A Merion Station home that first housed a well-known musician and then a family-owned and operated Wedgwood museum is for sale once again.
Josef Hofmann, director of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music, first lived in the home and in the late 1930s he sold to Harry and Nettie Buten, who opened their home for tours to view of their Wedgwood china, the country's largest collection. (Click to learn more about the museum and its origins.)
What Happened to the Buten Museum?
After his father's passing in 1971, David Buten and his mother continued to run the museum, but the popularity slowly declined. The closing of the museum was soon eminent and tours ceased in 1988. The house was sold shortly there after.
"The problem is these days we are sitting here, not in business suits, but shorts, and we would not sit down for dinner on a Wedgwood plate with silver. Formal dining has disappeared. Everywhere you go it’s always less formal," brother Max Buten said.
The Wedgwood Society of New York helped the Buten brothers find a new home for the collection. After a long-term loan to the Nassau County Division of Museums at Port Washington, Long Island, NY, and the collection found its new home at the Birmingham Museum of Art, which already houses another large Wedgwood collection.
"Together with the Dwight and Lucille Beeson Wedgwood Collection, this forms one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Wedgwood pottery in the world. This recent acquisition allows the museum to tell the entire Wedgwood story for the first time," explained BMA's Curator of Decorative Arts, Anne Forschler-Tarrasch.
The Buten brothers kept some of the pieces from the collection as mementos, but nearly 8,000 pieces are currently on display. One personal and unique item Buten kept was the museum sign, which was made for them by Wedgwood.
246 N. Bowman Avenue After the Butens
The house that truly was a museum is back on the market.
The owners after the Butens updated the home, but Hofmann's recital room and other entities are still there.
This stone estate features six bedrooms, seven full bathrooms, and a walnut patterned Great Room and is currently listed at $2,495,000.