Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie G. Bunch III and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, a professor of Jewish studies who played a leading role in the launch of a museum dedicated to the history of Poland’s Jews, are among the recipients of the prestigious 2020 Dan David Prize.
Bunch and Kirshenblatt-Gimblett were recognized for their contributions in the field of cultural preservation and revival, the prize organization announced Wednesday.
Bunch was appointed in November as the Smithsonian’s 14th secretary, overseeing 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, and various research and education centers. He is the first historian and first African-American to hold the position. Prior to assuming the post, Bunch was the founding director of the African-American History Museum.
Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, a professor emeritus of Jewish studies at New York University, directed the development of the core exhibition at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The museum is built on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto.
The Dan David Prize gives $1 million prizes in three categories each year, past, present and future.
Bunch and Kirshenblatt-Gimblett will split the prize in the “past” category.
Women’s health rights advocate Debora Diniz and feminist scholar Gita Sen will split the prize in the “present” category, while Demis Hassabis, founder of artificial intelligence company DeepMind, and Amnon Shashua, founder of Mobileye, an Intel company that develops technology for self-driving vehicles, are splitting the “future” prize.