The Power of History: A Conversation with Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III


Secretary Bunch speaks about the role of educational philanthropy in his own family history and in the establishment of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, where he was the founding director. Learn more about the Smithsonian’s work to increase educational equity as an institution founded “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

About the Speakers

Amanda Moniz, PhDInterviewer
Dr. Amanda B. Moniz
David M. Rubenstein Curator of Philanthropy
National Museum of American History

Dr. Amanda B. Moniz is the David M. Rubenstein M. Curator of Philanthropy at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Moniz’s first book, From Empire to Humanity: The American Revolution and the Origins of Humanitarianism (2016), was awarded the Association of Voluntary Action Scholars (ARNOVA) inaugural Peter Dobkin Hall History of Philanthropy Book Prize. She is now working on a biography of Isabella Graham, a transformational philanthropist in the early United States, as well as on a book tentatively entitled Philanthropy’s Usable Past: Ten Stories about Changing the World Today. A focal interest of hers is how wars have shaped American philanthropy, and a major current project of hers is the new War and Latina/o Philanthropy Collecting Initiative. Moniz is a visiting faculty member at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Lonnie G. Bunch IIILonnie G. Bunch III
Smithsonian Institution

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex. Prior to assuming this position in June 2019, Bunch was the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In this position he provided strategic leadership in areas of fundraising, collections, and academic and cultural partnerships. As a public historian, Bunch has spent nearly 30 years in the museum field and is one of the nation’s leading figures in the historical and museum community. Bunch previously served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society. Bunch has held several positions at the Smithsonian, and spent a number of years at both the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum. A prolific and widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from slavery, the Black military experience, the American presidency, and all Black towns in the American west to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums. Born in the Newark, NJ area, Bunch has held numerous teaching positions across the country.