I’ve written about Winterthur before – see the Threads of History post I did about a year and a half ago. In Delaware, it is the home, museum, and gardens of Henry Francis Dupont, opened to the public about 60 years ago. If you are interested in learning more, I suggest checking out http://www.winterthur.org/visit/about-winterthur/
About a two hour drive from me, it is simply a wonderful place to visit, especially when there is a special exhibit that I am interested in seeing. The grounds are beautiful and so worth taking the time to walk and explore treasures everywhere. I love, love, love that they have a library there that is not only open to the public, but that has open stacks. Given the collecting interests of first Mr. Dupont and then the museum itself, there are many books on the decorative arts, including needlework and lace.
I know exactly when I learned about Winterthur (well, let’s say sort of exactly when 🙂 ) Some years back (I *think* it was 2011), I saw postings/advertisements for a Needlework Conference at Winterthur. What is this place? What does a Needlework Conference even mean? I came to learn that it was in Delaware, a very reasonable drive to me in New Jersey. I read the description of what would go on during those two days – a combination of full group lectures and small group sessions – and I thought, “wow.” It was and is an academic-like gathering of people from across the spectrum of needlework for a learning experience. While some of the small group sessions were indeed working on a needlework project (many seem to be reproductions of some of the samplers/pieces in Winterthur’s collection), the focus was more of intellectual and historical conversation and connection. I was intrigued.
I signed up that year and had a marvelous time – learned so very much. I came to know that Winterthur had a conference like this every 2-3 years in the fall. (They also do something similar for furniture making and a third one of another topic that I can’t seem to think of in this moment.) I was thrilled to attend again in 2016.
I think some time in January or so, I received a “save the date” email about the 2020 conference and I thought, “hmmm…maybe I’ll try to go again.” Well, then, we all know what happened – COVID. In this past week, I’ve come to learn that they are still going forward with a needlework conference in October and doing it virtually. (It seems like their furniture conference has been out and out canceled. If I am remembering correctly, the needlework one had the largest attendance – about 200 people.)
Here is the page to see all the details: http://www.winterthur.org/education/adult/conferences/the-inspired-needle-embroidery-past-and-present/ If you are into historical aspects of the needlework – yes, samplers, but more than that – you might want to take a good look at the lectures and offerings. I know that I am excited to take part. Obviously, not as good as being in person with others who share you interest and enthusiasm, but still a great opportunity to learn lots.
And, when the world rights itself again and you happen to be in the vicinity, go check out Winterthur. It’s a fabulous place to visit.