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Winterthur honors Charles F. Hummel with endowed leadership position

Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library in Wilmington, Del., received a $425,000 federal challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and raised an additional $1,275,000 to endow a key leadership position that was recently named the Charles F. Hummel Director of Conservation.

The grant and match funding are part of Winterthur’s $50 million “Building on Strength Campaign.”

Hummel, who rose to senior deputy director of Winterthur in 1989, began his career at Winterthur in 1958 as assistant curator. As an adjunct full professor for the University of Delaware, he still teaches graduate students and conducts research at Winterthur, where he remains Curator Emeritus, according to the museum.

Hummel’s milestones include the creation of the scientific advisory committee (which helped pioneer the use of scientific techniques on material culture research), the 1969 establishment of the scientific research and analysis laboratory and the 1970s founding of the Winterthur/UD Program in Art Conservation.

On the national level, he convened a 1973 meeting at Winterthur that led to the creation of the National Conservation Advisory Council and the National Institute for Conservation, now known as Heritage Preservation.

His major books, considered landmarks in the field, include “With Hammer in Hand: The Dominy Craftsmen of East Hampton,” “A Winterthur Guide to American Chippendale Furniture,” and with co-author Beatrice Garvan, “The Pennsylvania Germans: A Celebration of Their Arts, 1683-1850.

“Hummel’s dedication to Winterthur, scholarship in the decorative arts, and the museum field are unparalleled,” museum director David P. Roselle said in a statement. “His long service to Winterthur has been an inspiration to museum professionals, and he is highly respected both here at Winterthur and throughout the country.”

The endowment funding will also allow Winterthur to create a new post-graduate fellowship program in conservation.

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