Achievement and Heritage Awards

On December 4, 2023, the National Archives Foundation will honor American educator and historian Lonnie G. Bunch III with the prestigious Records of Achievement Award. Bunch, now Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, is being recognized for his commitment to preserving and chronicling our history, and for his dedication to amplifying the history and the stories of African Americans. The event will be held at the National Archives in Washington, DC with Mr. Bunch, who will be interviewed by renowned author, journalist, and radio host Michele Norris.

The Records of Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by the National Archives Foundation to an individual whose contributions have fostered a broader national awareness of the history and heritage of the United States as exemplified in the National Archives’ records.

Named one of the 100 most influential museum professionals of the 20th century by the American Association of Museums in 2005, Lonnie Bunch has had a significant impact on the relationship between modern society and our past. His visionary leadership has brought forth numerous award-winning and eye-opening exhibitions; he has transformed and reorganized long-standing historical institutions; and he was the driving, visionary force behind the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture that opened in 2016.

In addition to decades of museum leadership, Bunch is the author of “A Fool’s Errand: Creating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the Age of Bush, Obama, and Trump” and has published many articles. Bunch was also appointed by President George W. Bush to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2010.

Highlights of the celebration included a cocktail hour; theater program and award presentation, a seated dinner in the Rotunda and Rotunda Galleries – just steps away from the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights; and a dessert reception on the Archives’ portico overlooking Constitution Avenue.

The 2023 Records of Achievement Award Ceremony and Gala is made possible in part by Governor Jim and Janet Blanchard, Bank of America, Brown Advisory, Anne S. Chao, The Daschle Group, DLA Piper LLP (US), Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin (Ret.), Marilynn and John Hill, Cameron F. Kerry, Jacqueline B. Mars, Karen Pritzker, Lucinda Robb, The Salemme/Welch Family, The Honorable Rodney E. Slater, Marjorie B. Tiven, Verizon, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

For more information or for tickets to the 2023 Records of Achievement Award and Gala, email

Past Recipients of the Records of Achievement and Heritage Awards:

Heritage Award

The Heritage Award takes its name from the “Heritage” sculpture outside the National Archives Building and recognizes individuals, corporations, and organizations whose deeds are consistent with the Foundation’s mission of educating, enriching, and inspiring a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage. The Foundation’s Heritage Award was presented in 2012 to philanthropist Jacqueline B. Mars.