Staff Accomplishments – Winterthur and Beyond
Read about Winterthur staff members who are making news and furthering Winterthur's mission beyond the gates of the museum. Check back for regular updates to this page.
Curator Emeritus Charles F. Hummel Receives Prestigious Awards
In recognition of his significant contributions to the museum profession, Charles F. Hummel, curator emeritus at Winterthur, will receive the 2012 Award for Distinguished Service to Museums from the American Association of Museums at the AAM annual meeting, April 28–May 2, as well as the 2012 Allied Professionals Special Recognition Award from the American Institute of Conservation, at the AIC annual meeting, May 8–11.
Hummel is a visionary leader whose impact on the museum world is far reaching. He began his impressive career as an assistant curator at Winterthur in 1958 and held numerous curatorial roles throughout his time at the museum, rising to senior deputy director in 1989.
A scholar and an educator, Hummel’s impact on the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture cannot be overstated. One of his most significant achievements however, was his expansion of Winterthur’s conservation staff and facilities. He helped to plan and implement the research and library wing, which houses the museum’s conservation and analytical laboratories. Hummel was also one of the leading founders of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, whose impact can be felt at arts institutions throughout the world.
In addition to his roles as curator and administrator, Hummel was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve on the National Museum Services Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 1994. He is the author of three books and numerous articles and book reviews and has lectured for more than 57 years throughout the United States and Europe. While he officially retired in 1991, Hummel continues his leading research on the Dominy craftsmen with enthusiasm and precision.
Hummel’sdedication to Winterthur, scholarship in the decorative arts, and the museum field are unparalleled. Winterthur congratulates Charles Hummel on these well-deserved honors.
Visitors to Winterthur can find out more about Hummel’s achievements and education at Winterthur in the upcoming exhibition, A Lasting Legacy: Sixty Years of Winterthur Graduate Programs, on view May 25, 2012–January 6, 2013.
Linda Eirhart Participates in Site Review for the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC)
Linda Eirhart, assistant director, horticulture/curator, plants, recently participated in a site review for the magnolia collection at the Hoyt Arboretum in Portland, Oregon as part of the NAPCC peer review process.
The site reviews, done by NAPCC-trained field reviewers such as Eirhart, ensure that the goals of the NAPCC are met. The NAPCC is a network of botanical gardens and arboreta working to coordinate a continent-wide approach to plant germplasm preservation, and to promote high standards of plant collections management.
The site reviews are part of the peer-review process to judge the health, maintenance, and labeling as well as the quality of the records of the collection, and the commitment of the garden or arboretum.
During the site reviews, Eirhart met with staff at the Hoyt Arboretum who are responsible for the collections, reviewed plant records, and toured the arboretum to view the plants in order to ensure the plants are healthy, the plant records are complete, and have correct listings, amongst other items. In addition, she reviewed the garden’s one- and five-year goals for the magnolia collection as well as their strategic plan for the arboretum in general.
Eirhart also has completed site reviews with local locations such as Scott Arboretum, Tyler Arboretum, and Jenkins Arboretum.
Volunteer Lonnie Dobbs Receives 2011 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award
Recognizing her enormous contribution to Winterthur and the arts and culture of Delaware, Governor Jack Markell will bestow volunteer Lonnie Dobbs with a 2011 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award on November 3.
Dobbs’s dedication to Winterthur over the past 30 years goes beyond what many can imagine. Since 2005, she has given more than 4,350 hours of service--the equivalent of almost two and a half years of full-time work! Even more remarkable is the way she is described by those who work closely with her. Winterthur’s Registration Department staff are quick to point out that Dobbs helps keep the office running and that they could not do their jobs without her.
Dobbs’s dedication speaks directly to the purpose of the governor’s award, which recognizes the efforts of Delawareans who best exemplify the spirit of volunteerism throughout the state and who are impressive in their commitment to improving the quality of life for those around them.
Dobbs has certainly been impressive in her devotion to Winterthur’s garden, collection, and staff. For instance, she extensively researched and inventoried more than 370 objects that once filled the Winterthur Garden—a first for the organization. And, in her current work in the Registration Office, Dobbs uses the institutional knowledge and contacts she has developed over her many years of service to help research objects and their history at Winterthur, which is key to solving complex puzzles about an object’s documentation.
