Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Search this
Conversations about Museums and Healing with Lonnie Bunch and Krista Tippett
Museums have long been referred to as secular temples that encourage transformative experiences, community building, and enlightened awareness. Now that the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, are closed to the public, the role and expectations of the museum have shifted. We must consider new perspectives as we look to the future. Our worldwide pandemic, rising xenophobia, and increased acknowledgement of systematic racism and its countless victims all demand that museums adapt. How do we as an institution respond to the needs of our community and take part in the worldwide healing process? Specifically, as stewards of a museum that is largely devoted to Asian and Middle Eastern art, how can we use our knowledge and collections of religious and cultural artwork to enact change, promote tolerance, enable empathy, encourage intercultural encounters, and shape conceptions of ourselves and others? An interview with Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch will kick off the program. Krista Tippett, journalist and founder of the On Being podcast, and Chase Robinson, director of the Freer and Sackler Galleries, will then join moderator Sabrina Motley, director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, for a live-streamed discussion. This event is made possible through generous support from the Lilly Foundation Religion and Cultural Institutions Initiative. Lonnie G. Bunch III is the fourteenth Secretary of the Smithsonian. He assumed his position on June 16, 2019. As Secretary, he oversees nineteen museums, twenty-one libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers. Previously, Bunch was the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Driven by optimism, determination, and a commitment to build “a place that would make America better,” Bunch transformed a vision for the museum into a bold reality, and it has now welcomed more than six million visitors since it opened in September 2016. Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and host of the podcasts "On Being" and "Becoming Wise". She is founder and CEO of the On Being Project, curator of the Civil Conversations Project, a New York Times bestselling author, and a National Humanities Medalist. President Obama awarded her the National Humanities Medal at the White House for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence... embracing complexity and inviting people of every background to join her conversation about faith, ethics, and moral wisdom.” Chase F. Robinson is the Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Freer Gallery of Art, which together constitute the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. He joined the museum in December 2018. A scholar of Islamic history and culture, he previously served as President of the Graduate Center at the City University of New York and Professor of Islamic History at the University of Oxford. Sana Mirza is Education Specialist and Manager of Scholarly Programs and Publications at the Freer and Sackler and a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University specializing in Islamic Art. Sana’s research focuses on Qur’an manuscripts produced between the 17th and 19th centuries in present-day Ethiopia, which reveal artistic exchange across Africa, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. She contributed to the exhibition, The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures of the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts. Sabrina Motley is the director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She was formerly senior director of programs and exhibitions at Asia Society Texas Center. With a diverse background in arts, education, philanthropy, and community engagement, Motley is known for the development of content-rich programming and a multidisciplinary approach to nurturing the work of artists and cultural organizations.