Fact Sheets

"More Than a Picture" Bios

National Museum of African American History and Culture

May 1, 2017

Lonnie G. Bunch III
Founding Director
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society (2001–05) and held several positions at the Smithsonian, including associate director for curatorial affairs (1994–2000) and supervising curator (1989–92) at the National Museum of American History.

Bunch is author of the award-winning book, Call the Lost Dream Back: Essays on Race, History and Museums (2010), and published several books including Slave Culture: A Documentary Collection of the Slave Narratives (2014) and Memories of the Enslaved: Voices from the Slave Narratives (2015). Since 2008, Bunch has served as the series co-editor of the “New Public Scholarship Edition” of the University of Michigan Press. Bunch has served on the advisory boards of the American Association of Museums, the African American Association of Museums, the American Association of State and Local History and the ICOM-US. 

Bunch has received several awards and recognitions including being appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. In 2017, Bunch was given the President Award at the NAACP Image Awards, presented with the Impact Leader Award from the Greater Washington Urban League and was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Kinshasha Holman Conwill
Deputy Director
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Kinshasha Holman Conwill has more than 35 years of experience in arts and museum management. Since 2005, she has served as deputy director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, engaged in fulfilling the museum’s vision by cultivating fundraising and membership campaign efforts, fostering external partnerships, expanding the museum’s collection, developing exhibitions and public programs and administering the museum’s daily operations.

After serving as executive producer of the museum’s 2012 groundbreaking ceremony, featuring remarks by President Barack Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush, she led the planning for the museum’s September 2016 grand-opening activities. A widely published author, she supervises the museum’s publishing activities, serving as lead editor for projects ranging from exhibition catalogs to books on the museum’s collections.

Before joining the Smithsonian, Conwill served as a senior policy advisor for the Museums and Community Initiative of the American Association of Museums and project director for the New York City Creative Communities Leveraging Investments in Creativity program.

Dr. Rex M. Ellis
Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Rex M. Ellis has served as the associate director for curatorial affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture since 2008. He has the responsibility for planning, developing, directing and managing all curatorial, collections, education and outreach programs and activities.

Before joining the museum, Ellis was vice president of the historic area for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, where he oversaw all programs and operations. Ellis was the first African American vice president in the foundation’s history and served in that position for eight years (2001–2008).

He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University, a Master in Fine Arts from Wayne State University, a Master of Divinity from Virginia Union University and a Doctor of Education from the College of William and Mary. He has contributed articles to such publications as Journal of American History, Colonial Williamsburg Journal, August House Publications and History News. He is the author of two books, Beneath the Blazing Sun: Stories from the African American Journey and With a Banjo on My Knee, which chronicles the history of black banjo players from the time of slavery to the present.

Ellis is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, American Association of Museums, American Association for State and Local History, National Association of Black Storytellers and the National Storytelling Association. He has served as consultant to organizations such as the Midland Independent school district in Texas, Los Angeles County School District and the National Constitution Center.

Aaron Bryant
Curator, Photography and Visual Culture
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Aaron Bryant is the curator of photography and visual culture at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Before coming to the Smithsonian, Bryant was curator for the renowned collection at Morgan State University and the University's James E. Lewis Museum of Art. In addition, he has curated and developed intellectual content for exhibitions at the National Electronics Museum, the National Institutes of Health and Library of Medicine.

Bryant has lectured on cultural theory and historiography at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Duke, the Metropolitan Museum, Cambridge, Oxford and the British Museum. His research also has appeared in publications ranging from academic journals and catalogs to anthologies in political history, performance studies and the visual arts. His forthcoming essay "Critique, Pictures, and Progress" will appear in the anticipated book The Beautiful Ghetto (2017) by Devin Allen, and his essay "Democracy across the Borders" will appear in the global anthology Visual Histories of South Asia (2017), edited by Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes and Marcus Banks.

Bryant's research has been recognized with honors from the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library, the New York Public Library, the Maryland Historical Society, the University of Maryland, the Smithsonian Institution, the American Association of Museums, the African American Museum Association, and the Organization of American Historians and Immigration and Ethnic History Society. In 2014, he was appointed a fellow with the Royal Anthropological Institute (UK) for his research in social movement theory and visual anthropology.

The former chair for the Baltimore City Commission to Review Confederate Monuments, Bryant currently serves as jury committee chair for the DC Congressional Arts Competition. He is also a commissioner for the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.

Michèle Gates Moresi
Supervisory Museum Curator of Collections
National Museum of African American History and Culture

Michèle Gates Moresi joined the staff of the National Museum of African American History and Culture as curator of collections in 2006. She assists in identifying and obtaining collections for the museum, leads the development of the collections plan, oversees collections acquisition activities, and participates in exhibition development as a co-curator of the inaugural exhibition “Making a Way out of No Way.”

Gates Moresi serves as co-editor for the photography publication series, Double Exposure and is a contributor to the museum’s A Souvenir Book. Previously, she was a historian with the National Park Service's National Register for Historic Places. She studied history as an undergraduate at Boston University and earned her doctorate in American Civilization at George Washington University.

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SI-286-2017

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