Dobbs also plays an integral role in every exhibition from tracking loan documentation to recording objects’ locations as they move through the museum and assisting with the coordination of exhibition installations and de-installations.
In addition, she has helped more than 1,000 staff, students, volunteers, and visitors navigate the use of the collection object files.
Please join us in congratulating Lonnie Dobbs on this well-deserved recognition for her tireless efforts and selfless devotion to Winterthur.
The Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor and coordinated by the State Office of Volunteerism and the Governor's Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.
Sandy Brown Participated in Decorator Showhouse & Gardens
Sandy Brown, Winterthur’s interior designer, took on the challenge of transforming the living room of the historic Stonebridge Mansion on Route 1 in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania as part of the Oxford Arts Alliance Decorator Showhouse & Gardens. The decorator showhouse is a fundraiser for the alliance, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating community through the arts.
The stately Georgian-style stone home featuring columns and spectacular millwork, has been a landmark near the Brandywine Battlefield since it was built in 1912 by a wealthy Philadelphia brewer.
The living room space that Brown decorated is entitled “Elegant Entertaining” and was inspired by the Cottage at Winterthur. This smaller house where the du Ponts lived after Winterthur became a museum, was elegantly appointed with French and English antiques and was often used for entertaining. Meant to reflect the era of gracious entertaining, Brown’s living room has a warm, glowing color palette with splashes of color-rich silks and satins, and includes crystal sconces, porcelain urns, and a marble fireplace surround.
“When I was selected to design the living room, I knew I wanted to create a space that exemplified beauty and elegance, yet I also wanted to keep it fresh, new, warm, and inviting,” noted Brown. “I imagined a space where a couple invites friends over for cocktails before going out for the evening to a play or to the opera. When they return home, they would sit by the fire with a glass of brandy.”
Brown is a professional interior designer who joined Winterthur Design Associates in 2006. She works with clients all over the Delaware Valley and has recently launched a design-by-distance program called “StyleBox,” which is available through Winterthur.
To learn more, go to winterthur.org/design-associates or call Sandy Brown at 302.888.4836.
Jeff Groff Judges 2011 Achievement Awards for the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia
The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia promotes the appreciation, protection, and appropriate use and development of the Philadelphia region’s historic buildings, communities, and landscapes. The Alliance’s 18th annual Preservation Achievement Awards were announced recently, with a luncheon honoring winners on May 17. The prestigious awards celebrate individuals, organizations, businesses, and projects that exemplify outstanding achievement in the field of historic preservation throughout the region.
One of this year’s winners—Old Town Hall in downtown Wilmington, Delaware—is an example of excellent preservation work being done locally. Owned by the Delaware Historical Society and restored by architecture firm Frens and Frens, LLC, Old Town Hall is “a classic example of thoughtful architectural conservation,” says Jeff Groff, director of public programs at Winterthur.
Groff, who served as a judge for this year’s Preservation Achievement Awards, has been interested in historic preservation since he was a student at Winterthur in the 1970s. He regularly lectures on architecture, interiors, and gardens as well as advocates for the preservation of key buildings and landscapes from the 18th century to the mid-20th century. His many preservation activities include serving on previous Preservation Alliance awards panels, serving on the Historic Architectural Review Board for Tredyffrin Township, and being actively involved with the Lower Merion Conservancy for many years.
New Publication by Director of Conservation
We are pleased to announce the publication of Line, Shade and Shadow: The Fabrication and Preservation of Architectural Drawings by Lois Olcott Price, Winterthur’s director of conservation.
As documents of the built environment, as source material for historians and architects, and as stunning works of art, architectural drawings serve a wide and diverse audience. Line, Shade and Shadow explores the materials and techniques used in their fabrication while illustrating their evolution from the 18th through the 20th century. The book examines the development of architectural design, the architectural profession, and the manufacturers that served its needs. It also presents the challenges of—and solutions for—caring for these drawings, which survive in great numbers in large, often unstable formats.
Since 1991 Lois Price has pursued a long-standing research interest in the fabrication and preservation of American architectural drawings. She has received several grants and has lectured, consulted, and published widely on issues related to architectural drawings. She serves as Assistant Winterthur Professor in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation and holds masters degrees in art conservation and American material culture.
