During his ten years as director (July 1, 1973–July 1, 1983), Robert T. Buck, Jr., strengthened the museum’s education programs and oversaw the publication of a major collection catalogue, Albright-Knox Art Gallery: Painting and Sculpture from Antiquity to 1942, in 1979. Under his leadership, the Albright-Knox maintained ambitious acquisitions and exhibition programs and obtained a substantial increase in grants, particularly from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Buck personally organized major retrospectives on Richard Diebenkorn, Sonia Delaunay, Sam Francis, Cleve Gray, and Fernand Léger.
Buck was a member of a variety of other local, state, and national committees and arts commissions and shared his skills and experiences with other cultural institutions and organizations. Beginning in 1976, Buck served for a number of years on the New York Council for the Humanities. In 1978, he was elected a trustee of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), an organization he served as secretary and as vice president until 1982. He was also appointed to be a commissioner for the United States pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1978. After leaving the Albright-Knox, Buck became director of the Brooklyn Museum.