The National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM) has hired renowned ethnomusicologist Dr. Dina M. Bennett as senior curator. Bennett has over 30 years’ experience in the music field and specializes in African American music and culture.
Bennett previously served as the associate director of the Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., director of education at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Miss., and the manager of collections and exhibitions at the American Jazz Museum (AJM) in Kansas City, Mo. During her AJM tenure, she oversaw the museum’s temporary and permanent collection exhibitions, and also served as the co-curator and consulting ethnomusicologist for the museum’s John H. Baker Jazz Film Collection Exhibition (2009), the first addition to the jazz museum’s permanent exhibition since its opening in 1997.
“It is an honor that Dr. Bennett has joined our team,” said NMAAM President/CEO Henry Beecher Hicks III. “Her expertise is unmatched, and I’m positive that her work with NMAAM will result in an exceptional experience for our museum guests.”
Originally from Topeka, Kan., Bennett earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies from Washburn University, a master’s degree in college student personnel from Kansas State University, and a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology with a minor in African American and African Diaspora studies from Indiana University.
Bennett is an accomplished pianist and serves on the advisory team of scholars for ‘A History of African American Music,’ an interactive timeline produced as a resource for Carnegie Hall’s 2009 festival ‘Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy,’ curated by internationally renowned soprano Jessye Norman.
The National Museum of African American Music, set to open in 2019, will be the only museum solely dedicated to educating, preserving and celebrating the influence African Americans have had on music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., the museum will share the story of the American Soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring musical heroes of the past into the present.