Dr. Charles L. Venable is the Director of the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University
M.A. in Fine and Decorative Art from the University of Delaware
B.A. in American History and Art History, cum laude, from Rice University
His partner, Martin Webb, works in marketing and product management and they have a daughter, Alexandra Venable.
Dr. Venable brings over 20 years of museum experience to the Speed. For the past five years he has served as Deputy Director for Collections and Programs at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), overseeing multiple departments, including Curatorial, Education, Exhibitions, Registration, Conservation, the Research Library, and Performing Art, Music, and Film. He was also integral in developing and executing the CMA's strategic plan and expansion project. Designed by acclaimed architect Rafael Vinoly, the first phase of this $258 million project will open in spring 2008. Of particular note is the "World Tour" to Asia, Europe, and North America of masterpieces from the CMA's renowned collection that Venable organized while Deputy Director.
Prior to his work in Cleveland, Venable was at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) from 1986 to 2002. Rising from the rank of Assistant Curator to that of Deputy Director, Venable built the DMA's holdings of American decorative art and design, especially in the area of silver, into one of the finest in the country. He also organized numerous exhibitions and became known as a scholar by editing and writing several well-respected publications. For his book, American Furniture in the Bybee Collection (1989), Venable was awarded the Charles F. Montgomery Award. His 1994 publication, Silver in America, 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor, Venable received the coveted Montgomery Prize. Dr. Venable is the only scholar to have received both the distinguished Charles F. Montgomery Award and the Montgomery Prize. His major work, China and Glass in America, 1880-1980 (2000), was highly acclaimed for its scholarly contribution to the decorative arts field and for its accessible style.