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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 01/13/2011

Bunch to be honored by BET

By Jacqueline Trescott

Among the individuals being saluted this weekend at the BET Honors is Lonnie G. Bunch, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Bunch, a historian and author, will be honored along with actress Cicely Tyson, actor Jamie Foxx, model and businesswoman Iman, publisher Linda Johnson Rice and musician Herbie Hancock.

The program, organized by Black Entertainment Network, recognizes the work of people in the arts, public service, education and entertainment. Highlighting a scholar is not new: Cornel West, a professor at Princeton University and Ruth Simmons, the president of Brown University, have been honored.

Bunch, however, is the first person from the museum world to be cited for his contributions. "As a public historian, a scholar who brings history to the people, Bunch has spent nearly 30 years in the museum field where he is regarded as one of the nation's leading figures in the historical and museum community," a statement from BET said. Most of his career has been building museums and bringing storytelling to life in established centers. Bunch was the associate director of curatorial affairs at the National Museum of American History, and president of the Chicago Historical Society.

He became director of the African American museum project in 2005 and is overseeing the design and construction of the building on the National Mall, which is scheduled to open in 2015.

Other honorees have connections to the forthcoming museum. Rice is co-chair of the museum's advisory council, and Tyson, worked on the commission that validated the need for the museum.

By Jacqueline Trescott  | January 13, 2011; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Jacqueline Trescott, Museums  | Tags:  BET Honors, Lonnie G. Bunch, National Museum of African American History and Culture  
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