JAMES PEPPER HENRY
James Pepper Henry is the Director and CEO of the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Alaska’s premier art, history and science institution. Recently, he oversaw the completion of the museum’s $110 million, 80,000-square-foot expansion, including the debut of the new Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center exhibition hall and the new Imaginarium Discovery Center.
Jim is a former Associate Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian where, for nearly 10 years, he managed a wide variety of Native American community oriented programs, services and traveling exhibitions. Jim played a pivotal role in the establishment and 2004 launch of the American Indian museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Previously, Jim served as the founding Director of the Kanza Museum in Kaw City, Oklahoma; Interim Curator of American Indian Art at the Portland Art Museum and Gallery Director at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center in Portland, Oregon; and Gallery Director for the Institute of Alaska Native Arts in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Jim is a member of the Kaw Nation of Oklahoma and Muscogee Creek Nation. He is co-founder and President of the Kanza Ilóshka Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the perpetuation of the cultural lifeways and traditions of the Kaw people. Jim is also an active Native American traditional dancer and is co-founder of the Kaw Nation Traditional Dance Society.
He is a graduate of the University of Oregon and a recipient of the university’s prestigious Council for Minority Education Leadership Award. He is also a graduate of the Museum Leadership Institute at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California.
Jim has contributed essays to various publications including Stewards of the Sacred, co-published by the American Association of Museums and Harvard University, and Native Universe: Voices of Indian America, co-published by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Geographic Society.