Marc F. Wilson came to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 1971 as Associate Curator of Chinese Art. He was named Curator of Oriental Art in 1973 and served as Menefee D. & Mary Louise Blackwell Director/CEO of the institution from 1982 to 2010.
Wilson received his B.A. in European history from Yale in 1963 and his M.A. in history of art from Yale in 1967, with a concentration in Chinese studies and Asian art history. His first experience at the Nelson-Atkins came through a Ford Foundation grant, which took him to the Museum from 1967 to 1969 and enabled him to study with Laurence Sickman, one of the leading authorities for Chinese studies in the United States. Another Ford Foundation grant enabled Wilson to travel to Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan from 1969 through 1971. In Taiwan, he worked for two years as a translator and project coordinator at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, which houses the Imperial collection taken from the mainland by Chiang Kai Shek when the Nationalists fled following the Communist victory. He returned from Taipei to Kansas City at the invitation of Laurence Sickman, who offered him the position of Associate Curator.
Wilson’s many publications include the exhibition catalog Friends of Wen Cheng-Ming (1974), of which he was co-author; the catalog The Chinese Exhibition (1975), which he edited for the landmark Exhibition of Archaeological Finds of the People’s Republic of China, shown in Kansas City and San Francisco; Eight Dynasties of Chinese Painting (1980), a scholarly exhibition catalog of which he was co-author; and numerous articles published in journals including Apollo, The Connoisseur, Asian Culture Quarterly, and Museum (Tokyo).
Wilson has served on numerous civic committees in Kansas City including those involving race relations and urban development. A native of Akron, Ohio, Wilson is married to Elizabeth Marie Fulder and lives on a working farm near Weston, Mo. His hobbies include farming and amateur automobile racing through the Sports Car Club of America.
Wilson retired as the Museum's fourth director on June 1, 2010. As a dean of the art world, his advice and counsel are often sought on matters concerning museums, collecting, culture and society in general.