Category Archives: Decorative Arts

The Remarkable Life and Career of a Free African-American Cabinetmaker

This mid-19th-century mahogany veneer dressing bureau, one of Winterthur’s newest furniture acquisitions, is a visually striking object with an even more striking history. Although the dresser conforms to popular urban furniture designs of its era (with its distinctive carved bracket … Continue reading

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Domestic Politics

Every four years, after each presidential election, there are newspaper op-eds claiming that the campaign that year was longer, nastier, and more divisive than ever. The truth of the matter is that presidential campaigns of the past could be just … Continue reading

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Let There Be (Just Enough) Light!

The eternal dilemma for all museums revolves around light: we need light to see our collections, but light causes damage that eventually leads to objects’ destruction. Mitigating light exposure can help extend the lifespan of objects on display and is … Continue reading

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Why So Sensitive?

If you read the Winterthur Blog about a year ago, you may have stumbled across the post A Brittle Beauty and discovered that the treatment of Winterthur’s Chinese export lacquer has been part of an ongoing IMLS grant that began … Continue reading

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My Favorite Things

Take a peek inside the favorite things of those who work at Winterthur. Linda Eaton, John L. & Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections & Senior Curator of Textiles, and Tom Savage, Director of Museum Affairs, each share one of … Continue reading

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Reuniting Two Treaty Elm Vases

One of the more curious items in Winterthur’s collection is a carved wooden vase attributed to the Philadelphia carver George Magraph. The vase, or urn, which tilts slightly to the side due to warping over time, features vegetal carved decoration … Continue reading

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H. F. du Pont’s Chestertown House

It’s 1919, and you have a one-year-old daughter. Wilmington summers can be oppressive, and in these days before widespread air-conditioning, there is not much relief. Where do you go to escape the heat? Fortunately at that time, if you were … Continue reading

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The New South: Reflections on the Future of the Past

The Winterthur Program in American Material Culture (WPAMC) took our annual southern studies field trip recently. Since the last trip occurred, Catharine Dann Roeber has taken over as assistant professor of Decorative Arts and Material Culture, and I have stepped … Continue reading

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True Colors: Light Damage and Historic Needlework

This January, Winterthur acquired at auction a canvaswork picture associated with a group of needlework made in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. This embroidery, circa 1750, was created by Mary Perrin of Roxbury, Massachusetts. In many ways, the needlework is in … Continue reading

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Not Your Average Cleaning

  Faced with the challenge of washing 42 windows one might think it would take at least a team of people a whole day to accomplish this task, but not when you have us on the job! Especially if those … Continue reading

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