The American Museum in Britain has a little of something to entertain everyone. Located in the historical city of Bath, this museum offers a unique look into the lives of Americans, from the early settlers right through to 20th century life. This museum is the only museum outside of the United States which offers both English and European visitors the opportunity to experience the culture of America through early American folk art, period rooms and other exhibitions.
The Museum and its History
First opened to the public in 1961, it took the founders John Judkyn, Dr. Dallas Pratt and Nick Bell Knight close to three years to collect sufficient memorabilia to fill the museum. In order to make the museum and its displays as realistic as possible, panelling and floors from demolished buildings in America were shipped to Claverton Manor (where the museum is housed today) and reconstructed inside. Even after many years, this museum is still a highly popular attraction. If you have a list of things to do in Bath, one of the items on it should definitely be a stop at the American Museum.
Various Exhibits on Offer
The museum houses various collections of hand crafted quilts, furniture, glassware and silverware. An extensive collection of early American folk art is housed in the Folk Art Gallery which was opened to the public in 2011. Other textiles are open for public viewing and can be found in the dedicated Textile room at the museum. The American Heritage Collection, which is housed in the basement of the museum, gives a glimpse into the lives of Native Americans as well as the Founding Fathers of one of the most diverse nations in the world. An interactive gallery that forms part of the Heritage Collection is sure to be a hit with children of all ages.
A Range of Period Rooms and Accompanying Furniture
Early American furniture and artefacts are on display in the various period rooms which help to bring the past alive for visitors. Among these rooms are a tavern layout from the 1770’s, a beautiful bedroom layout from the 1860’s and a late 17th century Puritan home. Authentic Shaker furniture can be found gracing these rooms, along with the accompanying table and bed linens of that era. A library on the premises holds an astonishing amount of books and other literature which cover every aspect of American history and culture. Open on most weekdays between 10am and 4pm, the library is one of the few areas at the museum which requires an appointment to be made prior to visiting.
The American Museum offers 40 acres of beautiful parklands and gardens which visitors can stroll through while enjoying the beauty of various American plants and trees. For those who appreciate exquisite flower displays and box hedges, a stroll through George Washington’s Mount Vernon Garden is a must. The museum and its grounds and shops are open from 12 noon through to 5pm on Tuesdays through to Sundays and closed on Mondays.