Lonnie Bunch to become Smithsonian Institution’s first African American leader

Lonnie Bunch to become Smithsonian Institution’s first African American leader
Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, speaks during an interview with the Associated Press at the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, Tuesday, May 28, 2019. Bunch has been named as the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian and the first African American to lead the organization. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) (Source: Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The founding director of the Smithsonian’s museum about African American history will now lead the entire system of museums and parks.

The Smithsonian Institution on Tuesday named Lonnie Bunch as its 14th secretary. Bunch was the first director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

He'll now lead the world's largest museum, education and research complex, with 19 museums and the National Zoological Park. Bunch becomes the first African American to lead the Smithsonian, beginning his new position June 16. He'll be replaced as interim director by Spencer Crew.

Bunch was hired in 2005 and shepherded the collection of more than 40,000 items and the creation of the museum on the National Mall. It opened in 2016.

The story has been corrected to reflect announcement was Tuesday.

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