The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., is a cultural institution that celebrates the history, culture, and achievements of African Americans. It is one of the most popular and well-known museums in the United States, attracting millions of visitors every year. But who founded this iconic institution?
The idea for the National Museum of African American History and Culture was first proposed in 1915 by a group of African American veterans who wanted to create a memorial to honor their fellow soldiers who had fought and died for their country. Despite facing considerable opposition from lawmakers and other officials, the group persisted in their efforts over the years.
It wasn’t until 2003 that Congress passed a bill authorizing the creation of the museum, with funding provided by both public and private sources. A competition was held to select an architect for the building, which was eventually won by David Adjaye.
But who was responsible for bringing this idea to fruition? The answer is Lonnie G. Bunch III.
Bunch was appointed as the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2005. He had previously worked at several other museums, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
Bunch’s vision for the museum was to create a space that would not only showcase important artifacts and stories from African American history but also serve as a place for healing and reconciliation. He wanted visitors to come away from their experience at the museum with a deeper understanding and appreciation for African American culture.
Under Bunch’s leadership, construction on the museum began in 2012, with President Barack Obama laying the cornerstone during a ceremony on February 22nd of that year. The museum officially opened its doors on September 24th, 2016.
Since then, it has become one of Washington D.’s most popular tourist attractions and has received widespread praise from both visitors and critics alike. Its collection includes over 36,000 artifacts, ranging from Harriet Tubman’s shawl to Chuck Berry’s red Cadillac.
In conclusion, the National Museum of African American History and Culture was the brainchild of a group of African American veterans who sought to honor their fallen comrades. However, it was Lonnie G. Bunch III who brought this idea to fruition as the founding director of the museum. Under his leadership, the museum has become a celebrated cultural institution that celebrates the rich history and achievements of African Americans.