Commencement 2013 Speakers

In a distinguished career of more than 35 years, Bunch’s award-winning and landmark exhibits and prolific writings have brought history to the public and engaged people from all walks of life. Appointed in 2005, Bunch is the founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture where he oversees the museum’s design, fundraising, and collections development, as well as the creation of traveling exhibitions and public events. He is committed to establishing an institution that celebrates the richness and depth of the African American experience. Expected to open in 2015, the museum is being constructed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. 

Prior to 2005, Bunch served four years as president of the Chicago Historical Society where he initiated an unprecedented capital campaign and produced the highly acclaimed exhibition Teen Chicago. During Bunch’s tenure as curator of history for the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles, he organized several award-winning exhibitions. Bunch’s curatorial leadership has contributed to several major Smithsonian installations and exhibits. Committed to making history accessible, he also produced several historical documentaries for public television.  

A prolific author, Bunch has written on topics such as the black military experience, the American presidency, and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. As an education specialist at the National Air and Space Museum from 1978 to 1979, he developed multicultural instructional programs and wrote the history of African Americans in aviation. His most recent book, Call the Lost Dream Back: Essays on Race, History, and Museums, was published in 2010. Since 2008, Bunch has served as the series coeditor of the New Public Scholarship Edition of the University of Michigan Press. 

Bunch received undergraduate and graduate degrees in African American and American history from American University in Washington, D.C., where he also taught. A preeminent educator, he has held teaching positions at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, and The George Washington University. Bunch has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums and the American Association of State and Local History. 

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