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

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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.

VISIT MATERIAL MATTERS

THREE HUNDRED YEARS OF SECRETS

300-year old walnut slant-front desk from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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. Yet, despite being three-hundred years old, this desk still had some secrets left to be revealed… Three-hundred years is a long time to keep a secret, so imagine my surprise upon opening up one of the secret drawers and finding a hidden note!

READ FULL POST @ MATERIAL MATTERS

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: SIGNATURE QUILTS AND THEIR CREATIVE PROCESS

Sales Receipt for 5 Assorted Appliqué Quilt Blocks for $50.00 dated 1925

By Emily Whitted, WPAMC Class of 2020

Catching a historical object in a state of incompleteness is rare: it seems counter-intuitive to preserve something that technically isn’t finished, especially when its original maker isn’t around to complete it. When trying to determine which object in Winterthur’s collection I should choose to spend serious quality time with during my first fall, I paused at a set of five unfinished appliqué quilt squares from the mid 1800s, three of which are signed by their makers. I was immediately attracted to their state of unfinishedness. Who were the women who made them, and why didn’t they find their way into a finished quilt?

READ FULL POST @ MATERIAL MATTERS

GOING TO CHURCH: DOCUMENTATION

Scale Ruler with Architectural Field Notes and Drawing

By Elizabeth Palms, WPAMC Class of 2020

Two Fellows and I took to the drafting boards as part of our elective, Documentation of Historic Structures. Sponsored by the University of Delaware’s Center for Historic Architecture & Design (CHAD), this course afforded my classmates and me the incredible opportunity to conduct architectural history fieldwork once a week at the same site. Nearly every Friday morning, our class met at a small church just miles from the University of Delaware to document various aspects of its architecture. Since our first day at the site, we sharpened our skills making scaled drawings and became quite adept at writing tiny yet legible measurements and holding tape measures.

READ FULL POST @ MATERIAL MATTERS

LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT THE PROGRAM CAN OFFER YOU

Fall Visit Days

Registration is currently available for all four fall 2019 Visit Days. Please select a date for more information. We look forward to your visit!

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.

LEARN MORE

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

APPLY NOW