Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in Conversation with Smithsonian’s Lonnie G. Bunch III at Harvard on October 23

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2019

Watch the live stream of this sold-out event at 6:00 pm on Facebook or Harvard Museums of Science & Culture website.

(Cambridge, MA) This currently sold-out book presentation and conversation between Harvard professor and PBS host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Lonnie Bunch III, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, will be made available to the wider public by live stream on October 23 at 6:00 pm. A limited number of additional tickets to the event may be made available on October 17 at 9:00 am on the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology website.

In A Fool’s Errand (Smithsonian Books, 2019), Lonnie Bunch shares the vision and leadership he brought to the realization of the National Museum of African American History and Culture—a dream shared by many generations of Americans. Bunch’s deeply personal story reveals the triumphs and challenges of bringing the museum to life and taps into broader questions of the role of race in America—past, present, and future. In this program presented by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology and the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, he will engage in a conversation with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to discuss the significance and impact of the museum at a time when the nation is grappling with so many divisive political and cultural issues. Copies of A Fool’s Errand will be available for purchase at the event. Each purchase includes a bookplate custom-designed by the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Book Presentation and Conversation
Facebook live stream
Harvard Museums of Science & Culture website livestream
Event location: Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Free event parking at the 52 Oxford Street Garage

This free event is currently sold out. A limited number of tickets may be made available on October 17 at 9:00 am.
Visit peabody.harvard.edu for event details

Presented by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology in collaboration with the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. He assumed the position on June 16, 2019. As Secretary, he oversees nineteen museums, twenty-one libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers. Previously, Bunch was the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum has welcomed more than five million visitors since it opened in September 2016 and has compiled a collection of 40,000 objects that are housed in the first LEED certified building on the National Mall. The nearly 400,000-square-foot National Museum of African American History and Culture is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting, and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. A prolific and 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. He has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums and the American Association for State and Local History. In 2005, Bunch was named one of the 100 Most Influential Museum Professionals of the 20th Century by the American Alliance of Museums. Harvard University awarded Bunch an honorary Doctor of Laws degree last May. Born in the Newark, New Jersey, area, Bunch has held numerous teaching positions at universities across the country.

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has authored or co-authored twenty-four books and created twenty documentary films, including Wonders of the African World, African American Lives, Faces of America, Black in Latin America, Black America since MLK: And Still I Rise, Africa’s Great Civilizations, and Finding Your Roots, his groundbreaking genealogy series now in its fifth season on PBS. His six-part PBS documentary series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (2013), which he wrote, executive produced, and hosted, earned the Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Program—Long Form, as well as the Peabody Award, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, and an NAACP Image Award. Alphonse Fletcher University Professor Gates’s latest project is the history series, Reconstruction: America after the Civil War (PBS, 2019), and the related books, Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow, with Tonya Bolden (Scholastic, 2019), and Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow (Penguin Random House, 2019). He is the Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University.

Advance review copies of A Fool’s Errand  Matt Litts LittsM@si.edu 
Interview requests and reserved seating for media   Faith Sutter faith_sutter@harvard.edu