incremental thought. Innovation speakers are encouraged to describe their work from the perspective of breaking through existing boundaries and developing successful new ideas, as well as working outside their primary area of expertise in ways that have pushed their fields forward. We encourage discussions of the meaning of innovation, creativity, breakthroughs, and paradigm-shifting.

Sponsored by

Division of Extramural Activities


This event is free but you must register to attend.


More Information

Closed captioning and a sign language interpreter will be provided for this event.