The Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation accepted its first class in 1974 and since then has conferred a Master's of Science and certificate in conservation to over 300 graduates.
Our graduates have pioneered innovative examination and treatment techniques, developed national standards for the preservation of our cultural heritage, and preserved our cultural icons. Their work has directly influenced the fields of art conservation, the history of art, and the history of technology, anthropology and archaeology and has insured the availability of often fragile and vulnerable cultural materials for further scholarship and research.
Excerpted from the 1999 publication entitled "North American Graduate Programs in the Conservation of Cultural Property: Histories & Alumni," published by the Association of North American Graduate Programs in Conservation (ANAGPIC):
Discussions about the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation began in the mid-1960s with an ever-increasing perception at Winterthur and the University of Delaware that both institutions had a unique opportunity to collaborate. This perception was coupled with a conviction on the part of the Winterthur Board of Trustees and staff that what were needed were an expansion of collections care activities and an initiative to educate and train individuals to preserve decorative as well as fine arts. At that time, it was conceived that this program would parallel the previously existing Winterthur Program in Early American Culture established in 1952.
In January 1969, the Winterthur Board of Trustees approved the creation of a coordinated program in museum conservation that would utilize Winterthur's new conservation laboratories and the facilities of the science and humanities departments at the University of Delaware. . . . The proposed curriculum was designed to augment the established graduate programs by offering teaching specialization and experiences not readily available elsewhere, including instrumental analysis and the conservation of furniture, textiles, costumes, and the decorative arts. As stated in 1973, the objective of this program was to train assistant conservators who were competent in restoring and conserving art and cultural objects, who were familiar with analytical techniques that may be utilized for materials characterization, and who understood the fundamental physical and chemical properties of art materials. . . . In the spring of 1974, the University of Delaware Board of Trustees approved the master of science degree program in the conservation of artistic and historic objects. During this same year, the first class of six students was accepted.
To read the full history of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation, link to the complete ANAGPIC publication here.