M.T. Buchanan was a Fellow of the (British) Chemical Society and held an appointment as chemistry and science master at the Public School in Grahamstown from 1885 to 1887. In April 1885 he started a series of public lectures on chemistry there. The first lecture dealt with the physical properties of the air and included several experimental demonstrations. He was a member of the management committee of the Albany Museum and assisted the curator, Miss M. Glanville* by analysing and identifying minerals and soils. He left for the Transvaal around September 1887. In her annual report for that year Miss Glanville wrote: "It is with great regret the Institution records the loss it has sustained through the departure for the Transvaal of Mr. M.T. Buchanan, FCS. He was an active worker on the Committee, ever ready with assistance in times of emergency, and gave his services as analytical chemist to the Museum with a generosity and kindliness that made them doubly welcome."
Two years later one of the Grahamstown papers announced that Buchanan had died at his home in Scotland.