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Winterthur receives federal grant to digitally map garden

Courtesy of Winterthur, Photo by Ruth Joyce
Winterthur Japanese tree in autumn

Winterthur has received a grant of just over $148,000 to digitally map  its garden and scan historic estate maps.

The two-year Collections Stewardship grant given by the Institute of Museum and Library Services will enable Winterthur to complete work begun in 2014.

In January of last year, Winterthur received a grant of $15,000 from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust to begin converting paper and digital maps into a geographic information system framework.

Linda Eirhart Winterthur’s Director of Horticulture says staff will document over 14,000 woody plants within a 60 acre garden.


“Many of these plants are only identifiable when they are in flower so it gives us a very narrow window for certain plants," she says. "Mr. du Pont acquired some of the most unusual and rare plants during the early 20th century so we have quite a challenge and are very excited about going through and looking at what plants we have at the garden.”

The Winterthur Garden was last surveyed beginning in the 1990s. By 2005, 80 percent of the plants were inventoried. Since then, approximately 2,500 shrubs and trees have been added or replaced. Approximately 20 percent of the garden has not been mapped since the 1960s.

Credit Winterthur museum
Azalea Woods at Winterthur garden

Eirhart says the project will benefit researchers and the public who will have access to the updated plant records through the Winterthur website.


“So garden historians and garden researchers will be able to look at both the current mapping that we have at the garden plus the historic maps of what the garden looked like in the 60’s when Henry Francis was actively gardening here at Winterthur."


Winterthur will hire a full-time GIS Mapping Specialist and Plant Records Intern to assist with the project.

Work begins this week and mapping is expected to be completed by September 2017.


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