26 Jan 2021
Please note this is an online event and will require you to use the video conferencing system Zoom.
These events are free however donations are greatly appreciated.
Explore the rapid cultural transformations that have unfolded in museums in recent months, and the shared responsibilities of museums in this age of social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The event forms part of the ongoing Era of Reclamation series curated by Bonnie Greer, acclaimed playwright, author, and former Deputy Chair of the Board of Trustees of the British Museum, and in collaboration with Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum.
They're joined by Dr Lonnie G Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution: the world's largest museum, education and research complex. A decade prior to his appointment he helped conceive, build and launch the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture.
His recent book A Fool's Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump charts a deeply personal tale of the triumphs and challenges of bringing the NMAAHC museum to life.
To attend this online event
Click 'Book now' to secure your place. We're hosting the event on Zoom – a free video conferencing system that requires users to register in advance. If you do not already use Zoom, you can sign up using this registration link.
If the event is fully booked, or you do not wish to use Zoom, you can also watch the event streamed live – as well as other events in the series – by subscribing to the Museum's live events YouTube channel.
About the speakers
Dr Lonnie G Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian – a position he has held since June 2019. As Secretary, he oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centres. Previously, Bunch was the director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. A widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from 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. Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W Bush to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2010.
Bonnie Greer is an American-born playwright, novelist, critic, journalist and broadcaster, who has made the UK her home since the mid-1980s. She served as Trustee and later as Deputy Chair of the British Museum and has also served on the boards of other leading arts organisations, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the London Film School. Her acclaimed audiobook In Search of Black History was released on Audible in 2019. She has returned to the Museum at the invitation of the Director, to create and curate, along with him the Era of Reclamation event series which, through talks, culture, art, co-curation and activities within the community, will address questions of social justice and historical truth now and for the future.
Hartwig Fischer took up the post of Director of the British Museum in Spring 2016. He gained his PhD in Art History at the University of Bonn in 1993 after studying in Berlin, Rome and Paris. He began his career in museums as a Research Assistant and then Curator of 19th Century and Modern Art at the Kunstmuseum Basel, before becoming Director of the Folkwang Museum, Essen, in 2006. In 2012 he was appointed Director General of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden (State Art Collections, Dresden), with responsibility for 14 museums and associated libraries, archives and research centres. As Director General of one of the foremost museums of the world, he led on the development of significant international exhibitions and research projects across the world as well as in Germany.
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