If you’ve been enjoying a walk down memory lane (or exploring the time period for the first time) while watching each episode of The Crown on Netflix, now’s your chance to see it come to life in a whole new way. Let the new exhibition Costuming THE CROWN at Winterthur Museum inspire you to plan a weekend getaway to Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley.
The extraordinary fountains at Longwood Gardens and the spectacular botanical gardens at Mt. Cuba Center add natural splendor to any visit. In addition to Winterthur, the du Pont family have also created and preserved Nemours Estate, home of the largest formal French gardens in North America, and Hagley Museum, where visitors take in restored mills, a workers’ community, and the site of the original DuPont Company's gunpowder works founded in 1802! No question, your visit to Wilmington will be surrounded by an abundance of culture, historical significance, and natural beauty.
As you begin sketch in the details of your weekend, make note that a visit to the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library truly is an adventure back in time. The Wilmington, Delaware childhood home of H.F. du Pont has been opened to the public in this capacity for nearly 60 years, and is a treasure trove for the decorative arts, horticulture, and history. And as such, it’s worth devoting an entire day to the grounds, ensuring you’ve got plenty of time to take in all it has to offer. There are even two cafes to choose from, ready to host you for lunch or an afternoon coffee or tea.
"I sincerely hope that the Museum will be a continuing source of inspiration and education for all time, and that the gardens and grounds will of themselves be a country place museum where visitors may enjoy as I have, not only the flowers, trees and shrubs, but also the sunlit meadows, shady wood paths, and the peace and great calm of a country place which has been loved and taken care of for three generations."
-H.F. du Pont
As you step into the exhibition at Winterthur, you’ll experience Costuming THE CROWN in four sections: Establishing Roles, Dressing the Part, Creating Character and Capturing the Image. The first two sections take a thoughtful look at just how important clothing is to a person’s status, image, and identity. Creating Character provides a look into the creative process of Emmy®- and BAFTA-winning costume designers Michele Clapton and Jane Petrie as they layered their own designs into episodes showing characters’ more private moments. Lastly, Capturing the Image examines closely the fashions selected by the royal family in order to carefully curate their public images. Throughout the exhibition, you’ll get to see more than 40 of the most iconic costumes from the show--inspired by the real lives of the royals. From the most intricate and majestic to the details that gave the footmen their specific looks, this is your chance to get up close to the gorgeous costumes.
Perhaps you’ll pack your own most status-conscious clothing for your weekend inspired by the royals. Imagine what it might have been like to have every color, the cut of every skirt, or the trying on of new fashions scrutinized by a nation--or even the world. What would that knowledge have done for your wardrobe? What would it have done to your understanding of who you are, who your family is, including your children? Ask yourself and your friends all these questions and more, as you enjoy a few days in gorgeous Wilmington.
The exhibition will be on view in the Winterthur Galleries March 30, 2019–January 5, 2020. Admission to Costuming THE CROWN is included with General Admission to Winterthur Museum, however timed-entry is required and it is recommended tickets be purchased in advance.
Need help planning the rest of your weekend? Read our digital Visitors Guide.