Historic Arkansas Museum Director Swannee Bennett, who during his 38 years at HAM also served as interim director after the retirement of longtime director Bill Worthen and before that as chief curator, has retired from the museum. Deputy Director Donna Uptigrove has been named interim director of the state museum, which is part of the state Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
A news release from department secretary Stacy Hurst noted Bennett’s achievements, including the Arkansas Made project that he and Worthen started to create the first record of Arkansas’s artists and artisans and which included the publication of “Arkansas Made Vol. I and II, A Survey of the Decorative, Mechanical and Fine Arts Produced in Arkansas through 1950,” a book that expands Worthen and Bennett’s earlier volumes and is scheduled for release this fall.
Before joining the staff at HAM, Bennett worked at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.
Jimmy Bryant, director of the Division of Arkansas Heritage, praised Bennett in the news release:
“There are many people that have made significant contributions to the field of Arkansas history, but very few have done as much in preserving and making Arkansas history available to the public, as Swannee Bennett,” said Jimmy Bryant, director of the Division of Arkansas Heritage. “Swannee is a true giant in his chosen profession and will long be remembered for his work at Historic Arkansas Museum.”