It’s been years since we toured Winterthur in Delaware. Winterthur (pronounced “winter – tour”) is in Winterthur, Delaware, right outside Wilmington. It was bought by one of the many wealthy du Ponts in 1876 and the master mind of the museum and gardens was born there and lived there until his death from 1880 to 1969 – Henry Francis du Pont. Visit the Winterthur website to get up to date opening and closing times as well as special exhibits and tours. For example, they will be exhibiting the Downton Abbey costumes next spring starting March 1, 2014.
History of Winterthur and Museum
H.F. du Pont became passionate about American furniture and interiors in the 1920’s and began collecting furniture and whole building interiors from our colonial period onward. He opened his mansion as a full-time museum in 1951.
And he was also quite a farm’s man. He developed a herd of dairy cows that set the standard for dairy production across America. He also worked with Marion Coffin, one of the first female American landscape architects, to design his gardens and landscapes.
There are about 60 acres of garden enclosed in about 1000 acres of conserved land. The museum is a little less than 100,000 sq ft of interior space (yes, it is huge!). There are about 175 rooms in the museum and about 90,000 objects in it.
We spent a lot of time during our previous visit inside the house. This time we concentrated on the gardens and the outdoors (although we did a quickie tour through the entry to the museum). This post contains photos of the interior walk-through museum.
There are several guided tours of the famous rooms of 1 or 2 hour duration that are available over and above the entry fee. We did not take one of those tours so we could devote ourselves to the outdoor wonders.
Because I’m not able to get about large acreages, we used the open tram to get about. This tram includes about a 20-minute guided tour of the gardens. It was easy to sling my walker – rollator into the “luggage” area in the back and get on board. But it was only running up to about 3 pm or so; then a closed-in bus followed the same route to continue us on our tour and take us to the next stop. You have to get your walker – rollator up the bus steps (with the help of the driver) to get on. A bit more trouble.
We will show you more photos from the gardens and conservancy in a later post. Have you toured Winterthur lately? What was your favorite spot or part of the museum? We saw the video about the museum and found that H.F. had no fewer than 6 Paul Revere tankards in his collection!
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