Press/Journalists

Press Release
November 23, 2005

"American Conversations" with Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Lonnie Bunch

Remembrance and Reality: The New African American Museum

Washington, DC…On Tuesday, December 13, 2005, at 7 p.m. the National Archives presents an "American Conversation" between Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Professor Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States. This free public program will be the second in a new National Archives series of informal discussions on American history and society, titled "American Conversations."

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has been decades in the making and soon will be assigned a location near or on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. "It is a challenge to make sure that this is a museum that allows people to revel in African American culture," Lonnie Bunch noted recently, "but it [will also be] a museum that says what it means to be an American. Everyone will want to come here because it will help us understand courage and resiliency and other core American values."

Future guests in this series will include, among others, Ken Burns, Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker, and Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Events in this series will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C., which is located on the National Mall at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street, N.W., and is fully accessible. All programs in the "American Conversations" series are free and open to the public. Reservations can be made by e-mail (public.program@nara.gov) or telephone (202-501-5000).

Lonnie G. Bunch is the first director of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Prior to this appointment, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (January 2001-June 2005). He has held several positions at the Smithsonian, working at the National Air and Space Museum and was the Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the Museum of American History. Bunch served as the curator of history and program manager for the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles from 1983 to 1989. He has held numerous teaching positions at the American University, the University of Massachusetts, and at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. (1989-2000). Bunch has published numerous books and magazine articles on topics ranging from African American history to cultural experiences in Japan. Among his publications are The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden and Black Angelenos: The African American in Los Angeles, 1850-1950. Bunch serves as a trustee of the American Association of Museums and the Council of the American Association of State & Local History, and he is a member of the American Antiquarian Society. Bunch was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House.

Allen Weinstein was confirmed as the ninth Archivist of the United States in February 2005. Professor Weinstein, a former Professor of History who has held positions at Boston University, Georgetown University, and Smith College, is the author of numerous essays and books, including The Story of America (2002), The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America-The Stalin Era (1999), Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case (1978 & 1997), and Freedom and Crisis: An American History (3rd edition, 1981). From 1985 to 2003, he served as President of The Center for Democracy, a non-profit foundation based in Washington, DC that he created in 1985 to promote and strengthen the democratic process. His international awards include the United Nations Peace Medal (1986), The Council of Europe's Silver Medal (twice, in 1990 and 1996), and awards from the presidents of Nicaragua and Romania for assistance in their countries' democratization processes. His other awards and fellowships have included two Senior Fulbright Lectureships, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, the Commonwealth Fund Lectureship at the University of London, and a Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellowship.

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (202) 501-5526.

To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call the Public Programs Line at: (202) 501-5000, for information, or view the Calendar of Events on the web site.

To contact the National Archives, please call 1-866-272-6272 or 1-86-NARA-NARA; (TDD) 301-837-0482.

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