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
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.
Interim Director, Winterthur Program in American Material Culture
BEING A FELLOW and LIVING IN NORTHERN DELAWARE
COST OF LIVING COMPARISON
THE FELLOWS’ BLOG — MATERIAL MATTERS
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.
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.
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
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!
APPLICATIONS ARE DUE MONDAY, JANUARY 04, 2021
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.