Went with friends to see Winterthur's Yuletide annual display (open until January 7), and of course, it was very well done. And one of the first things I noticed was that the first room on the tour had a Wilmington connection. It was from the Joseph Shipley House in Wilmington. I knew that Rockwood was Shipley's retirement home (now a museum), but didn't realize that Winterthur had saved an element from Shipley's home that no longer exists. It is shown on the tour with a natural tree which could have been something in the laurel family, but I'm not sure exactly what this decorated tree was.
They also had a giant cookie on display in this room (following the theme of some other cookie related displays including one as big as a pizza and a room full of laundry baskets full of cookies to give away in the community).
One of the things the Yuletide exhibit is known for is the dried flower tree in the Conservatory. A close look at the flowers was more impressive to me than the whole giant tree seen from ten feet away.
Also learned a tidbit about the DuPonts who lived in the house from the display in the Chinese Parlor. It was scattered with baskets of gifts for all the guests with shipping tags attached containing the guest's name. It turns out that to be invited as a guest at Winterthur, one had to be a good bridge player, since that is how they entertained themselves at the house. Guess that would have ruled me out.
Actually, several things would have ruled me out: not rich, no maid to help me dress, and an aversion to learning all those bridge rules, and no chauffeur to bring me there. Better to be there as a museum visitor who chuckles at the way life was lived "back in the day." The house was opened as a museum in 1951.
Contact Carolyn Roland, Your Older and Historic Homes Resource.