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“Then & Now Tour well worth it!”

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Once a Du Pont family country retreat, this estate's spectacular gardens surround a 175-room mansion housing the world's finest collection of American decorative arts from 1640-1860.
Reviewed March 29, 2014

Never having been to Winterthur, we wanted to have a comprehensive tour of the home. This is exactly what we got with the Then & Now 2-hour tour that we reserved online! Terry gave the four of us a wonderful view of the home, and answered every possible question we had. Because there were only four of us on the tour, we were able to go places that those on the regular house tour could not. Since it was raining we couldn't go outside, so we had extra time inside. It is amazing to see the collections of houses and rooms, as well as objects. There are no reproductions here! Well worth the time and money for this tour.

Thank an2net_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Allison D, Marketing Department at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, responded to this reviewResponded April 24, 2014

Great insight for a first-time visitor. We are pleased to hear the in-depth tour gave you a more comprehensive view of the house. Please visit us again.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 29, 2014

I've been to Winterthur before, but not for awhile. So, when I heard about the Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit I actually joined as a member to get inside information about the exhibit. Plus, everytime I've been to Winterthur - to an excellent American craft show in 1997 and to their Christmas exhibit in 2006 - I've had an awesome time. This museum has the most high quality American antiques I've ever seen anywhere and the collection goes on and on. There's nothing like it. Plus, there are beautiful gardens and the overall setting is lovely.

The Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit is pure genius - Winterthur is the perfect location, and Winterthur does everything with great historical accuracy and a great sense of style and true hospitality. You feel welcomed at Winterthur, and it's the same visiting the Downton Abbey Costume Exhibit. The guides and docents are just as excited as the visitors, and really know their Downton.

The exhibit is more of a 'Downton Experience' than an exhibit. You are truly immersed in the world of Downton Abbey and it's clear that Downton Abbey lovers put this together. As you enter the exhibit there's a chance to pull a knob to ring the famous bells that alert staff downstairs that someone upstairs needs something, and the exhibit goes on from there. Costumes from Downton Abbey are mixed with items from the Dupont family - a breakfast tea set, letters of recommendation for staff, Mrs. DuPont's own travel set for her cosmetics. It's great to see the comparison between New World and Old World wealth and there is a mixture of imitation with an American twist. Costumes are surrounded by video of scenes from Downton Abbey and the cherry on the top of this sundae of an exhibit is a very good re-creation of the scene where Matthew proposes to Mary - the burgundy dress, the formal tuxedo, and the snow falling on a holiday evening.

I plan to revisit this exhibit and I'm guessing that many others will too. These costumes will be at Winterthur until January 2015. Lucky us!

1  Thank HistoryLover2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2014

Agree with all of the other rave reviews and kudos to Winterthur for putting together such a wonderful exhibit. The docents are very interactive with the visitors in providing background info. about the Downton series and the exhibit is very well done in that it combines costumes with both American and British estate history utilizing a multi-media approach.

If you decide to go, reserve ahead; W staff informed me that ticketing for May has been frenetic. Admission to the Downton exhibit includes a guided tour of the Dupont house and admission to the gardens either on foot or by tram. Don't forget to stop by the library to see the exhibit of Campbell's soup toureens.

1  Thank PattyVW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2014

If you're not a fan of Downton Abbey, you can stop reading. If you ARE a fan, you will love the opportunity to explore a unique exhibition of costumes from the Masterpiece Theater television series. This exhibit warrants a special trip to Winterthur, at the Pennsylvania/Delaware border. A rich collection of 40 carefully selected costumes are beautifully presented - NOT behind glass - amid equally carefully chosen snippets from the program's script, and video and large photos from the first four seasons of "Downton."

Discover how small scraps of genuine 1920's clothing were expanded and authentically embellished into the full costumes worn by many of the central characters of the show. Learn why the costumes are texturally much richer than their real-world equivalents would have been, to accommodate the flattening effect of television cameras and lights.

As you enter the exhibit, you'll pass the staff call-bells and admire the detail in costumes worn during a long video walk through Downton as Mrs. Hughes supervises her household staff. You'll laugh as you stand in the Crawley household's kitchen, amid costumes worn by Mrs. Patmore and Daisy, while you watch a cleverly written scene in which Daisy ogles handsome Thomas (twice!) and helps Mrs. P. remember why she chopped eggs. In another scene, you might sigh while you watch Matthew propose marriage to Mary in the swirling nighttime snow, as you stand close to their costumes from the scene.

A special section of the exhibit draws comparisons between the life, attire and accoutrements of the fictional Crawley family in England and the real-life world of Henry Francis du Pont's household at Winterthur during the 20th century. (The call-bells on display at Winterthur were state-of-the-art electric.)

This exhibition - the only one of its kind in the United States - is expertly curated by Winterthur's museum staff, who happily answer questions; the costumes were individually selected from warehouses in England, where "Downton" is produced. It runs through January 4, 2015. Timed tickets are required. Admission is $20 ($5 for children), and also includes access to Winterthur's extensive gardens and the du Pont house. Details at www.winterthur.org/downtonabbey.

11  Thank Projournalist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2014

Outstanding gardens, great to wander. Magnificent museum including a special exhibit of Downton Abbey costumes. Tasty restaurant offerings. Great shop.

2  Thank Kildonan63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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