Lonnie Bunch to receive prestigious McCullough Prize

On Nov. 14 The Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia will present the inaugural David McCullough Prize for Excellence in American Public History during a virtual ceremony to Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History. Named for Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, the award celebrates individuals whose work has had significant impact on the public’s understanding of American history.

“Lonnie has devoted his life to the history, culture, and diversity of the United States,” said Michael Norris, Executive Director of The Carpenters’ Company. “He has spent his career connecting various communities to history and starting the conversation of why history matters and how it impacts our future. He exemplifies the mission of the McCullough Prize, and we are thrilled he is accepting the inaugural award.”

Bunch has also spent his career teaching at universities across the country, including American University, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and George Washington University. Bunch’s McCullough Prize award will be presented by U.S. Congressman Dwight Evans.

As Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Bunch oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers. He previously held several positions at the Smithsonian and has worked at other prestigious institutions, including the Chicago Historical Society and the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.

Founded in 1724 and currently consisting of over 150 prominent architects, building contractors, and structural engineers, The Carpenters’ Company aims to preserve the history and traditions of Carpenters’ Hall and provide education and support for men and women entering the industry. 18th-century members helped shape major structures in Philadelphia, including Carpenters’ Hall, Christ Church steeple, and the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall). Finished in 1774, Carpenters’
Hall was once home to Benjamin Franklin’s Library Company of Philadelphia, the American Philosophical Society, and the First and Second Banks of the United States. It was also the site of the First Continental Congress, one of the most important steps in achieving colonial independence.

A second McCullough Prize is awarded to a teacher from the Philadelphia region who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in history, social studies, or political science. The award will be presented to Francine Gold, history teacher at Philadelphia’s Constitution High School in Center City. Gold has taught
for the past 11 years and has received public recognition for her creative history curriculum.

In 2016, she was named the Pennsylvania Patricia Behring National History Day Teacher, and, in 2018, the Army Heritage Center Foundation nominated her for the national James Harris Teaching Award.

The McCullough Prize is awarded in partnership with the Landenberger Family Foundation and ceremony sponsors Citizens Bank, Independence Foundation, Leslie Miller & Richard Worley Foundation, McDonald Building Co., MacIntosh Engineering, W.S. Cumby Inc., and O’Donnell & Naccarato.

“Citizens is proud to sponsor the prestigious McCullough Prize and support The Carpenters’ Company – an important fixture in our country and city’s history,” said Dan Fitzpatrick, Mid-Atlantic Region President of Citizens Bank. “Learning from our past helps us to improve the present and future, and Citizens is grateful for The Carpenters’ Company and American historians for helping us create a better
tomorrow.”

Opening remarks will be made by Bob MacIntosh, President of The Carpenters’ Company, followed by the presentation of awards. Closing remarks will be made by Cynthia MacLeod, Superintendent of Independence National Historical Park. This virtual event is free and open to all. Donations can be made to support the McCullough Prize and Carpenters’ Hall.

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