John and Marjorie McGraw with the WPAMC class of 2011

John and Marjorie McGraw with the WPAMC class of 2011, Winterthur staff members, and Leigh Keno

Winterthur Receives Gift to Endow Director of Collections Position

Winterthur is delighted to announce the gift of $3 million from museum Trustee John L. McGraw and his wife Marjorie to endow the position of director of museum collections, currently held by Linda S. Eaton.

The endowment of the position—named the John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections—ensures that this vital aspect of Winterthur’s operations will be funded permanently into the future and reflects the institution’s commitment to the exceptional scholarship, publications, and exhibitions for which it is known.

Considered chief among the curatorial staff, the director of museum collections is responsible for the collections as a whole and is a key player in any decision-making regarding collections. The position is responsible for all aspects of collection acquisition, documentation, interpretation, and research, including initiating and implementing museum goals and working directly with the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees to revise and review policies.

Current Director of Museum Collections Linda S. Eaton, who will now assume the title John L. and Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections, has achieved the highest professional regard as a result of her scholarship, research, and mentorship. Eaton has been director of museum collections and senior curator of textiles since 2009. Curator of textiles and professor in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture since 1999, she has also served as textile conservator at Winterthur and head of textile conservation at the National Museums of Scotland. Eaton has published numerous articles and is the author of the book Quilts in a Material World: Selections from the Winterthur Museum (2007). She has also curated and co-curated many exhibitions including the current Winterthur exhibition, With Cunning Needle: Four Centuries of Embroidery (September 3, 2011–January 8, 2012); Betsy Ross: The Life Behind the Legend (October 2, 2010–January 2, 2011); Who’s Your Daddy? Families in Early American Needlework (October 4, 2008–January 9, 2009); and Quilts in a Material World: Selections from the Winterthur Collection (March 10–September 16, 2007).

“Our curatorial staff is second to none, and we welcome this incredible show of support for them,” says Winterthur Director Dave Roselle. “Winterthur is deeply appreciative of the magnitude of Marjorie and John McGraw’s generosity and their unwavering dedication to our great institution.”

The McGraws have a longtime relationship with Winterthur. John has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2001 and served as Chairman of the Board from 2007 to 2010. He and Marjorie were appointed to the Collections Committee in 2002 and 2003 respectively. As co-chairs of Winterthur’s Henry Francis du Pont Collectors Circle giving group from 2003 to 2007, Marjorie and John established a challenge grant that resulted in combined new memberships, gifts, increased giving levels, and significant matching funds.

Among their steadfast support for many projects at Winterthur, the McGraws have contributed to the endowment for the professor of American decorative arts, the Robert F. Fileti Endowment for Future Education, the London Study Program for culture fellows, and several major furniture exhibitions originated by Winterthur curators. Furthermore, each year they host the students in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at their home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Winterthur is extremely grateful for their ongoing commitment and support.

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