Student Life, beyond the Classroom
Since Winterthur and the University of Delaware are in New Castle County, most fellows live in the immediate area. Many in recent years have opted for housing in or around Wilmington, especially the Trolley Square area. Trolley Square offers students a choice of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and parks, plus more of the mundane essentials that make living here convenient (laundromats, a grocery store, pharmacy, etc).
For students who don't prefer the city, the idyllic village of Arden or Historic New Castle have long been two other popular choices. Arden was founded in 1900 as an artists' commune, and has maintained a great sense of community. Historic New Castle is filled with stately eighteenth-century houses, city parks, and if you are lucky, a gorgeous view of the Delaware River. Winterthur Fellows also make their homes near campus in Newark. This city, though smaller than Wilmington, had tons of restaurants, shopping, and opportunities for recreation. It's just what you would expect from a college town.
But, no matter where we live, there are plenty of ways to socialize and take a break from studying. Potlucks are a long-standing tradition among grad students, and Winterthur Fellows are no exception. We love getting half-price burgers at Cromwell's Tavern in Greenville, but nothing beats the Pajama Brunch special at Buckley's Tavern in Centerville. The Wilmington baseball team, the Blue Rocks, is a great option, even if you only come to see the dancing celery stick that makes an appearance during half-time. Theater N in downtown Wilmington has great shows, and so does the University’s Rep and PTTP Theater. The Brandywine River area also boasts a lot of wineries and gardens. The landscape is beautiful, so there are plenty of opportunities to go canoeing or hiking. And of course, there are always the movies, the zoo, other museums, shopping, just like in any city.
Antiquing is another popular weekend excursion, and a welcome chance to explore the Mid-Atlantic region. 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.
Aside from major sales like the Pennsylvania Antiques Show or monthly auctions at Pook & Pook, local antique shops and used books stores offer another exciting diversion. The discovery of hidden stores off the beaten track usually results in the addition of books to our shelves and interesting objects for our modest collections. For example, the massive antique markets in Adamstown, Pennsylvania, present a contrast to the refinement of the larger shows. 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.
These experiences enhance our own understanding of the field, and also strengthen friendships. When we return to Winterthur, we do so with new understandings of the field of material culture, and a new appreciation for our bond as a class.