The Walters Art Museum

The Museum Store at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland

Sacred and Stolen: Confessions of a Museum Director

By Gary Vikan

Sacred and Stolen is the memoir of an art museum director with the courage to reveal what goes on behind the scenes. It lays bare the messy part of museums: looted antiquities, crooked dealers, deluded collectors, duplicitous public officials, fakes, inside thefts, bribery, and failed exhibitions. These back stories, at once shocking and comical, reveal a man with a taste for adventure, an eagerness to fan the flames of excitement, and comfort with the chaos that often ensued.

This is also the story of a Minnesota kid who started out as a printer’s devil in his father’s small-town newspaper and ended up as the director of a the Walters, a gem of an art museum in Baltimore. Of his quest to bring the “holy” into the museum experience, and of his struggle, along the way, to reconcile his passion for acquiring and displaying sacred works of art with his suspicion that they were stolen.

258 pages

Hardcover

6 x 9 inches