final du Pont project helped ensure Winterthur’s place in the
conservation world. The Louise du Pont Crowninshield Research Building,
named for du Pont’s sister—a renowned historic preservationist in her
own right—opened in 1969. But the highly anticipated opening day turned
out to be bittersweet—H.F. du Pont had died a month before.
from the start to be the hub of conservation activity and learning,
the Crowninshield Building houses Winterthur’s various workrooms and
offices, as well as its library. Labs are dedicated to specific
materials, including metals, objects, paper, photographs, furniture,
upholstered furniture, textiles and paintings. Other rooms are allotted
for scientific research and analysis. . . .
As Winterthur's reputation for conservation expertise has grown, international
relationships have followed. A unique opportunity to work with
conservationists in the Forbidden City in Beijing catapulted Winterthur
into the global historic preservation community.
When the World Monuments Fund teamed up with China’s Palace Museum to
restore the 18th century Qianlong Garden in Beijing’s Forbidden City,
it reached out to Winterthur to provide missing necessary skills, says
Greg Landrey, director of Library, Collections Management & Academic
Programs. However, Winterthur did much more than contribute skills to a
one-time project; in 2010 it began working with Beijing colleagues to
develop a conservation training program at Tsinghua University, so the
Chinese could create their own pipeline of restoration experts.
The partnership is also fostering cultural exchanges and new
opportunities for students and professors in both countries. “China is a
wealth of opportunity for our students,” says Landrey. “We’re planting
seeds for future opportunities for our students to engage with Asian
culture and China specifically.”
It’s also an opportunity for Chinese conservation students. Yang Xu,
who graduated from Tsinghua University with a bachelor’s and master’s
degree in architecture, is now pursuing a WUDPAC degree. Xu, whose
current project is the restoration of a grandfather clock in the
furniture lab, says he intends to bring new techniques back to China.
To read more about the Winterthur museum's conservation efforts and its ties to the WUDPAC program, read the full Delaware Today article here.