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Who Will Be the Next Leader of the National Museum of African American History & Culture?

A national search will follow Lonnie Bunch's ascension to Secretary of the Smithsonian.

Lonnie Bunch. Photograph by Evy Mages

Lonnie G. Bunch III was named the new Secretary of the Smithsonian on Tuesday. Bunch is currently the director of the National Museum of African American History & Culture, a museum that had a very successful debut—by the Smithsonian’s count, it had more than half a million visitors between January and April of this year alone. So who will fill Bunch’s shoes?

George Mason University professor Spencer Crew will serve as interim director starting at an as-yet-undetermined date this summer, Smithsonian spokesperson Linda St. Thomas tells Washingtonian. Crew, the former director of the National Museum of American History, already has an association with NMAAHC, having curated the exhibition “Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom: Era of Segregation 1876–1968.”

And then? A national search for a new director, at the end of which Bunch will select his successor, St. Thomas says.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.