African American Museum Founder to be Honored

African American Museum Founder to be Honored

The founder of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) Lonnie G. Bunch III will be honored during the Legacy Gala held by the Newark Museum on May 13.

Bunch will receive the John Cotton Dana Medal for Visionary Leadership in Museums. He will be the second recipient ever of the medal named after the founder of the Newark Museum.

NMAAHC opened in September 2016. There are more than 37,000 artifacts in the museum’s collection. These are items of African American history and culture such as photos, magazines, clothing, dolls, letters, bibles, and much more.

The museum also features interactive 3- exhibits. Visitors can see additional information about exhibits using a smartphone and 360-degree image rotation.

“As the founder of the Newark Museum, John Cotton Dana believed museums and their collections should be accessible to all people, not only a few. Like Dana did a century ago, the NMAAHC under Mr. Bunch’s direction furthers this commitment, providing voice and relevance for all through collections that have the power to educate, inspire and transform our communities, nation and world,” said Newark Museum Director and CEO Steven Kern.

The gala is the Newark Museum’s fundraising event. The Newark Museum’s collection includes more than 300,000 objects representing art, culture, and science from Asia, Africa, Native America, ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

“I am humbled to receive this award in my home state, said Bunch. “Growing up in Belleville, New Jersey shaped who I am, and I am honored to carry on John Cotton Dana’s passion to educate Americans through institutions that are accessible to all.”

Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals in the 20th century by the American Association of Museums. He spent nearly 30 years as a public historian, scholar, and educator. For the last 10 years, he dedicated himself to the creation and overseeing of the NMAAHC.