- The Washington Times - Monday, May 21, 2007

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — John A.H. Sweeney, curator emeritus and former assistant to the director of Winterthur Museum & Country Estate, died May 17 after a short illness in Wilmington. He was 77.

Mr. Sweeney was attending social functions up to the Sunday before his death and died after a short illness, said Constance Sweeney, the wife of Mr. Sweeney’s brother, Dr. C. Leslie Sweeney. The cause of his death was not immediately known.

Mr. Sweeney helped turn Henry Francis du Pont’s collection of American decorative arts into a world-class museum exhibit, said Leslie Greene Bowman, director and chief executive officer of the museum.

“John’s scholarship and leadership were tremendously significant both here at Winterthur and to the American decorative arts community as a whole,” Mrs. Bowman said.

Mr. Sweeney graduated from Tower Hill School in Wilmington before attending Yale University. He continued his education in the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture and joined the museum staff as assistant curator after graduation in 1954.

When Mr. du Pont became the first chairman of the Fine Arts Committee for the White House, he appointed Mr. Sweeney to serve on the advisory committee. The two were integral to the restoration effort led by Jacqueline Kennedy, Mrs. Bowman said.

Survivors include two brothers, Dr. Sweeney of Raleigh, N.C., and Robert H. Sweeney of Navarre, Fla.

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