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Office of the Director Records, Marc Wilson Records

 Record Group
Identifier: RG-01-04

Scope and Contents Note

The Office of the Director Records consists of correspondence; exhibition files; reports, correspondence, meeting agendas, and memos with the museum's Board of Trustees; files on staff members and departments; and subject files. The records were generated during Marc Wilson’s twenty-eight-year tenure as Director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Note that some files date to the directorships of Laurence Sickman and Ted Coe and continue into Wilson’s.


  • Creation: 1954-2010


Restrictions on Access

Series III. Board of Trustees Files, and Series IV. Staff Files are restricted. They may only be accessed by the current Director, Chief Operating Officer, and their Executive Assistants. Otherwise, this collection is open to researchers. Appointments are necessary for the use of manuscript and archival collections.

Conditions Governing Use Note

Notification of intent to publish, quote, or cite archival materials is required. Contact the archives via

Biographical / Historical Note

Marc Fraser Wilson was born in Akron, Ohio on September 12, 1941. In 1959, he graduated from Berea High School in Berea, Ohio. Subsequently, Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in European History from Yale University in 1963. During the next academic year, Wilson enrolled at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland and took graduate courses in art history. It was here that he first became acquainted with Asian art when he took courses taught by Sherman Lee, Director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Lee also introduced Wilson to museum work when he secured him a short-term job at the Cleveland Museum as an assistant in the Department of Prints and Drawings. Wilson then returned to Yale and earned a master’s degree in Art History with a concentration in Chinese Studies and Asian Art in 1967. After graduation, he was appointed to work with Laurence Sickman at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art under a two-year curatorial training grant from the Ford Foundation. Another Ford Foundation grant followed and allowed Wilson to work for nearly two years as a translator and project coordinator at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, as well as to travel to Hong Kong and Japan. At the invitation of Sickman, Wilson returned to Nelson-Atkins in 1971 to become the Associate Curator of Asian Art. He was promoted to Curator in 1973. After Director Ralph Coe went on sabbatical in early 1982, Wilson was appointed Interim Director. Coe officially resigned a few months later, and, after an exhaustive search for his replacement, Wilson proved to be the best candidate and was named Director in December 1982. He also continued as Curator until 1984. Marc Wilson retired from the directorship of the Museum in 2010.


34.4 Linear Feet (In 32 record center cartons and 1 legal document case.)

Language of Materials



The records of Marc Wilson maintained during his tenure as Director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art from 1982 to 2010. The collection is primarily comprised of letters, memos, meeting minutes, reports, and other miscellaneous material.


The collection has been organized into five series: Correspondence (Series I); Exhibitions (Series II); Board of Trustees (Series III); Staff (Series IV); and Subjects (Series V). Access to Series III and IV are restricted to the current Director, Chief Operating Officer, and their Executive Assistants. Note that some files date to the directorships of Laurence Sickman and Ted Coe and continue into Wilson’s.

Immediate Source of Acquisition Note

Transfer; accession numbers associated with this collection are 1993-13, 1995-01, 1997-05, 1998-09, 2000-03, 2001-02, 2003-02, 2006-01, 2012-03, and 2014-05.

Accruals Note

Additions to the collection are not anticipated.

Finding Aid of the Office of Director Records, Marc Wilson Records, RG 01/04
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Archives Repository

4525 Oak St.
Kansas City MO 64111 United States