History and Art History
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Cynthia Williams

Cynthia Williams

Cynthia Williams

Assistant Professor

Art History: Glass, stained glass, ceramics

Cynthia Williams, director of the Smithsonian-Mason MA in the History of Decorative Arts program for the past 14 years, is a stained glass specialist and teaches courses on glass and ceramics. She has been on the Board of Trustees of The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass since 2010 and currently is Board President.  She is Former Secretary and Board Member of the American Glass Guild.

Prior to joining the MA program, she was on the curatorial staff at Olana State Historic Site. While a graduate student, she served as an intern in American decorative arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before her career in the decorative arts, Ms. Williams worked in university admissions and held positions in corporate human resources and communications at Avon, IBM, Nestlé Foods, Xerox, and Sony, Inc.

Her academic degrees include M.A. History of Decorative Arts, Cooper-Hewitt/Parsons; M.A. Communications, Fairfield University; B.A. English Literature, Pace University. Ms. Williams also completed Christie's Twentieth-Century Art Course in New York.


Cynthia Williams
Smithsonian Institution
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive SW, Suite 3077
Washington, DC 20560

Telephone: (202) 633-8651

Selected Publications

Her ongoing research on Fonthill Abbey, the Gothic Revival estate of English novelist, art collector and antiquarian William Beckford (1760-1844) will be featured in two forthcoming publications:

A chapter in an upcoming book about William Beckford and the visual arts to be published in London. 
An article in preparation for Journal of The British Society of Master Glass Painters.

“Animals in Architecture” in Style 1900.  November 2009.

Recent Presentations

“Tiffany Windows.” Presented in April 2009 at Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans.

“Walter Dorwin Teague’s Unresolved Legacy at Steuben Glass 1932--35.”  Presented at Corcoran Gallery of Art “Modernism: Designing a New World 1914--1939” conference, March 2007.

“’Glittering Vanities’: Beckford’s Stained Glass Program at Fonthill Abbey.”  Presented at Stained Glass in Georgian England Conference at Strawberry Hill, London, 2001. 

“Louis Comfort Tiffany at Laurelton Hall.”  Lecture, Oyster Bay Historical Society, 2001.