Winterthur, Jewelbox of American Decorative Arts

The Winterthur Museum is a castle tucked into the verdant, tiny state of Delaware, a half hour from Wilmington, on the grounds of Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969). Conceived in its totality by this amateur horticulturist and heir to the du Pont fortune, Winterthur became a museum in 1951 and its remarkable heritage was thus brought to public light.
The museum is an exceptional trove of nearly 90,000 treasures: American-made and American-used furniture, paintings, dishware, glassware and textiles dating from 1630 to 1860. Winterthur is considered to be the premier museum of American Decorative Arts in the whole of the country. Known across the world, it draws international researchers to study its riches and pore over the volumes in its specialized library. In partnership with the University of Delaware, the museum offers a masters degree in American Material Culture as well as in Conservation.
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Ensconced by an immense 25 hectare garden, the property consists of 175 rooms appointed in carefully-conserved period décor and arranged to effect the ambiance of the early 20th century. This unique place offers a special window into the savoir-faire and tastes found throughout over 200 years of American life.
Visitors to the museum climb the main stairs, pass through staff apartments and enter a vast period salon. Rooms are richly adorned with tapestries and carpets and the chairs, canopies and sofas are upholstered in period-reproduction fabrics, their colors a testament to the tastes of the owner of Winterthur.
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The museum boasts a collection of over 20,000 textiles and has a special interest in traditional works like counterpoints, embroidered lettering and certain lacework. Taken together, the collection demonstrates the variety and mastery of crafts made popular in America by European colonists beginning in the early 17th century.
www.winterthur.org