Wonderful Winterthur

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I think the next time around I want to be born into a wealthy family.

Hey, why not?

One family that would do just fine is the du Ponts.

I mention them because I have recently returned from one of their magnificent homes, Winterthur, in Wilmington, Del.

Back in 1951, Henry Francis du Pont transformed his home into a museum. It was dedicated to his immense love of American decorative arts and horticulture. It is set on a 1,000-acre estate and has 175 rooms on nine levels.

I’d like the contract for cleaning them.

This home has become one of the foremost museums of American decorative arts in the country. It contains over 90,000 objects and that includes furniture and manuscripts created between 1640 and 1860. Attached to the house is a beautiful 60 acre garden featuring plants from around the world.

This garden was very important to the du Ponts.

At one time it was much larger but the family sold off parcels. There is a narrated tram tour which I suggest. Some of the current displays in the garden include Azalea Woods, Enchanted Woods and Sundial Garden. Once upon a time it operated as an active farm. I imagine in the fall the colors are tremendous.

Winterthur has yearly rotating exhibits. The current one is “Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia,” containing over 80 works.

It reflects the influence of trade with Asia on colonial artistry. There are of course other exhibits in the museum – lots of them.

In the museum, you can stroll through the exhibits and displays on your own. A tour of the house will require a guide. The building is operated by the Wilmington Foundation.

Henry Francis inherited the house from his father. His family included the last residents.

He died in 1969 and is not buried on the grounds.

The du Ponts made their fortune from gunpowder.

Your tour will begin from the Visitor Center. There you purchase your ticket and wait for a tram to take you to the museum/house. Adult tickets are $20.

At the Center you will find a café. I had lunch and the food was good.

The exact address is 5105 Kennett Pike. Reach them at 888-448-3883 or go to winterthur.org.

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