The Winterthur Program emphasizes interdisciplinary study of ideas, objects, and contexts using the extraordinary collections of the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library and field study of landscapes, buildings, decorative arts, and design to create a truly peerless education in material culture.

WINTERTHUR FELLOWS EXPERIENCE

INTERDISCIPLINARY LEARNING

INTERDISCIPLINARY LEARNING

Students engage

in both coursework

and field study

in all public humanities.

HANDS-ON STUDY

HANDS-ON STUDY

Students have access to renowned

public & private collections,

university and special collection libraries,

scientific laboratories, and multimedia design studios.

FACULTY MENTORING

FACULTY MENTORING

Students build

life-long relationships

with distinguished museum

and university thought leaders.

PUBLIC SCHOLARSHIP

PUBLIC SCHOLARSHIP

Students contribute to

ground-breaking scholarship

in public humanities

and material culture study.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Students are exceptionally well-prepared

for careers in academic teaching,

art and antiques markets, consulting,

historic sites, museums, and preservation.

FROM THE DIRECTOR

Welcome to the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture.

Objects and ideas drive the Program. What was radical about the Program at its founding in 1952 was the inter-institutional commitment to treat cultural objects as critical forms of empirical evidence for many different scholarly disciplines and to teach in the Museum’s collections. Those values continue to shape the Program today.

To learn about objects requires disciplined looking, inductive reasoning, careful recording, and sometimes scientific testing. All Winterthur Program students have the rare privilege of handling objects in the collection because studying things requires access to objects not just forms of representation.

The scale and depth of Program resources support a wide range of research and study over many different time periods and regions. Fellows now are as interested in the modern era as in the seventeenth or eighteenth century periods the Museum’s collections are renowned for. The core components of the curriculum are taught at the Museum, primarily during the first year of study, but all fellows have the opportunity to work with all University resources and students—formally and informally.

Finally, the Program’s small size, funding commitment, and cohort model permits us to offer an unparalleled level of mentoring and experiential learning, preparing our students for exceptional careers for more than 60 years.

 Director's Signature

Martin Brückner
Interim Director, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture

SOUTHERN US

Mid-June, second-year Fellows spend a week experiencing southern decorative arts, material culture, & ethnic communities.

Chief Vann House

Chief Vann House, GA

NORTHERN US

In August, second-year Fellows spend a week experiencing four centuries of social, cultural, environmental, and political material culture.

Peabody Essex Museum

Students learning about export silver

Unparallelled Hands-On Learning Beyond the Classroom

LEARN MORE

UNITED KINGDOM

In January, first-year fellows spend two weeks in London & surrounding areas, experiencing British design influence on American decorative arts.

The Crescent

Fellows in London at The Crescent

US URBAN CENTERS

In January, second-year fellows spend several days experiencing urban landscapes & material culture, with a focus on Americana, auction houses, & antiques.

Hispanic Society

Students at Hispanic Society of America

BEING A FELLOW and LIVING IN NORTHERN DELAWARE

100%

of enrolled M.A. students receive full funding—a generous annual fellowship grant (for living expenses) and full tuition scholarship—for their entire 22-month course of study.

90%

of graduates were employed or pursuing a PhD within 4 months of graduation in 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016.

25 – 50%

of Fellows also earn professional museum experience and a graduate certificate in museum studies or historic preservation, in addition to their M.A.

80%

or more of current Fellows typically live within a 15-minute commute of renowned museums and cultural sites including Longwood Gardens, Brandywine River Museum of Art, Hagley Museum & Library, Mt. Cuba Center; Nemours Estate; Read House & Gardens, and of course Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. The balance choose to live within a 15-minute commute of all major Philadelphia museums, archives, libraries, cultural sites, urban parks & gardens.

COST OF LIVING COMPARISON

Northern Delaware
Boston MA
Washington DC
Manhattan NY

THE FELLOWS’ BLOG — MATERIAL MATTERS

Material Matters is a hub of innovative material culture research—the study of objects and what they reveal about individuals and societies. Material Matters is independently managed and written by the Fellows.

A SYMPHONY OF COLOR [THEORY] IN MARY GARTSIDE’S ESSAY ON LIGHT AND SHADE

Illustration for color yellow from Gartside's book on color theory

By Joseph Litts, WPAMC Class of 2020

Winterthur is very lucky to have a copy of Mart Gartside’s An Essay on Light and Shade on Colors and Composition in General. Printed in London in 1805, Light and Shade is gorgeous and fascinating. As she describes in the opening pages, Mary Gartside was a drawing teacher, frequently frustrated by students who were “desirous of beginning immediately to paint,” but without a fundamental understanding of the principles of light, shadow, proportion, and color. Drawing and painting in watercolors was a popular past-time for well-educated merchant and gentry classes in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Many became professional teachers of the subject, like Gartside.

SPELLBOUND IN SPITALFIELDS: HAWKSMOOR’S CHRIST CHURCH

Streetview of Christ Church, Spitalfields

By James Kelleher, WPAMC Class of 2020

Fortunately for all of us, buildings don’t melt into air after they’re well studied. They continue to leave an impression on those who encounter them. Sometimes the impressions are shrugged off and easily forgotten, like the corner store or boilerplate apartment complexes. Sometimes, though, a building is absolutely magnetic. Christ Church, Spitalfields is one such building.

Christ Church stuck in my head like a song. I remember, during our walking tour of East London, turning right onto Brushfield Street, facing east, and being completely struck by the church’s façade. Brushfield street is just shy of a quarter mile long, and Christ Church commands every foot of it.

THREE HUNDRED YEARS OF SECRETS

Detail of Slant Front Desk, 1700-1725, Philadelphia

By Erin Anderson, WPAMC Class of 2020

One of the oldest desks in Winterthur’s collection is a beautiful walnut slant-front desk in the William and Mary style. Slant-front desks are essentially an evolution of older forms of furniture. Desk boxes, also called “Bible boxes” were semi-portable writing surfaces. These were followed by the desk on frame which essentially fitted a desk box onto a standing frame, elevating it to a height at which one could sit and write comfortably.

Despite being three-hundred years old, this desk still had some secrets left to be revealed … imagine my surprise upon opening up one of the secret drawers and finding a hidden note!

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT THE PROGRAM CAN OFFER YOU

Fall Visit Days

Although Fall 2019 Visit Days are now completed, you may select any date below for more information.

We look forward to your visit in fall 2020!

Friday, OCTOBER 25
Friday, NOVEMBER 1
Friday, NOVEMBER 15
Friday, NOVEMBER 22

APPLICATIONS ARE DUE MONDAY, JANUARY 06, 2020

The Winterthur Program application process is holistic and welcomes applicants from varied disciplines.

The Winterthur Program admissions committee looks forward to reviewing your application materials.