Cadou came close to becoming a Presbyterian minister. After college, she was contemplating her career options while teaching English in Japan. While exploring another country’s architecture and decorative arts, Cadou realized that she knew nothing about America’s. She enrolled in a one-year program at Sotheby’s New York and made her first pilgrimage to Winterthur.
“I was astounded by the volume and quality of the collection, as well as the historic architecture,” Cadou remembers. “I grew up in Ohio and didn’t know about the du Pont family or its impact on Delaware.” Cadou took the helm of Winterthur in May 2018, relocating her family from Washington, D.C., area, where she was senior vice president for historic preservation and collections at George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
Cadou says that this is her dream job. “To many people in the field, Winterthur is the mother ship of learning about American decorative arts and it is the country’s best collection,” Cadou explains. But it’s been challenging for her to become a museum director in what is often a male-dominated field. To boost her business credentials, Cadou earned an MBA in August 2019 from Ohio University, where her father taught for more 40 years.