Kevin Young has been named as the next director of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. He will replace Lonnie Bunch, who has been asked to lead the entire Smithsonian organization.
“Kevin will bring an exciting mix of scholarship, technological savvy and bold vision that builds on the foundational work of the many people who built the museum,” Bunch said.
“As a poet, he understands how the museum fulfilled the dreams of many Americans, and under his leadership the museum will shape the hopes of future generations.”
Prior to joining the Smithsonian organization, Young worked as the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Young is also an accomplished poet. He has published 11 books of poetry and two non-fiction works. Outside of his own work, he is the poetry editor for the New Yorker magazine. This fall, he plans to publish African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song.
Young is also a well-educated scholar. He graduated from Harvard University in 1992 and earned a Master of Fine Arts from Brown University in 1996. He went on to teach at Emory University for 11 years.
“Having visited the museum myself with my family, I know what a powerful place it is, transforming visitors both in-person and online, and revealing the centrality of African American culture to the American experience,” Young said.
“I am eager to engage further directions in the museum’s mission, embracing our digital present and future while furthering conversations around Black history, art, liberation and joy.”
The National Museum of African-American History and Culture closed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it reopened on September 18.
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