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The Museum of the Week
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

Almost 60 years ago, collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969) opened his childhood home, Winterthur, to the public. Today, Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”) is the premier museum of American decorative arts, with an unparalleled collection of nearly 90,000 objects made or used in America between about 1640 and 1860. The collection is displayed in the magnificent 175-room house, much as it was when the du Pont family lived here, as well as in permanent and changing exhibition galleries.

Winterthur is set amidst a 1,000-acre preserve of rolling meadows and woodlands. Designed by du Pont, its 60-acre naturalistic garden is among America’s best, with magnificent specimen plantings and massed displays of color. Graduate programs and a preeminent research library make Winterthur an important center for the study of American art and culture.

In his later years, du Pont wrote:

"I sincerely hope that the Museum will be a continuing source of inspiration and education for all time, and that the gardens and grounds will of themselves be a country place museum where visitors may enjoy as I have, not only the flowers, trees and shrubs, but also the sunlit meadows, shady wood paths, and the peace and great calm of a country place which has been loved and taken care of for three generations."

We encourage you to visit and explore this exceptional place of beauty, history, and learning.
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library

5105 Kennett Pike

Winterthur, Delaware, 19735

Be sure to check out the museum's collection of fine art reproductions on the website. 

Use promotion code WMGL for a special  30% off anything from that museum collection, including custom-framed items.


Don’t delay — this code will only be good until we introduce the next 1000Museums Museum of the Week.

About H. F. du Pont
Ruth Wales du Pont and Henry Francis
Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969), the only son of Henry Algernon and Pauline du Pont, was born at Winterthur and, in his words, "always loved everything connected with it." A member of Delaware's industrialist du Pont family, he studied at New England's Groton School and later attended Harvard from 1899 to 1903. In 1901 he began taking courses at Bussey Institution, Harvard's college of practical agriculture and horticulture, and took his first trip abroad.

Garden and Grounds

In 1906 du Pont's father was elected to the United States Senate. Soon, he ceded responsibility of supervising the Winterthur Garden to his son. H. F. du Pont developed and improved the formal garden areas near the house and created the March Bank, the first area of the garden with a naturalistic, or “wild,” design. During these years before World War I, du Pont traveled extensively to study the great gardens of Europe.

H. F. du Pont assumed responsibility for managing the Winterthur estate in 1914, developing Winterthur's farmland and raising a prizewinning herd of Holstein-Friesian cows. By 1925 Winterthur had its own turkey, chicken, sheep, pig, and dairy farms as well as vegetable and flower gardens, greenhouses, a sawmill, a railroad station, and a post office. At Winterthur’s height in the late 1920s, the property encompassed more than 2,500 acres. More than 250 workers attended to the garden and livestock.

House and Collection

Henry Francis du Pont married Ruth Wales in 1916. In the 1920s he became interested in American antiques and began collecting early American decorative arts and architectural elements. Between 1928 and 1931, du Pont greatly expanded the house, installing important interiors from early American houses and filling the rooms with his burgeoning collection of American antiques. Designed by Albert Ives, the building is a notable example of that era’s architecture.

With his friend, landscape architect Marian Coffin, H. F. du Pont perfected the gardens near the house. Throughout his life, he continued to design areas of the Winterthur Garden.

Throughout the next two decades, du Pont and his family lived in a museum-in-progress. His two daughters grew up with the sights and sounds of construction, surrounded by beautiful—but delicate—objects.

In 1951 Henry Francis du Pont opened his house to the public as the Winterthur Museum. The family moved into a smaller home on the grounds called the “Cottage,” which serves as the Museum Store today.

In 1961 First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy visited Winterthur and invited du Pont to head the Fine Arts Committee, which oversaw the restoration of the White House.

Until his death in 1969, du Pont divided his time among his homes at Winterthur; Southampton, Long Island; Boca Grande, Florida; and an apartment in New York City.
Winterthur's 1,000 acres encompass rolling hills, streams, meadows, and forests. 

Founder Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969) developed an appreciation of nature as a boy that served as the basis for his life's work in the garden. He selected the choicest plants from around the world to enhance the natural setting, arranging them in lyrical color combinations and carefully orchestrating a succession of bloom from late January to November. Du Pont translated his love of the land into a unified work of art that embodies a romantic vision of nature's beauty.

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