Line, Shade and Shadow can be purchased online or in the Winterthur Bookstore. Winterthur Members receive a 10% discount.
On November 18, 2010, the Brandywine Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) presented Winterthur with three Excellence in Communications awards for outstanding contributions in the following categories: magazine/newsletter, annual report, and advertising. Top honors were awarded for the Winterthur In Season Member newsletter, the Winterthur In Review annual report, and the three-page “Triplehorseplay” ad that promoted the 2010 Point-to-Point, Willowdale Steeplechase, and Radnor Hunt Races.
The AFP’s annual awards recognize and honor not-for-profit organizations whose communications demonstrate excellence, quality, creativity, and effectiveness. All not-for-profit organizations in the Brandywine Valley (including Delaware, southeastern Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey) were invited to submit entries. Submissions were judged by a panel of experts in the communications field.
Winning entries were on display at the AFP’s annual Philanthropy Day, held on November 18, 2010, at the Deerfield Golf and Tennis Club. Lynne Boyle, Mary Anne Casey, and Ida McCall represented Winterthur’s Marketing and Communications Department and accepted the awards that day. Congratulations to the department for their excellent work!
Harbor & Home Wins Historic New England Book Prize
We are delighted to announce that Harbor & Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710–1850, written by Winterthur professor Brock Jobe with Gary R. Sullivan and Jack O’Brien, was the winner of the 16th annual Historic New England Book Prize. Published in conjunction with Winterthur’s Harbor & Home exhibition, the book presents informative essays and catalogue entries that explore the variety of furniture craftsmanship in southeastern Massachusetts during the 18th and 19th centuries. Through meticulous scholarship and numerous stunning illustrations, the authors chronicle the transformation of the landscape, population, and economy of the area.
Brock Jobe is a nationally recognized authority on American furniture and professor of American Decorative Arts at Winterthur’s Program in American Material Culture; Gary R. Sullivan is president of Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc., and a specialist in early American clocks; Jack O’Brien did extensive research for the Southeastern Massachusetts Furniture Project.
The Historic New England Book Prize recognizes works that advance the understanding of the architecture, landscape, and material culture of New England and the United States from the 17th century to the present. This includes works in the decorative arts, archaeology, historic preservation, and the history of photography.
The awards ceremony was held on October 18, 2010, at the Old Corner Bookstore in Boston. Harbor & Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710–1850 may be purchased online or in the Winterthur Bookstore. The 435-page hardcover book sells for $75. Members receive a 10% discount.
Volunteers Recognized for Outstanding Work
Two of Winterthur’s most dedicated volunteers have won Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards for 2010. Ken Meyer has received the Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award, and Ed Junier has been recognized as the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer in the Arts & Culture category.
Ken Meyer has volunteered at Winterthur for the past 25 years with the conservation and library departments. His volunteer activity has included reproducing some of the Dominy Shop’s antique woodworking tools and organizing photographic materials to support researchers, students, and staff. At age 92, he still volunteers twice a week and is a regular volunteer for the monthly Conservation Clinic.
Ed Junier has volunteered at Winterthur since 2001. His main position is master interpreter for house tours, but Ed does much more than that. He has contributed time and effort to Yuletide installation, the Delaware Antiques Show, Point-to-Point, GardenFair, the Object Inventory Research Project, the Sewell C. Biggs Winterthur Furniture Forum, and Ceramics Conference. He is also an interpretation trainer and evaluator.
Governor Markell presented Meyer and Junier with their awards at a ceremony on October 28, 2010. Please join us in congratulating these two dedicated volunteers!
Winterthur Assists in Woodburn Redecoration
Woodburn, the governor of Delaware's official residence, is one of the finest Middle Period Georgian houses in the state. When Jack Markell was elected governor in 2008, his wife, Carla, took on the challenge of updating its look, wanting to balance the mansion's sense of history with a more modern sense of comfort. One of the first places she turned to for help was Winterthur. Tom Savage, Winterthur's director of museum affairs, and Bob Davis, director of development, toured Woodburn and volunteered suggestions for new paint colors, carpets, and furniture. Their goal was to maintain historical accuracy while freshening up the home for a young family. With their help, and the help of others throughout the state, Woodburn is now a gorgeous, light-filled house that reflects important aspects of Delaware's history yet truly feels like a home. Photos courtesy of Woodburn: The Governor's House.
