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Winterthur 2017 header


Winterthur-SAPFM Furniture Program

Winterthur, DE
April 28 - 29, 2017

Questions: Need to cancel?  


The Winterthur Museum, Gardens & Library

The Winterthur Museum, Gardens & Library started out as the personal hobby of Henry duPont.  
Mr. duPont quietly amassed some of the finest pieces of furniture and decorative objects in the United States, in sufficient numbers and scope to make this easily one of the largest collections anywhere in America. 
Upon his death in the mid-20th century, Mr. duPont willed his now greatly expanded home and his fully-housed collection to create an endowed museum open to the public.

Event Description

This special event is available only to current SAPFM members. 
The event is much more interactive than a typical tour through the Winterthur Museum exhibits. Participants will see and be able to photograph a special selection of furniture chosen by the conservators based upon periods and variants cited as being of particular interest to SAPFM members, talk with conservators in their work areas, and explore the resources this museum makes available to the public through its expansive library and outreach activities.
The structure of the event is based upon scheduled rotations of four equally-sized groups of ten members. Each group will be led by a member of the Museum’s staff. Participants will be assigned to a specific group at random in advance, and are expected to stay with their group for the entire program. Larger group sizes cannot be accommodated in the spaces that will be visited, so efforts to switch groups will be disruptive and diminish the experience for the other participants.
The four groups will rotate between each of the core areas on a planned schedule, with the order of rotation unique to each group. The day will start with a short orientation, then proceed with visiting the areas of study as shown below (times shown may be adjusted slightly as we approach the day of the program):
  8:15 –  8:45 Orientation
  9:00 - 10:30 First core area
   10:45 - 12:15 Second core area
  12:30 - 1:30 Lunch / Free Time 
  1:45 - 3:15 Third core area
  3:30 - 5:00 Foruth core area

The Four Core Areas of the Event

Furniture Conservation Laboratory
Winterthur staff host:  Mark Anderson, Senior Furniture Conservator
Your group will spend time with the on-staff furniture conservators within their work area on a regular working day. Staff will provide an explanation of their activities, methods, facilities, and capabilities. Mr. Anderson will review and explain the current projects in the laboratory and/or prior projects, and answer as many questions as the allotted time permits. Requests to take photos and / or make close physical observation in this area will be at the discretion of Mr. Anderson.
Selected Objects in the Winterthur Collection
Winterthur staff host: Joshua Lane, Furniture Curator
This portion of the event involves up-close study of styles, finishes, regional variations, joinery methods, and other construction details of a selection of original period pieces in the museum’s collection in a room specifically set up for this purpose. Mr. Lane or his assistants will open doors and drawers, and may (or may not) invert pieces, while discussing the origins, construction, finish, and features of each piece.
Mr. Lane and senior curators will select the group of pieces to be reviewed and have them moved to the study area. As the November survey confirmed that SAPFM members primarily desire to see pieces from the periods William & Mary, Queen Anne, and Chippendale, including regional variations that may be in the Winterthur collection, these periods will be well represented in the overall selection. Many questions are anticipated and will be welcomed.
Actions that may be taken in the demonstration will be defined by Mr. Lane and by the limitations of the Museum’s strict collection preservation rules. Restrictions are in force throughout the Museum to preserve Museum objects for future generations. They exist because many of the pieces in the collection are thought to be unique, and some are of considerable value; all must be reasonably protected.
Flash photography will be permitted at distance limitations specified by Mr. Lane. No program participant may touch, open or close any parts of furniture pieces in this session (or anywhere in the Museum) for any purpose, including for taking photos or measurements of details, without the specific approval of Mr. Lane. 
Scientific Research and Analytical Lab
Winterthur staff host: Catherine Matsen, Associate Scientist, Conservation
In this area, the scientific analysis of objects is carried out to answer questions about an object's condition, technology of manufacture, history and authenticity. Answers to these questions can be critical for formulating an appropriate conservation treatment. Winterthur's well equipped laboratory includes high-grade scientific inspection and testing equipment staffed by people with specialist training and experience in microscopic, elemental, and chemical assessments. 
You will be encouraged to ask questions, have methods of examination explained, and see examples of materials that have been studied or reproduced using historically correct materials and methods of manufacture. Questions will be welcomed.
Winterthur Research Library
Winterthur staff host: Emily Guthrie, Senior Librarian
The Winterthur Library was established in 1952 to furnish staff, students, and the general public with research materials about American decorative arts. Since then it has become a recognized research center for advanced study and is dedicated to the understanding and appreciation of America's artistic, cultural, social, and intellectual history from colonial times into the twentieth century.
The Library, located in the Louise du Pont Crowninshield Research Building, is open to all interested readers without appointment or charge, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm; it is closed on legal holidays. Staff welcomes inquiries and will respond in as timely a manner as possible.
The scope of the Research Library collection and the services offered by Library staff will be explained and demonstrated by Ms. Guthrie with each SAPFM group. Questions will be welcomed.