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 Christopher Malone, WPAMC Class of 2021
The shoemaker shop sign located in the Winterthur Museum’s Shop Lane is a great example of a late 18th- to early 19th-century trade sign which was easy to read from the street, used the traditional trope of the boot to signify shoemaker, and, according to paint analysis, was painted in various colors throughout its lifetime.
While literacy rates in the 17th century are very hard to determine, it’s safe to say that school-age children and some adults, including people of marginalized groups, were not able to fully read or write. Literacy, however, cannot explain why simple signs with simple images were used for taverns, inns, and shops well into the 19th century when literacy rates must have been much higher than 200 years before.
By Peter Fedoryk, WPAMC Class of 2021
Sitting directly in front of Catharine, I know she isn’t looking at me. She’s looking over my shoulder, when she was being painted, at James. He (James Peale) was probably standing a little behind me and to my left. I can tell from the way her pupils rise a touch higher in her eyes than they need to be to see me. Some portraits stare at you wherever you are, but not Catharine—her attention is fixed on someone else.
Catharine was born Catharine Bicking, then became Catharine Reynolds when she married John Reynolds; after he died, she became Catharine Kuhn when she remarried to John Kuhn. I know this because she wrote it down, or someone else wrote it down, and some third-party-else decided it was worth keeping.
By Cara Caputo, WPAMC Class of 2021
With its paper covers and imitation leather spine, this flask would have easily blended in with a shelf of books, but once removed, its true function as a flask would have been immediately evident. Displayed in Winterthur’s Albany Room, this flask is not meant to deceive visitors but instead invites them to consider the purpose of creating a flask in the shape of a book.
In 1822, the Fremy Brothers distillery was issued a “five-year patent for glass bottles of various sizes, having the shape of a book, and intended to contain liqueurs.” The Fremy Brothers produced several book flasks with different covers and titles, encouraging consumers to collect them all until they acquired a complete flask library.
LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT THE PROGRAM CAN OFFER YOU
We are happy to offer four virtual Visit Days in fall 2020!
Please join us for one—or all four!
To learn more and to preregister, please select your preferred date(s) below.
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.