It is helpful to think about a Winterthur education as a process of collaboration. We set enough guidelines to provide intellectual cohesion in a curriculum of ideas and things, but encourage Fellows to explore their own passions and methods—wherever they may lead.
There are few places in the United States that are so close to so many different kinds of landscapes and collections. There are hundreds of museums and libraries within a two-hour drive of Winterthur, and the region is on the metropolitan Amtrak corridor midway between the District of Columbia and New York City. On the serene grounds of a 6oo acre country estate, it is hard to realize at times how close students are to the urban cores of the East Coast, or how Delaware represents the borderland between Northern and Southern ecosystems.
Of course neither Winterthur nor the University can own or archive everything Fellows might be interested in. Architecture and landscapes are often best studied in the field. Collections at other institutions are stronger in particular areas. Many are near at hand.
The Hagley Museum and Library, located a mile and a half away from Winterthur on the du Pont Company’s original gunpowder works, has an extraordinary collection related to industrialization, business history, and industrial and product design. These collections complement those at the Winterthur Museum. Several Culture Fellows interested in twentieth-century design have written theses based on these collections. To explore the Hagley Museum and Library’s web site, click here.
Fourty-five minutes up Interstate 95 (but also accessible via train) are the collections at Philadelphia’s cultural institutions. Fellows have the chance to explore the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the African American Museum of Philadelphia, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Museum of the American Revolution, Freeman’s Auction House, The American Philosophical Society, The Free Library of Philadelphia, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the University of Pennsylvania Museums and Libraries to name only a few.
All of the resources that New York City and Washington, D.C., have to offer are only a two hour drive, train ride, or bus ride away, as well.
While Fellows can travel to these regions on their own initiative, Fellows often visit these sites through built in Program Field-Based Learning trips (see: Field-Based Learning).