Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, near Wilmington, Delaware, has been home to members of the du Pont family since 1837. The estate occupies nearly 1,000 acres of rolling landscape in the Brandywine Valley. Henry Francis du Pont was born at Winterthur in 1880, and by the 1950s he had become a great collector of American fine and decorative arts. In 1951 he opened Winterthur to the public as a museum garden, and center for the study of American culture. Winterthur soon included an outstanding research library and graduate programs affiliated with the University of Delaware.
At Winterthur, the works of art collected by du Pont, as well as those acquired following his death in 1969, are exhibited in 175 "period" rooms and in modern galleries. With more than 85,000 objects either made in America or imported into this country between 1640 and 1860, the collection is the largest and most important of its kind anywhere. This exhibition represents the depth and breadth of du Pont's collection through a selection of Winterthur's rarest and finest objects. They are arranged here in five thematic sections: Early Settlement and Sophistication, East Meets West, A Passion for Rococo, The Arts of the Pennsylvania Germans, and American Classicism.