It's telling that one of the Marciari-Alexander's first requests to her staff was to re-read two histories of the Walters written by retired curator Bill Johnston and former trustee Stanley Mazaroff.

So, it's not surprising that one of her priorities will be to emphasize the museum's 35,000 item permeant collection, possibly by creatively re-arranging the galleries. (In San Diego, the Impressionists were re-located to the second floor, forcing visitors hoping to see these perennial favorites to first walk through other galleries.)

"People tend to associate art museums with whatever special exhibition they're doing," she says, "which means if the exhibition doesn't interest someone, they don't have to come.

"To me, an exhibition is the punctuation at the end of the paragraph. I want people to come into the Walters at lunchtime to visit 'their' painting or their tiara or their vase. I want to create a community of museum-goers rather than a community of exhibition-goers."


Who: Julia Marciari-Alexander

Age: 46

Title: Executive director, The Walters Art Museum

Past Positions: Deputy director for curatorial affairs at the San Diego Museum of Art. Associate director for exhibitions and publications at the Yale Center for British Art.

Birthplace: Memphis, Tenn.

Education: Bachelor's degree, art history and French, Wellesley College, 1989; master's degree in French literature, New York University, 1992; master's degree in art history Yale University, 1993; doctorate in art history, Yale University, 1999.

Personal: Married to John Marciari, a freelance curator of European art. Nine-year-old twins, Beatrice and Jack. Two cats, Lovey and Dovey. "We named them as a family," Marciari-Alexander says.