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Winterthur Program in American Material Culture


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Hello everyone:


I was unsuccessful this year, and I'd like to submit a stronger application for 2014.


Whether you are a current fellow, recipient of an interview invite, graduate of the program (or another field) at the University of Delaware, unsuccessful applicant, or have any information about this unique master's program, I would love to have your thoughts:

  • I recognize successful candidates have all kinds of backgrounds -- varying academic degrees, different experiences in museums, disparate intellectual interests -- how can I make what I have going for me (MA in Museum Studies, couple of paid museum internships, curiosity about the passage from the styles of Chippendale/Rococo to Federal during the American Revolution) attractive to the committee? What do you suspect made you shine during the review of applications?
  • With the hopes of making it in the second time, what are the things I should be doing over the next several months to prepare? Visit more auction houses? See particular museums? Sit in a class? I've subscribed to AFA and read The Magazine Antiques. What about books, publications, articles, theorists, or authors you'd recommend? 
  • Hindsight, they say, is twenty-twenty. What are the things that you wished you had included in your application, or done personally to ready yourself for the rigors of the program?
  • Related to the studies of decorative arts, design, and American material culture -- what other graduate programs were you considering, or applied for? Boston University's American and New England Studies? Bard Graduate Center? Yale's Art History Department (WPEAC grad: Edward Cooke, Jr)? Did you get funding (as I shied away particularly from BGC for fear of the high costs of living)? Did you matriculate in any of these or other academic programs, instead of Winterthur? Any regrets?
  • Since being involved with Winterthur, what were or are your academic plans for the future? Did this involvement, in any capacity, help you? I'd like to work with decorative arts and furniture, ideally in a university setting, but I'm open to the possibility of auction house work. I'm particularly interested in artifacts from the 17th century through the 19th.
  • Do you have any other suggestions for a Fall 2014 hopeful?

Lastly, I'd really like to hear any encouraging stories! Were any of you a repeat applicant, and then had success of an interview or admission?  


I'd also like to hear from alumni or students of University of Delaware, who were in other fields e.g. art history, history, museum studies, and who recommend striving for a PhD at the same institution instead (I already have a MA in Museum Studies)? Did any of you apply for both Winterthur and another program at UD in the same cycle? As PhD is the route I want to go eventually, I would be interested in a PhD program at UD which works with Winterthur, as I would love the adjacent ability to work with the early American collections and colonial revival interiors of Winterthur Museum. However, I worry without making it into WPAMC, I won't get enough training in connoisseurship, and all the wonderful things that the Winterthur Program does, such as the field trips, extensive study of decorative arts/furniture, museum work placements. Any thoughts? 


These questions all go without saying: I'll also be working to improve my writing sample, statement of purpose, supplemental essay, and GRE scores, in that order. 



Notes: *Cross-posted to Art History subforum*

Wondering where do material culture and object-centered studies best fit? 

Also, wondering if my interdisciplinary interests in early America fits "American Studies"?

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