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An American Vision: Treasures from the Winterthur Museum

Sideboard, New York, 1795-1805, and urn shaped knife boxes, England, 1790-1800, Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont, 1957.85 and 1957.853; tankards, Paul Revere, Boston, 1772, Gift of Henry Francis du Pont, 1957.859

November 4, 2007 – April 6, 2008

Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, located near Wilmington, Delaware, was founded in 1951 by the great American collector Henry Francis du Pont. du Pont distinguished himself as an astute connoisseur and collector of American fine and decorative arts. By acquiring many of the finest and rarest items made or used in America between 1640 and 1860, he chronicled American history through the objects Americans owned. Although du Pont's collecting was by his own admission driven by personal interests, he recognized the importance of building a representative collection, which today comprises over 85,000 works. This exhibition presents du Pont's preferences—the greatest strengths of Winterthur's collections—in both thematic and chronological groupings: Early Settlement and Sophistication, A Passion for Rococo, East Meets West, The Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans, and American Classicism. A self-guided audio tour of the exhibition will be available for rental at the Salisbury Street entrance in a choice of formats: CD ($1) or iPod mini ($3). Approximate time: 30 minutes. Don't forget to pick up the educational Gallery Guide “American Decorative Arts,” available in the gallery throughout the exhibition run.

Press Release

All Things American Online Forum

An American Vision: Outreach Presentations Available!
In conjunction with this exhibition, the Worcester Art Museum is pleased to offer outreach to your organization or school. A Museum educator will travel to your location to give a PowerPoint presentation about the treasures that are found in the exhibition. Outreach presentations are ideal to precede a visit to the Museum, or for groups that find travel difficult. Call Outreach Coordinator Alex Dunn for more details, at 508.799.4406 x3014.

An American Vision: Treasures from the Winterthur Museum was organized by Winterthur Museum and Country Estate. Funding for the Worcester presentation was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent federal agency that grows and sustains a “Nation of Learners,” because lifelong learning is critical to success, Bank of America, and Skinner, Inc. Additional support provided by the Courtyard by Marriott Worcester and WICN Public Radio 90.5 FM.

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Needlework picture, Mary King, Philadelphia, 1754, Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont 1966.978

Related Events

Treasure or Trash Day at the Worcester Art Museum
Sunday, October 28, 12-5PM
Do you have a family heirloom passed down through generations? Maybe a great yard sale item or flea market finds that might be a treasure? Would you like to know what it is worth? Bring your special items to Treasure or Trash Day at the Worcester Art Museum. Appraisers from Skinner, Inc. Auctioneers and Appraisers of Boston and Bolton, MA will provide verbal appraisals for your items. You may have seen these appraisers on the popular PBS series the Antiques Roadshow. Drop-ins welcome! Pre-registration available by calling 508.793.4334, or 508.793.4333, or online.
Single item appraisals: Non-Member $15, Member $10
Up to 3 item appraisal: Non-Member $30, Member $25
Don't forget to return to the Museum to see the treasures Henry Francis du Pont collected during his life in the exhibition An American Vision: Treasures from the Winterthur Museum, opening November 4.

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Treasure or Trash Day Frequently Asked Questions:
Is there anything I should not bring?
Yes, coins, stamps, jewelry and musical instruments should be omitted.
What about large or fragile items?
Good quality photographs can be substituted for large or fragile items. A sample place setting from a full set of china is all that is necessary.
Can I get a written appraisal for insurance purposes?
Arrangements can be made with Skinner's appraisal services department at 978.779.6241 for a written appraisal.

Opening Celebration: An American Vision
Saturday, November 3, 8–11PM
Join us to celebrate the world's greatest collection of American Decorative Arts in the United States from the Winterthur Museum and Country Estate in Winterthur, Delaware. Henry Francis du Pont, an advisor to Jackie Kennedy when she redecorated the White House, lovingly collected American Decorative Arts, and this exhibition showcases some of the finest examples from his personal collection. Enjoy music, hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. A party not to be missed! RSVP for this event is closed, however, tickets may be purchased on the night of the event at the Museum entrance.

