Denver Art Museum’s Petrie Institute of Western American Art Names Jennifer R. Henneman, Ph.D., as New Assistant Curator

The Denver Art Museum (DAM) is pleased to announce Jennifer R. Henneman, Ph.D., as the Petrie Institute of Western American Art’s (PIWAA) new assistant curator. In this role, Henneman will support Thomas Brent Smith, Director of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art, in overseeing and preserving the museum’s Western American art collection.

Jennifer R. Henneman. Photo courtesy of RJ Sánchez, Solstream Studios.

Henneman joins the DAM this month from the University of Washington’s School of Art + Art History + Design in Seattle, where she served as an instructor of record for “Manufacturing Fame: Exploring Roots of Modern Celebrity in 19th Century Portraiture and Visual Culture” and as teaching assistant for survey courses including “Native American Arts of the Pacific Northwest,” “Ancient Chinese Art” and “Western Art from the Renaissance to the 20th Century.” She also served as project assistant, collections manager and guest curator at the university’s Jacob Lawrence Gallery and as copyright specialist at the Henry Art Gallery.

Henneman earned a Ph.D. in 19th century British and American art history and visual culture from the University of Washington in Seattle, a Master of Arts in art history from The American International University in London and a Bachelor of Arts in studio art and French from Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont.

“Jennifer’s strong background in American art history, with expertise in art of the American West, and enthusiasm make her a great fit for the Petrie Institute of Western American art,” said Smith. “She will help us continue to lead in the field of Western American art by developing exciting exhibitions and programs. We are eager to have her join the team as her object-focused scholarship will translate well in her new curatorial role.”

Having grown up on a Montana ranch, Henneman has always felt connected to the landscapes and people of the American West. Her interest in art and its history was nurtured by study abroad programs in Montpellier, France, and Oaxaca, Mexico, and led to national and international opportunities with curatorial teams at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in the District of Columbia and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. During the course of her Ph.D. she completed research fellowships at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo. and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin.

“My interests lie in helping viewers find their own voices in regard to the art of the American West and in contributing to the vibrant scholarly conversations happening on the frontiers of American art,” said Henneman. “The contributions of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art to the field via its quality exhibitions, programs and publications render this an exciting time to join the team. I look forward to contributing to these efforts.”

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About the Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Metro citizens support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, culture and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit


The Denver Art Museum’s Petrie Institute of Western American Art is the national leader in scholarly research and programming in the field of art of the American West. The Petrie Institute is organized to enrich life in the Rocky Mountain region through the study, collection, preservation and exhibition of art created about the American West, its people, its history and its landscape.