Making It Happen
“Until we understand the full African American story, we cannot understand ourselves as a nation, as a people.”
— Rep. John Lewis
U.S. House of Representatives (Georgia, 5th District)
Sponsor of NMAAHC Legislation in the House
“We have an extraordinary opportunity before us — a chance to learn, understand, and remember together our nation’s history and to honor the significant contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.”
— Sen. Sam Brownback
United States Senator, Kansas
Sponsor of NMAAHC Legislation in the Senate
The Campaign to Build America's Next Great Museum
We need a total of $500 million to build this museum. Given the importance of this Museum to our nation, Congress committed to provide half of this amount. We must raise the remaining $250 million from the private sector, including friends like you, corporations, foundations, and other organizations.
Can we count on you to build this museum? We welcome gifts at all levels — from $35, $50, $100 to $10,000 or whatever you can afford.When you make a gift today, you can choose to become a Charter Member and receive a wide array of benefits.
Join us as we build America’s next great museum the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Making the Museum happen takes leadership with the vision and determination to build this Museum and to support its mission. NMAAHC is proud to introduce its leadership team.
Lonnie G. Bunch III, Founding Director
Historian, author, curator, and educator, Lonnie G. Bunch III, is the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In this role, Lonnie is setting the Museum’s mission, coordinating its fundraising and membership campaigns, developing its collections, and establishing cultural partnerships.
As a public historian and a scholar who brings history to the people, Lonnie Bunch has spent nearly 30 years in the museum field where he is regarded as one of the nation’s leading figures in the cultural-historical community.
Prior to his July 2005 appointment as director of the Museum, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society, one of the nation’s oldest museums of history. He has also held several positions at the Smithsonian, most recently as Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of American History.
A prolific and widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from the black military experience, the American presidency, all black towns in the American West to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. Lectures and presentations to museum professionals and scholars have taken him to major cities in the United States and abroad.
In service to the historical and cultural community, Bunch has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums and the American Association of State and Local History. Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House in 2002. In 2006, Bunch was named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals in the 20th century by the American Association of Museums.
Born in the Newark, N.J. area, Bunch received undergraduate and graduate degrees from American University in African American and American history.
Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Deputy Director
Kinshasha Holman Conwill serves as the museum’s deputy director.
Prior to joining NMAAHC she was an arts, museum, and management consultant where her projects included acting as senior policy advisor for the Museums and Community Initiative of the American Association of Museums, project director for the New York City Creative Communities program of LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity), project director and managing editor for Culture Counts: Strategies for a More Vibrant Cultural Life for New York City (New York Foundation for the Arts), and project manager for Creative Downtown: The Role of Culture in Rebuilding Lower Manhattan (New York City Arts Coalition).
She was director of The Studio Museum in Harlem from 1988 to 1999 where she conceptualized, organized, or co-organized more than 40 major exhibitions, many of which traveled nationally. She also served as assistant exhibit coordinator for the Museum of the American Indian in New York City and Coordinator of Activities for the Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House.
Conwill writes on art, museums, and cultural policy and is a frequent lecturer and panelist at colleges, universities, conferences, and museums. She has served as an advisor for the Harvard University Program for Art Museum Directors and on the faculties of the Virginia Management Institute for Senior Museum Professionals and the Salzburg Seminars. Additionally, she has been a presenter in major international art conferences and meetings and a juror for numerous public art projects and exhibitions.
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, she attended Mount Holyoke College as a National Achievement Scholar, graduated magna cum laude from Howard University with a B.F.A., and received an M.B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Council of the National Museum of African American History and Culture
The Advisory Council of the Museum serves as the board of the Museum and is comprised of the nation’s foremost corporate, civic, and philanthropic leaders. They provide strategic advice, counsel, and support for the development of this museum. Click here to view members of the Council.
Scholarly Advisory Committee
With noted historian the late Dr. John Hope Franklin as its Founding Chairman, the Smithsonian created a scholarly advisory committee to help shape the Museum’s exhibition content and programming. Click here to view all the members of the Scholarly Advisory Committee