Gary Vikan was named director of the Walters Art Museum in 1994 after serving as the museumâ€™s assistant director for curatorial affairs and curator of medieval art since 1985.
Under Dr. Vikanâ€™s leadership, the Walters has achieved record
attendance levels and has significantly increased the endowment, operating budget and museum membership. His vision has been the driving force behind the reinstallation of the museumâ€™s ancient and medieval collections in the Centre Street Building as well as the Renaissance and Baroque collections in the Charles Street Building. During his
tenure, Dr. Vikan secured three major collections: the John and Berthe Ford Collection of the Arts of India, Nepal and Tibet; the Austen-Stokes Foundation Collection of the Arts of the Ancient Americas (10-year loan); and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Collection of South-East Asian Art. Since 1995, he has assembled at the Walters the finest collection of Ethiopian art outside of its native country.
An internationally known medieval art scholar, Dr. Vikan has curated a number of the most significant exhibitions in the museumâ€™s history, including African Zion: The Sacred Art of Ethiopia (1993) and Gates of Mystery: The Art of Holy Russia (1992).
Trained as a Byzantinist, he has published and lectured extensively on topics as varied as early Christian pilgrimages, medicine and magic, icons and Elvis Presley. He is an adjunct professor at The Johns Hopkins University, Department of Art History, and a faculty member in The Johns Hopkins University School of Continuing Studies. Before
coming to the Walters, Dr. Vikan was senior associate for Byzantine art studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.
Since 2004, Dr. Vikan has been a board member of the Maryland
Humanities Council and the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitorsâ€™ Association. From 1999 to 2002, he was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Cultural Property Advisory Committee. He was honored by the French Minister of Culture and Communication with Knighthood in the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier de lâ€™Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) in 2000. In 1999, he was the American Association of Museum
Directorsâ€™ representative to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States.
Dr. Vikan, a native Minnesotan, received his B.A. from Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota, in 1967 and his Ph.D. from Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, in 1976.