#PeopleofWilmDE: Tim English

Tim English is the Associate Manager of School Programs at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library. He is this week’s #PeopleofWilmDE. Read his story below.

I was born in Newark, DE and attended Christina School District schools, including Bancroft Academy on Wilmington’s east side. I then went to the University of Delaware and graduated with degrees in History, Art History, and Anthropology and then got a master’s degree in History at Villanova University. I originally planned on being a high school teacher, but ultimately decided to work in museum education instead. Then ended up accepting a job offer at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in 2021 to head up their School Programs team, where I oversee field trips. 

My ideal Wilmington weekend would start with an early morning solo hike at Winterthur, exploring the furthest reaches of the property and hopefully seeing some wildlife. I’d then go back home and change, pick up my wife Kristen, and we’d head out to a 1:05 pm Wilmington Blue Rocks game and hopefully get plenty of Mr. Celery sightings. After the game, we’d get dinner at Pizza By Elizabeths (the Barrett with fresh mozzarella is my favorite), and finish out the evening at The Queen for a concert. 

My all-time favorite Wilmington experience was being in the crowd for Joe Biden’s victory speech outside on the Riverfront following his victory in the 2020 election. As a lifelong Presidential nerd (who has known all the Presidents in order since the second grade), having the ability to see a fellow Delawarean become the most powerful person in the world was truly an unforgettable experience. 

I attended Biden’s campaign kick-off event outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art back in the spring of 2019 (and had a photo taken with him) and the world changed so much for the worse over the next year and a half with COVID. But just being able to have that celebratory moment (while socially distanced outdoors) was incredible. I also volunteered extensively during the 2020 election for the Biden campaign and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, sending over 2 million text messages to voters, so having the ability to see some of my hard work in action meant a lot to me. Many thanks to Wilmington City Councilman Chris Johnson for bringing me along! 

I’d also like to shout out some of the excellent concerts I’ve seen at the Grand Opera House, The Queen, and Arden Gild Hall over the years, including Waxahatchee (2022), Adrianne Lenker (2021), Courtney Barnett (2020), St. Vincent (2018), Beach House (2017), Jenny Lewis (2016 & 2008), The xx (2014), Rufus Wainwright (2010), Bright Eyes (2007), and Little Richard (2007). 

Three fun facts about me would be: 

  • Taylor Swift has hugged me- twice!
  • I’m on a lifelong quest to visit every President’s grave. I’m currently at 30/39. What will I do when the first President is cremated?
  • I collect license plates. I have at least 1 from every state. My favorite plate is from Canada’s Northwest Territories (which is shaped like a polar bear). 

Wilmington has helped me get to where I need to be through Wilmington’s public schools, though they frequently get a bad rap. Spending my formative years in an incredibly economically and racially diverse environment led me to being able to easily work with different groups of people in adulthood. Also, having the ability to experience Wilmington-based field trips at places like Hagley, the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science (where I was an Intern a decade or so ago and had my wedding reception) and the Ashland Nature Center when I was young, definitely shaped my interest in American history, art, and nature, which I love getting to share with students at Winterthur. Interestingly, I never had the opportunity to visit Winterthur until I was in college at UD, so I want to make sure all area students can experience Winterthur earlier in their lives than I did. 

What I’m most excited about in Wilmington right now is the continued growth of Winterthur’s School Programs. Since joining the department two and a half years ago, my team and I have been able to offer field trips for free for all students and have seen a nearly six-fold increase in the number of students visiting Winterthur, with nearly 20,000 of them visiting this past year. Winterthur hasn’t always been the most welcoming place to young people over the years, but my team and I are working very hard to shed that image. I hope that having so many young people visit Winterthur during their formative years will lead them to develop a lifelong love of American history, art, nature, science, and a greater appreciation of Delaware and their local communities. I hope to be able to get every Delaware student to visit Winterthur at least once during their school experience.

Wilmington is an extraordinary place to live for people who are interested in history, art, and nature. Wilmington has a ton of world-class museums and outdoor spaces that any other mid-sized city would be envious of. You can spend an entire week exploring Winterthur, Hagley, Nemours Estate, Rockwood Park & Museum (where I was also an Intern a decade or so ago), the Delaware Museum of Nature & Science, and the Delaware Art Museum, among so many others. There’s also all of the area state parks, two minor league sports teams (Blue Rocks and Blue Coats), the Brandywine Zoo, and all the entertainment opportunities as well. A lot of people who have grown up in this area oftentimes take these places for granted and everyone would benefit from revisiting all the wonderful cultural institutions that Wilmington has to offer. Museums and cultural institutions are not static places; they are constantly changing and developing new exhibits and programs and everyone would gain from checking them out again. Also, if you’re an educator and want to bring your class out to Winterthur for free, please reach out to me at school@winterthur.org. We’d love to have you!

Though Tim doesn’t have social accounts, you can follow Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

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