Downton Abbey Costumes Coming to Delaware's Winterthur Museum

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Downton Abbey Series 3
The “Costumes of Downton Abbey” will open at Winterthur on March 1, 2014. Image: Nick Briggs, Carnival Film, and Television Limited 2012.

Chances are you never had “go to Delaware” on your bucket list. You may want to bump that up to the top of your places to visit for the New Year. Winterthur Museum, located in the city of Wilmington, is planning to open “Costumes of Downton Abbey this March.

The exhibit will display 40 costumes and accessories that were actually worn in the popular period drama. Each piece is on loan from Cosprop, a costumier out of London.

“The first time I looked at the costumes up close, I was amazed at the incredible detail,” says Maggie Lidz, one of the three co-curators of the exhibition. “They are surprisingly ornate. This is going to be one of the most beautiful exhibitions ever held at Winterthur.”

Image: Nick Briggs, Carnival Film and Television Limited 2010.

Lidz went to London back in July to choose the pieces that will be on display. The idea behind the exhibit isn’t just to look at the pretty costumes, but also compare the fictional British world of Downton Abbey to the real-life American counterpart Winterthur in the first half of the 20th century. In other words, you can expect to see Lady Sybil’s harem pants, Lady Mary’s engagement dress, and Lady Edith’s wedding dress right next to H. F. du Pont’s Saville Row evening jacket and the du Pont family’s 1874 Tiffany silver tea service.

The exhibit will be organized chronologically, allowing visitors to move through the times of day, both upstairs and downstairs. Winterthur will also host a series of companion lectures, workshops, and events.

If you’ve never been the museum, this is the perfect excuse. Located in my hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, I can honestly say that Winterthur is a pretty gorgeous place to visit any time of year. Tickets for the museum are priced at $18 for adults, $16 for students and seniors, and $5 for ages 2-11. Besides the Downtown Abbey exhibit, that ticket will also get you access to the 175-room house as well as the Winterthur Garden and Galleries, special exhibitions, a narrated tram tour (weather permitting), the Campbell Collection of Soup Tureens, and the Enchanted Woods children’s garden.

If you’re planning to make a special trip, know that “Costumes of Downton Abbey” will open at Winterthur on March 1, 2014, and run through January 4, 2015.

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