Robert S. Wicks completed a Ph.D. in the History of Art and Archaeology at Cornell University in 1983 and joined the faculty at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio later that same year. He was a Fulbright lecturer at Silpakorn University in Bangkok, Thailand in 1987, and a Visiting Professor of Asian Studies at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan in 1992. He is currently Director of the Miami University Art Museum, a position he has held since 2003. Wicks serves on the board of directors of the Myaamia Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting the language and culture revitalization efforts of the Miami people.
The Miami University Art Museum has worked closely with the Myaamia Center and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma on two major exhibitions of tribal art and artifacts, most recently in 2008. myaamiaki iši meehtohseeniwiciki: How the Miami People Live featured objects from the National Museum of the American Indian, the Cranbook Institute of Science and elsewhere.
Wicks' personal research interests include Native American material culture, narrative art traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism, and the history of numismatics and monetary systems. Representative publications include Money, Markets, and Trade in Early Southeast Asia (1992) and Buried Cities, Forgotten Gods (1999), a biography of mineralogist-explorer-archaeologist William Niven (1850-1937). Written in collaboration with Niven’s grandson Roland H. Harrison, this biography inspired a 2008 museum exhibition in Taxco, Guerrero sponsored by Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. The exhibition also traveled to several additional venues in western Mexico.
In 2005 Wicks and co-author Fred R. Foister published Junius and Joseph: Presidential Politics and the Assassination of the First Mormon Prophet, a study of the 1844 U.S. presidential campaign. Junius and Joseph received the 2005 Best Book Award from the John Whitmer Historical Association and the 2006 Best First Book Award from the Mormon History Association.
Wicks is currently writing a biography of nineteenth century Wyandot Indian leader William Walker (1800-1874), tentatively called Fugitive Son of the Forest: William Walker and Wyandot Tribal Sovereignty in the Age of Indian Removal, 1824-1874.