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How Lonnie Bunch Built a Museum Dream Team

Lonnie G. Bunch III, the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian and the former director
of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC),
reflects on his experience creating NMAAHC in a selection from his new book
A Fool’s Errand. At the close of the excerpt, he notes that “Museums are at
their best when the collaboration among designers, curators and educators
sharpens the interpretive and visual edges of the exhibitions, making the past
accessible in a way that provides both emotional and intellectual sustenance.
The partnership with RAA enabled the museum to tell, in John Hope Franklin’s
words, ‘the unvarnished truth.’ Or in the words of a visitor who stopped me as
I walked through the museum one day and thanked me for exhibitions that ‘do
not shy away from the pain but dull that pain by celebrating the wonders of a