We still have much to be grateful for

illustration of a family eating Thanksgiving dinner in front of computer screen
Illustration by Tara Jacoby for AARP

Dear Colleagues.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays because of its simplicity:  no costumes or gifts, no elaborate decorations—just the eternal human joy of breaking bread with one another and expressing our gratitude for all that is good in our lives.

While we may not be able to enjoy the holidays in the usual way this year, we can create new traditions that are just as meaningful.

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful that the Smithsonian continues to serve the nation and the global community as a source of hope and healing. Our work is more important than ever as people navigate new challenges in their daily lives and look to us for resources and knowledge to provide context, understanding and inspiration.

I have been proud to watch the Institution grow and evolve, becoming an ever more vital hub of scholarship and creativity.  While our buildings may be closed, the Smithsonian remains open, providing valuable on-line content.

I am particularly grateful to all of you–our incredible Smithsonian staff–who have stepped up to lead in an uncertain time, demonstrating that we take our civic responsibility seriously and that the American people can rely on the Smithsonian even in times of crisis.

I am in your debt for all we have accomplished. Your leadership and support have helped us advance promising research, reach millions through digital learning experiences and continue to offer world-class exhibitions.

As we approach the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary next year, we continue to thrive. We remain a vibrant, vital institution that builds the nation’s resilience and replenishes its optimism equally in times of adversity and prosperity.

Thank you for all you do for this great Institution. My very best wishes to you and yours for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


Lonnie Bunch

Posted: 20 November 2020
About the Author:

Lonnie G. Bunch III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. He was the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and is the first historian to be Secretary of the Institution.

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