Fellows and fun
One of the best aspects of the Winterthur experience is spending time with people who share your interests and passions. This enthusiasm inevitably extends beyond the museum and classroom into informal activities. Away from Winterthur, students explore the field of American Material Culture in all its incarnations.
Fellows visit venerable antique shows in Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Chester County. We wander the aisles and discuss this inlayed drawer or that export ceramic. Winterthur has prepared us for the experience, and we enjoy quizzing each other and finding pieces of particular interest. As a Winterthur Fellow, you come to know your classmates very well, and recognize when a particular object will appeal to someone. Students get excited over certain pieces they might otherwise not even notice, because they relate to some Winterthur object or experience.
Across the region, local antique shops and used books stores offer another exciting diversion. An occasional field trip always results in the discovery of hidden stores off the beaten track, as well as the addition of books to our shelves and interesting objects for our modest collections. The massive antique markets in Adamstown, Pennsylvania, present a contrast to the refinement of the larger shows. In the outdoor markets here, people mingle and haggle over folding tables filled with more worn, if no less intriguing, antiques. A trip to Adamstown always convinces us that the antiques field is diverse and complex, and reminds us that there are still amazing things to be discovered. Similarly, yard sales and estate sales also attract Winterthur students, as we hunt for undiscovered (and underpriced) treasures. Local country auctions provide a wonderful diversion on Friday nights at the end of the week.
Traveling to these fascinating places enhances our own understanding of the field, but also helps bind students as a group. We share stories over lunch in small cafés, compare prices on ceramics and books and jewelry, and discuss our various finds. When we return to Winterthur, we do so with new understandings of the field, and a new appreciation for our bond as a class.