Glass is in My DNA: Museum Welcomes Quincy Houghton to Board of Trustees

Quincy Houghton

In May, The Corning Museum of Glass continued to expand and diversify its Board of Trustees with the announcement of two additional members: Quincy Houghton and Shawn Markham. Following the earlier appointment of glass artist Corey Pemberton in February, the Board is now composed of 15 members.

Quincy Houghton is the Deputy Director of Exhibitions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York City, where she leads the museum’s program of groundbreaking loan exhibitions, oversees installations of its encyclopedic collection, and supervises key international initiatives. Shawn R. Markham has a career at Corning Incorporated spanning 32 years and was recently named a Corporate Fellow—a title bestowed upon Corning’s most experienced and respected experts in their fields.

In this week’s blog, we’ll learn a little more about Quincy Houghton, but you can read more about Shawn Markham in an earlier blog post. Please join us in welcoming them both.

Houghton is a familiar name around Corning, especially within the offices and galleries of The Corning Museum of Glass. Since our founding in 1951 by Arthur A. Houghton Jr. and his cousin Amory Houghton (Quincy’s grandfather), the name has been closely associated with the Museum, and Quincy Houghton now steps in to continue that legacy almost 75 years later.

Quincy was born in Corning to Amory (Amo) Houghton Jr., a former president and CEO of Corning Incorporated and US House Representative for New York (1987-2005), and Ruth Houghton. Growing up on Third Street with her three older siblings, Quincy remembers visiting the Museum countless times. “As a child, I spent a huge amount of time at the Glass Center and staring at the Steuben artists making magic before my eyes,” she says. Indeed, Quincy’s youth was backdropped by some of the Museum’s defining moments: “I remember the flood of 1972 very well, and the impact on the Museum and the library, as well as the building of the ‘new’ Museum that lifted the galleries up above the flood plain. I also remember the excitement when the Ralph Applebaum-designed Innovation Center opened.”

Growing up so close to the Museum may have inspired Quincy’s career, but her family’s close friendship with the Museum’s first director and artist Thomas Buechner was also formative. “I really think that my father’s respect for Tom and their many conversations over the years helped him understand my career choices, which were so different from his own,” Quincy said.

Quincy Houghton giving remarks at the April 2018 press preview for The Met’s exhibition Painted in Mexico, 1700–1790: Pinxit Mexici. Photograph by Rebecca Schear, courtesy of The Met.

In 1984, Quincy graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. magna cum laude in Fine Arts (Art History). During her college years, she held internships at Sotheby’s (1981), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1982–83), and in the paintings departments of The Met (1983)—where she would return over 30 years later.  

Upon graduating from Harvard, Quincy’s first step on the professional ladder was in London with the investment bank Lazard Brothers & Co. from 1985 to 1990, where, as a senior associate, she led a mergers and acquisitions team. Following this, Quincy restarted her museum journey by joining the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as a special assistant to the director, managing a variety of board-designated projects. She stayed in this role until 1994 when she joined the J. Paul Getty Museum as transition manager, coordinating all aspects of the museum’s move from the Getty Villa to the Getty Center, including the installation of the collections. In the years that followed, Quincy’s role at the Getty expanded to include the oversight of all exhibition programs and installations as well as the management of the design and installation departments; she was also a member of the museum’s senior leadership team.

Quincy said of her time at the Getty, “I treasured every aspect of my work at the Getty, including the directors with whom I worked, my talented and dedicated colleagues, and a wide range of projects. Having enjoyed such a long and rewarding tenure in Los Angeles, I am thrilled to be moving on to new challenges and opportunities at The Met. I cannot think of a more exciting and dynamic time to become part of this extraordinary institution.”

Quincy Houghton (second from left) at the June 2023 opening of The Shape of Time: Art and Ancestors of Oceania from The Metropolitan Museum of Art” at the Museum of Art Pudong, Shanghai, China. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Art Pudong.

That challenge transpired in August 2016, when Quincy decided to move back east for “the job of a lifetime,” she says, by agreeing to join The MET as associate director for exhibitions. The opportunity also allowed Quincy and her children to be closer to her parents in their final years, and her siblings, all living on the east coast.

In September 2022, Quincy returned to Corning for her father’s memorial service reception held at CMoG and more recently attended the opening of this year’s major exhibition, Dig Deeper: Discovering an Ancient Glass Workshop. Corning remains an ever-present imprint on her way of life and a very special place for her and her family. “Glass is in my DNA!” she says. Of her appreciation for glass and the work the Museum undertakes, she goes on to say, “I think it’s a combination of glass as something that artists throughout time have used to make objects of extraordinary beauty and complexity as well as glass as something with miraculous scientific properties. Having grown up in Corning and spent so much time in the Glass Center and then the Museum, I really appreciate that duality powerfully.”

In her spare time, Quincy enjoys spending time with her children and the family goldendoodle, Marvin. Quincy has three children: two daughters living and working in NYC and a son studying in London. Her favorite form of relaxation is cooking with her family and friends, “the more cooks in the kitchen, the better!”

Quincy Houghton (far right) chatting with Museum Fellow Alice (Nonnie) Cooney Frelinghuysen at the Trustee preview event for Dig Deeper in May 2023.

Now, as a member of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, Quincy hopes her arts and museum experience will add value, but more than that, she understands the importance of “giving back to the community that shaped me,” she says. As a Houghton, that desire is ingrained. Known for their leadership, dedication and innovation in their endeavors, and community spirit, the Houghtons and Corning will forever remain intertwined.

“Quincy Houghton’s family legacy and professional career make her a wonderful addition to our Board,” says President and Executive Director Karol Wight. “Her experience as a museum professional at world-renowned institutions like the Getty and the Met will be a wonderful asset for us. When combined with her family’s important history in Corning and beyond, we are doubly appreciative of her service to the Museum.”

K. Quincy Houghton joins Alan T. Eusden, Jeffrey W. Evenson, James B. Flaws, Randi L. Hewit, James D. Houghton, Alexia I. Hudson-Ward, Shawn R. Markham, Corey H. Pemberton, Mark S. Rogus, Edward A. Schlesinger, Preston L. Singletary, Wendell P. Weeks, Karol B. Wight, and Marianne W. Young on the Board of Trustees.

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