A New Look for Winterthur—Inside and Out!
Important renovation projects are now underway to further enhance the visitor experience at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library.
Inside, Winterthur has completed the first phase of the year-long renovations to the museum. Tinted glass or Plexiglas® was installed in the windows to filter damaging UV and visible light. The tinted layer reduces the level of sunlight that enters the room. Light exposure can be damaging to collection pieces causing objects to fade, yellow, and become brittle. The former gray glass was replaced with a new bronze-colored glass that brings a warm, welcome glow to the house, restoring Winterthur to founder Henry Francis du Pont’s goal of maintaining the atmosphere of a gentleman’s private residence. Another advantage to the Plexiglas® is the historic window frames are now visible from the exterior of the building. Before, the exterior windows appeared like black holes. The new windows create a more inviting outer appearance.
Outside, beginning in March workers will start encasing the house in ground-to-roofline scaffolding. Over the next year the museum’s 410 windows, 15 doors, and approximately 800 shutters will be replaced to restore the iconic exterior of du Pont’s exquisite former home to the architect’s original 1930s vision.
Much more extensive than phase one, the exterior renovation project is scheduled to last until December 2014. Many facets of the exterior windows will be replaced including the deteriorating shutters. The wooden shutters will be changed to a composite material composed of fiberglass. Every effort was made to preserve the wooden window sashes and frames, a compromise to maintain the historical integrity of the house—though Winterthur’s mission is not that of an historic house, but rather the preservation of the historic architecture contained within the home’s collection.
Only three of the existing shutters are original to the home; the conservation department will preserve these shutters as they contain important historical information on paint color. The failing windows frames will be repaired and restored from a pinkish paint to their original color, now known as Hazy Skies.
Also part of the ongoing renovation, gutters, downspouts, and some chimneys will be fixed. And the maintenance and sealing of adjacent woodwork will end the intrusion of cold drafts, humid air, and damaging insects.
In the interest of making the scaffolding project as eye pleasing as possible to the many visitors to Winterthur this year, the building will be wrapped in a scrim. The scrim will display an image from the Winterthur Archives.
The $4.5 million renovation project implemented by local company, EDis, will restore the face of Winterthur closer to the 1930s vision of the home.
A corresponding project is set to begin in July. The Cottage’s conservatory, home to the Museum Store’s garden and plant retail space, will be rebuilt to include new glass and iron mullions. The renovations to The Cottage, by SC&A Construction, are necessary for the restoration and structure of the conservatory.
Come back and see Winterthur in 2015 to view H. F. du Pont’s former home transformed inside-and-out!
For renovation updates and images, please check http://renovation.winterthur.org