Finding its way to the surface of our chaotic and often dismaying news cycles this past weekend was the long-awaited opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
And the Oak Park connection? Well, Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the museum, is a former resident of our village. It was 11 years ago that Bunch was chosen to build and invent, fund and inspire this enormous project on the National Mall. At that time, Bunch was the president of the Chicago History Museum and called Oak Park home.
At the time of his hiring for this project, the Tribune quoted him as saying his work in Chicago had “nurtured his soul,” but that the new project “was work that would nurture the soul of my ancestors, and that is too powerful to turn down.”
The coverage of the opening, from the bold architecture to the breadth of the collection assembled and displayed, has been enthused and reverential. In real measure that is a tribute to Lonnie Bunch.