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Arts Playlist: Exploring Winterthur’s White House connection


The new exhibit at Winterthur chronicles the role Henry Frances du Pont played in Jackie Kennedy’s efforts restore White House interiors during the 1960s

And in this week’s Arts Playlist, Elaine Bachmann, guest curator of the exhibit, joins Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele to discuss it.

Delaware Public Media's Kelli Steele interviews Elaine Bachmann, guest curator of 'Jacqueline Kennedy and H. F. du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House."

Winterthur in Wilmington is offering a new exhibit -
Jacqueline Kennedy and H. F. du Pont: From Winterthur to the White House.

“This exhibition, which really brings to attention a time in 1961 when Jacqueline Kennedy sought to restore the interiors of the White House," said Elaine Bachmann, the exhibit’s guest curator, "And she reached out to the foremost American antique collector of his day - Henry Frances du Pont - who had founded the Winterthur Museum to lead - what would be the Fine Arts Committee for the White House.” 

Bachmann says the First Lady and the Delaware antiques collector eventually transformed the interiors of the White House, bringing a new appreciation for the iconic residence.


She says visitors to this exhibit will be able see the archives, artifacts and objects associated with the White House project.

“This exhibition really draws heavily from Winterthurs’ own archives, where there are hundreds of letters between Mrs. Kennedy and Mr. du Pont as they planned this restoration - which took place nearly immediately after the Kennedy’s moved in and was really guided by Mr. du Pont and a series of advisors," said Bachmann. "So there’s certainly archival material; they’ll see letters from Mrs. Kennedy and Mr. du Pont.”

Visitors can also take a guided house tour - Walking in Jackie’s Footsteps - to see the rooms and collections that inspired her to restore the White House.

The exhibit runs through January 8, 2023.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.