The Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation
began in 1974. It was established as a joint program following the
precedent set by the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture that
began in 1952, with a master’s degree awarded by the University of
Delaware. Henry Francis du Pont, founder of the Museum, understood the
need for conservation; he had invited Harold Plenderleith of the Rome
Center to visit the Museum to advise on environmental control and fire
prevention in the late 1950s. Mr. du Pont envisioned a master’s program
in art conservation when a new Research Building was opened in 1969.
After his death, a committee composed of University and Museum
representatives continued an investigation into the establishment of a
graduate program in conservation. Visits were made to existing programs
at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts of New York
University and to the Cooperstown Graduate Program (now located at
Buffalo State College).
The Winterthur conservation staff members
who teach for the Master's-level program have affiliated appointments
at the University of Delaware. The relationship between the University
and Winterthur is highly collaborative. The Winterthur faculty are
exceptional professionals who contribute significantly to the program
throughout the three years of a student’s tenure and beyond.