Kirk J. Nelson earned his MA degree and Certificate of Museum Studies from the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the Winterthur Museum and the University of Delaware. His Master's Thesis examined the development of the American glass press during the 1820s and 1830s. Dwight P. Lanmon, former Executive Director of the Corning Museum of Glass, served as Thesis Adviser.
Mr. Nelson is an Honorary Fellow of the Corning Museum of Glass, former Curator of Glass at the Sandwich Glass Museum in Sandwich, MA and former Curator of Art & Decorative Arts at the Bennington Museum in Bennington, VT. He has lectured and published extensively on a wide variety of glass-related subjects. His practical glassworking experience includes part-time work at Pairpoint Crystal, Inc. of Sagamore, MA and the part-time operation of a small glass studio in East Sandwich, MA.
Nelson is a past President of the National American Glass Club, has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations and currently serves as newsletter editor for the Mt. Washington & Pairpoint Glass Society. From 2003 to 2007 he was a volunteer tour guide at Trinity Church in Boston, home of spectacular stained glass windows by late 19th-century artist John La Farge and other well-known makers.
In 1993 Nelson was one of five founding trustees to establish the Glass Art Center, Inc., which was affiliated with Bradford College in Bradford, MA. After the closing of the college the Center relocated to New Bedford, MA and reincorporated in 2006 as the New Bedford Museum of Glass.