Jane Cook Barnhill was appointed to the Texas Historical Commission (THC) in 1995 and reappointed in 2001. She served as the vice chair of the commission from 2001 to 2007. She also chaired the Liaison Committee for the Friends of the Texas Historical Commission and served on the task force that created the THC Preservation Fellows internship program for minority students in 2006.
Barnhill is past President of the Friends of the Governor's Mansion Board of Directors. She is a member of the Texas State History Museum Foundation Board of Directors, Washington County Historical Commission and the Brenham Heritage Museum. She is a life member of the Heritage Society of Washington County and served as its president for two terms. She is a member of the Brenham Maifest Association Board of Directors and served on the Trinity Medical Center Board of Directors and Ethics Committee. She and her husband, John, are active members of the University of Texas community and have held leadership roles in the Ex-Students Association. Jane currently serves on the Advisory Council for the UT College of Education.
Born in Atlanta, Texas, she attended the University of Texas at Austin and received a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Houston.
In 2001, Barnhill received the Clara Driscoll Award from Preservation Texas. She is owner of two bed & breakfasts, the James Walker Homestead (c. 1824) and the Allcorn House (c. 1844). Barnhill recently rehabilitated the 1935 Cook residence and is involved in restoring the 1936 Atlanta Grade School, both in Atlanta, Cass County, Texas.