Tour: Treasures from the Winterthur Museum
Wednesday, November 14, 2PM
Saturday, November 17, 2PM
Join Docent Emily Wolf as she takes you through an in-depth look at the culture of Early America via the exhibition An American Vision: Treasures from the Winterthur Museum. Free with Museum admission.

Celebrate America! Family Day
Sunday, November 18, 1-4:30PM
Discover the art and culture of early America at the Museum! Held in conjunction with the exhibition An American Vision: Treasures from the Winterthur Museum, take part in this adventure for all ages through art-making activities, performances, and much more! Family Day is sponsored by Bank of America. Free with Museum admission.

Amelia & Robert Hutchinson Haley Memorial Lecture
‘Bought of Nobody for Nothing’: China Collecting in 19th-Century New England
Sunday, December 9, 2PM
Conference Room
Renowned American Decorative Arts curator Thomas Michie (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) will visit the Worcester Art Museum in conjunction with the exhibition An American Vision: Treasures from the Winterthur Museum. This talk will focus on Anne Allen Ives (1810-1884), a pioneer collector who lived in Providence, and includes highlights of her counterparts in Hartford and Worcester. This insightful lecture will focus on the shift from antiquarianism to a more scholarly interest in the mid-19th century as reference books appeared in print and as global tourism expanded. At the end of the 19th century, some of these collections were among the earliest gifts presented to American art museums. Free with Museum admission. Funding provided by Bank of America and the Amelia & Robert Hutchinson Haley Memorial Lectures Fund.

Decorative Arts Symposium: Collecting and Preserving Early America
Sunday, March 16, 2008, 8:30AM-5:30PM
*Crowne Plaza Hotel, Worcester and the Worcester Art Museum
$50 Member, $60 nonmember
Held in conjunction with the exhibition An American Vision: Treasures from the Winterthur Museum, this symposium will focus on the need to collect and preserve the cultural history of Early America. From the conservation of primary source documents and objects, to the new ways of interpreting these items, to examining the philosophy of how and why we preserve our past, the field is ripe with fresh ideas. American enthusiasts, collectors, educators and curators will all benefit from this important and exciting symposium. Preeminent scholars from throughout the nation will present on a variety of topics. See flyer for Symposium itinerary which includes panelist and topic information.

Pre-registration required, and is available online, by phone 508.793.4333 or 508.793.4334, by faxing the completed registration form to 508.793.4433, or by mail.

Symposium check-in begins at 8:30AM; Intro Session at 9:15AM. Sessions run through 5:30PM, and will be followed by a wine and cheese reception at the Worcester Art Museum.

*A special group rate of $99 is available for single or double occupancy at the Crowne Plaza Worcester on the evening of March 15th (subject to 12.45% occupancy tax) by calling 508.791.1600. To get this rate, you MUST mention the DECORATIVE ARTS SYMPOSIUM by February 23rd.

Funding for the Collecting and Preserving Early America Symposium was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent federal agency that grows and sustains a “Nation of Learners,” because lifelong learning is critical to success. Additional funding was also provided by Bank of America, and Skinner, Inc.

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Related Youth & Adult Classes

Teacher Institute: American Vision: Integrating the Decorative Arts Across the Curriculum
June 25 – June 29, 9AM-5PM
The decorative arts, those things that are created to be both useful and beautiful, can tell us much about the times and lifestyles of their creators and users. This intensive class will examine the Museum's American decorative arts collection—furniture, silver, glass, ceramics and more—and objects that will be exhibited at WAM in the special exhibition An American Vision: Treasures from the Winterthur Museum. Lectures presented by art historians and other experts on American decorative arts will add to your knowledge of America from colonial times through the mid-19th century. Methods of integrating the historical and cultural significance of decorative arts into classroom curriculum will be discussed and applied. A portion of each day will be spent in the studio learning traditional art-making techniques including faux painting, stenciling, tin-punching, decorative painting, textiles, and ceramics, and adapting them as potential classroom projects. Students taking this course for credit will be required to complete a curriculum research and lesson plan assignment. Non-Member $250.00, Member $230.00, Cred FITCHG $380.00 (3 credits). Includes most materials. Learn more by calling 508.793.4334 or 508.793.4333, browse the Classes brochure, or register online.

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