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The National Museum of African American History and Culture

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

The Smithsonian Institute has established and maintained some of the United States’ best-known museums and national parks. It’s an institution that ensures the preservation of our country’s most historic moments and provides context to those moments for the consumption of future generations. For the first time ever, a black man is taking over the day-to-day administration of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, 21 libraries and the National Zoo, and more.

Lonnie G. Brunch III who will be stepping into his history-making role after serving as founding director of the National Museum of African American History. According to NPR, his election came as the result of a unanimous vote by the organization’s 17-member board of Regents. Although Brunch has a breadth of experience, specifically in his work bringing the National Museum of African-American History to fruition, his sights are set on the future.

“It is important for the public to view the Smithsonian not simply as an addict of nostalgia, but as a cauldron of ideas of innovation and understanding that can be transformative for our country.”

A refreshing train of thought considering it’d be easy for Brunch to stick to a more traditional way of thinking. The Smithsonian is now in the hands of someone who is looking to deliver a new and improved interaction with history.

“To accomplish this, though, the Smithsonian must become a much more nimble entity,” he added. “It must be an institution that is ripe with technology, an institution better suited to serve 21st-century audiences, and an institution of research, of great collections, and of wonder that helps America understand itself and its world. This will ensure that the Smithsonian will always be what it once was. It will always ensure that the Smithsonian will be a place where scholarship, creativity, education and service come together for the greater good.”

In about 3 weeks Brunch will officially begin working in his new capacity as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. For context, this role is the equivalent of being the CEO of a private company. It’s a monumental accomplishment and a testament to the continued changing of the guard across industries as it relates to Black men and women stepping into positions of actual power.