He is the first African American elected to the post
The Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents has elected Lonnie Bunch III the 14th Smithsonian Secretary effective June 16.
Bunch is the first African American, and the first historian elected Secretary of the Smithsonian, which was founded in 1846 with a bequest from British scientist James Smithson.
The Washington, D.C.-based Smithsonian is the world’s largest museum, education and research complex with 19 museums and the National Zoological Park.
Bunch is founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in September 2016.
Previously, Bunch was president of the Chicago Historical Society, one of the nation’s oldest museums of history.
“I am humbled and honored to become the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution,” Bunch said. “I am excited to work with the Board of Regents and my colleagues throughout the Institution to build upon its legacy and to ensure that the Smithsonian will be even more relevant and more meaningful and reach more people in the future.”