Biography: Thomas S. Buechner

Thomas S. Buechner
Thomas S. Buechner
Founding Director

Founding director, Thomas S. Buechner, passed away June 13, 2010. Buechner was appointed director of the Museum in 1950, six months before its public opening. Trained as an artist and working at the time as an exhibition designer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he moved to Corning, developed a world-class glass collection and library, and led the institution to its public opening on May 19, 1951. Buechner established the Museum's academic journals, New Glass Review and The Journal of Glass Studies (both still published today) and curated the groundbreaking exhibition, Glass 59, that was the first to explore international works in contemporary glass.

Buechner left the Museum in 1960 to become director of the Brooklyn Museum (1960–1971). He then became president of Steuben Glass in 1972, and helped to found the Rockwell Museum in Corning in 1976, serving as its president for 10 years. Since then, he has been an independent artist, and a mentor to many aspiring artists in the community.

Throughout the years, Buechner remained an active Member of The Corning Museum of Glass, and served as a Trustee until his death.

“Tom was a true inspiration, as the Museum’s founder, an artist, a mentor, and a friend,” says Marie McKee, president, Corning Museum of Glass. “Without his devotion to this Museum, we would not have the world-class institution you see today. The original collection of 2,500 objects he amassed to start the Museum has grown to more than 45,000 objects, the library he helped create is the world's library of record on glass and glassmaking, and the Museum attracts more than 370,000 visitors each year. It is a true testament to his dedication and commitment to the arts and to the Museum. He will be missed.”