A Fool's Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump

  • 12h 49m 31s
  • Lonnie G. Bunch III
  • Recorded Books, Inc.
  • 2020

In its first four months of operation, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture surpassed one million visits and quickly became a cherished, vital monument to the African American experience. And yet this accomplishment was never assured.

In A Fool's Errand, founding director Lonnie Bunch tells his story of bringing his clear vision and leadership to realize this shared dream of many generations of Americans.

Outlining the challenges of site choice, architect selection, building design, and the compilation of an unparalleled collection of African American artifacts, Bunch also delves into his personal struggles - especially the stress of a high-profile undertaking - and the triumph of establishing such an institution without mentors or guidebooks to light the way. His memoir underscores his determination to create a museum that treats the black experience as an essential component of every American's identity.

This inside account of how Bunch planned, managed, and executed the museum's mission informs and inspires not only listeners working in museums, cultural institutions, and activist groups, but also those in the nonprofit and business worlds who wish to understand how to succeed - and do it spectacularly - in the face of major political, structural, and financial challenges.

In this Audiobook

  • 1. What Happens to a Dream Deferred?
  • 2. You End as You Begin
  • 3. Now That You Have it, What You Gonna Do with it?
  • 4. Designing a Dream
  • 5. Finding the Stuff of History
  • 6. Realizing a Dream Takes Money
  • 7. Befriending Presidents and Managing Congress: A Long Way from New Jersey
  • 8. Exhibiting American History Through an African American Lens: Making a Way Out of No Way
  • 9. All in the Family: Building a Community of Caring Colleagues
  • 10. Filling the Hole: The Challenge of Building on the National Mall
  • 11. Welcoming America Home: The Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • 12. A First Year of Surprise and Wonder: Helping America to Remember