Winterthur Aids Blair House
Gregory Landrey, division director for Winterthur's Library, Collections Management, and Academic Programs group, traveled to Washington, DC, in February 2010 to meet with a team from Blair House to discuss the wood paneling in the Lee Dining Room, one of the house's most important and frequently used rooms.
Since becoming the President's Guest House in 1942, Blair House has hosted thousands of visitors, from foreign heads of state to incoming presidents and their families. It has been the setting for numerous important events, with the Lee Dining Room playing a starring role.
Donated by Congressman Peter H. B. Frelinghuysen, Jr., the historic wood paneling, possibly from an 18th-century English country house, was installed in 1963 as part of Jacqueline Kennedy's White House redecoration project. Now suffering from the affects of age, such as cracking, splitting, and gaps, the paneling is in need of conservation.
Landrey joined Blair House curator Constance Shireman, Blair House Foundation director Andrea Metzker, and White House Projects Office historic preservationist George Kanellos in a brainstorming session. After returning to Winterthur, Landrey met with staff members and students and generated a conservation report to help guide the work of the Blair House team. The recommendations center around improving the aesthetics of the room while minimizing any intrusion into the historic integrity of the woodwork. It is hoped that the room will undergo renovation this summer and will be open again for diplomatic functions this fall.
As historic houses with important collections, Winterthur and Blair House have much in common. "Our hope is that Winterthur will continue to be a resource for Blair House," says Landrey, "and that the relationship between the two institutions will grow."
Assistant Curator for Education Speaks at Conference
Lois Stoehr, assistant curator for education, traveled to London at the end of February 2010 to give the keynote talk at the Engaging Audiences Conference hosted by the Geffrye Museum. Featuring experts from historic houses and other museums in England that examine how people live and decorate, the conference explored a variety of successful ways to inspire and engage visitors.
In keeping with the 2010 50th anniversary of Winterthur's school programs, Stoehr presented Winterthur's long history of connecting with children. She discussed innovations and changes that have been implemented over the years, from Winterthur's "wing rooms," created in 1960 to accommodate school groups, to the Touch-It Room, the Enchanted Woods garden, and ways the museum currently uses objects from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries to explore the idea of "home" and all that it means.
Head of Facilities Aids Kenyan Village
On November 15, 2009, John Castle, Winterthur's head of facilities, traveled to Kenya at the request of Water Is Life–Kenya, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing sustainable water resources to areas in Kenya that lack water.
The organization's director, Joyce Tannian, a Delaware native, had raised money to install a water system to serve isolated parts of the Maasai tribe located near Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. The area has been dealing with severe drought for the past three years, and the village's girls spend the better part of every day scooping water out of puddles and carrying it in barrels, for miles, back to their families.
Castle, who has previously worked as the chief engineer at a water and sewer facility, was able to contribute his knowledge of water systems and engineering. In Kenya he and another Delaware engineer evaluated two possible methods of bringing water to the area. They visited water law attorneys, contractors, local politicians, and tribespeople and spent a week walking the locale.
As a result, Castle and the engineer were able to choose a path for a new water line and to submit a request for proposal that has been sent to local Kenyan engineering design companies. Hopefully, in the near future, a dependable water source will be available to the Maasai people near Amboseli National Park.
Hidden N. C. Wyeth Painting Revealed
Thanks to the groundbreaking work of Jennifer Mass, Winterthur's senior scientist and head of its Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory, a 1918 N. C. Wyeth illustration has been revealed in full-color beneath a family portrait that Wyeth painted in the 1920s.
In a talk at the American Chemical Society Conference in 2009, Mass discussed her collaboration with scientists at Cornell University, which resulted in the creation of a confocal X-ray fluorescence microscope that allows scientists to identify and map original pigments hidden below a painting without disturbing the artwork.
Mass's new method of "seeing" buried colors and the discovery about the Wyeth illustration attracted significant media attention, including an interview on NPR's "Science Friday" and articles in hundreds of media sources ranging from the Los Angeles Times to the Washington Post.
Find out more here: