American Museum in Britain

exterior photograph of the American museum in britain
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Founded in 1961, The Museum has the finest collection of American decorative arts outside the United States. Displayed in a series of period rooms, the collection illustrates how early Americans lived between the 17th and 19th centuries. Interactive galleries offer an introduction to American history, while special collections highlight the finest examples of quilting, folk art, and early printed maps of the New World. The museum is also set in a spectacular, hillside setting including a formal garden, parkland, and nature trails.

Venue Type:

Museum, Garden, parklands or rural site, Archive, Library, Historic house or home, Gallery

Opening hours

Opening Times 2017

18 March – 29 October, Tuesday – Sunday
Closed Mondays except during August and Bank Holidays.

Cafe, gardens, and 1920s Jazz Age: Fashion and Photographs exhibition open 10.30am – 5pm

Main Museum and Joyce Petschek: Breaking the Pattern exhibition open 12noon – 5pm

The Museum closes on 29 October and re-opens for our Christmas season on 23 November 2017.

Christmas Season Opening 2017

23 November – 17 December, Tuesday – Sunday, 12noon – 4.30pm, café open from 11am.

Closed Mondays.

Grounds are closed for the winter.

The car parks close at 5pm.

Admission charges

Museum, exhibition and gardens:
Adults £12.00
Over 60s & Students £10.50
Children (5-18yrs) £6.50
Family ticket £28.50

Gardens only:
Adults £7.00
Over 60s & Students £5.50
Children (5-18yrs) £4.50

Gift Aid and Membership rates available.

Discounts

  • Museums Association
  • English Heritage
  • National Art Pass

Additional info

Both the musuem and exhibition gallery are fully accessible to wheelchair users. Certain parts of the gardens and grounds are also accessible. Wheelchair available for loan for use inside main museum only.

A series of period rooms display American furniture, woodwork, silver, glass & textiles which illustrate domestic life from 17th century to the eve of the American Civil War in 1860. The museum’s beautiful grounds at Claverton Manor overlook the stunning Limpley Stoke Valley, an include a replica of George Washington's Mt. Vernon Garden plus an aboretum of American trees and shrubs.

Collection details

Archives, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Design, Fine Art, Social History, World Cultures, Architecture

Key artists and exhibits

  • Shaker furniture
  • American quilts
  • Trade porcelin
  • Native American Indians
  • Early printed maps of the New World
  • American Folk Art
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
image of old decorative map

New World, Old Maps

  • 28 November 2013 — 1 November 2018 *on now

In 1988 Dr. Dallas Pratt, co-founder of the American Museum in Britain, gave the Museum over 200 Renaissance maps of the New World – a collection acclaimed by scholars as one of the finest holdings of rare printed world maps in existence.

This exhibition features a rotating display of historic maps in the American Museum’s collection.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://americanmuseum.org/about-the-museum/current-exhibitions/new-world-old-maps/

Joyce Petschek: Breaking the Pattern

  • 18 March — 29 October 2017 *on now

American-born Joyce Petschek has had a life-long passion for Bargello needlework, a beautiful flame-stitch pattern that has an extensive history. After many years creating designs for a commercial market, Joyce closed her business and began to work on her own unique compositions that allowed her to fully explore the creative potential of her ideas. The resulting canon of work is both colourful and inspiring. Her designs have moved away from the constraints of formal Bargello work as Joyce has reinvented the genre and ‘broken the pattern’.

Joyce Petschek studied as an undergraduate at Vassar College and then as a graduate at Radcliffe University and the New York Institute of Fine Art. It was here that she developed her keen eye for colour and an interest in the juxtaposition of intense colours. Joyce works exclusively with silk threads – the only material that offers the luminosity and intensity of colour that she needs for her kaleidoscopic work. The colour and the choice of threads drive each new design. The resulting works are visually arresting.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/about-the-museum/exhibitions/joyce-petschek-breaking-the-pattern/

1920s Jazz Age: Fashion & Photographs

  • 18 March — 29 October 2017 *on now

America in the 1920s created a cultural shockwave that reverberated around the world, creating icons on an industrial scale— from stars of the silver screen to skyscrapers.

This worldwide phenomenon will be explored in 1920s Jazz Age: Fashion and Photographs, which examines how the world saw— and sees— the US as a global taste-maker and trend setter.

The period after the Great War created a seismic shift in moral, social, and cultural attitudes. Emancipation combined with burgeoning affluence offered women the chance to adopt a completely new way of dressing, from sports to evening wear. The show features over 100 fashion objects, including flapper dresses, evening capes, lame coats, couture, and ready-to-wear garments from 1919 to 1929. A decade of change is documented through the shifting hemlines and waistlines of the era’s fashions.

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/coming-soon-1920s-jazz-age-fashion-photographs/

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Family Fun: Fat Sam’s Grand Slam

  • 24 February — 24 August 2017 *on now

Make fedoras, flapper headbands, and watch the film in the Stables.
Drop-in, ages 3+. Included with gardens admission

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 5-6

Admission

Gardens only: Adults £7.00
Over 60s & students £5.50
Children (5-18 years) £4.50

Admission Museum, Exhibition, & Gardens:
Adults £12.00
Over 60s & students £10.50
Children (5-18 years) £6.50
Family ticket £28.50

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/family-fun-fat-sams-grand-slam/

Family Fun: Action!

  • 31 August 2017 12-3pm

Drop-in, age 3+. Included with gardens admission

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • 5-6

Admission

Gardens only: Adults £7.00
Over 60s & students £5.50
Children (5-18 years) £4.50

Admission Museum, Exhibition, & Gardens:
Adults £12.00
Over 60s & students £10.50
Children (5-18 years) £6.50
Family ticket £28.50

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/family-fun-action/

Workshop: 1920s Dance

  • 23 September 2017 10:30am-12:30pm

Join The Showgirl Academy for a 1920s dance lesson, in a fun, informal environment. No experience necessary.

Admission

£10, pre-booking essential

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/workshop-1920s-dance/

Music Series: Eddie Martin

  • 24 September 2017 From 2pm

An acknowledged master of blues guitar and harmonica, Martin takes inspiration from this heritage while writing from his own heart and soul.
All Music Series events begin at 2pm in the Stables performance space and are included with gardens admission (unless otherwise stated).
The Music Series is programmed by Michael Bassett on behalf of the American Museum in Britain.

Admission

Gardens only: Adults £7.00
Over 60s & students £5.50
Children (5-18 years) £4.50

Admission Museum, Exhibition, & Gardens:
Adults £12.00
Over 60s & students £10.50
Children (5-18 years) £6.50
Family ticket £28.50

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/music-series-eddie-martin/

Prohibition Ball

  • 7 October 2017 From 7:30pm

Enjoy Prohibition-era cocktails handcrafted by the Abbey Hotel’s pop-up bar.

Afterwards we’ll head underground for an afterparty at the Igloo Bar, 10pm-1am.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Admission

£15, pre-booking essential

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/prohibition-ball/

Museums Week: King Kong 3D Skyscrapers with Wiltshire Scrapstore

  • 24 October 2017 From 12pm

We will be constructing 3D skyscrapers— how tall will yours be?

Drop-in, age 3+. Included with gardens admission

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10

Admission

Gardens only: Adults £7.00
Over 60s & students £5.50
Children (5-18 years) £4.50

Admission Museum, Exhibition, & Gardens:
Adults £12.00
Over 60s & students £10.50
Children (5-18 years) £6.50
Family ticket £28.50

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/museums-week-king-kong-3d-skyscrapers-with-wiltshire-scrapstore/

Family Fun: Museums Week- All Things Egypt!

  • 25 October 2017 12-3pm

Join us for some creepy Egyptian-inspired crafts!
Drop-in, age 3+. Included with gardens admission

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10

Admission

Gardens only: Adults £7.00
Over 60s & students £5.50
Children (5-18 years) £4.50

Admission Museum, Exhibition, & Gardens:
Adults £12.00
Over 60s & students £10.50
Children (5-18 years) £6.50
Family ticket £28.50

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/family-fun-museums-week-all-things-egypt/

Museums Week: Halloween with Wiltshire Scrapstore

  • 26 October 2017 12-3pm

Join Scrapstore for an array of spooky crafts to get you ready for the big day.
Drop-in, age 3+. Included with gardens admission

Suitable for

  • 5-6
  • 7-10

Admission

Gardens only: Adults £7.00
Over 60s & students £5.50
Children (5-18 years) £4.50

Admission Museum, Exhibition, & Gardens:
Adults £12.00
Over 60s & students £10.50
Children (5-18 years) £6.50
Family ticket £28.50

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/family-fun-museums-week-halloween-with-wiltshire-scrapstore/

Museums Week: Shadow Puppetry with Tallulah Swirls

  • 27 October 2017 11am-3:45pm

Spaces limited, pre-booking essential.
Ticket price included with garden admission (paid on the day); please phone or visit the website to reserve your place.

Suitable for

  • Especially for children

Admission

Gardens only: Adults £7.00
Over 60s & students £5.50
Children (5-18 years) £4.50

Admission Museum, Exhibition, & Gardens:
Adults £12.00
Over 60s & students £10.50
Children (5-18 years) £6.50
Family ticket £28.50

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/family-fun-museums-week-shadow-puppetry-with-tallulah-swirls/

Fright at the Museum 2017

  • 27 October 2017 From 6pm

Behind the doors of Claverton Manor a host of ghostly storytellers await, ready with the most ghastly tales from American folklore. Visitors begin in the shadows of our seventeenth century room where they’ll hear the story of Bloody Mary, who terrorised villagers in rural Pennsylvania four hundred years ago. Whatever you do don’t say her name three times, and don’t look back into the shadows to see who (or what) might be following…

Guides will lead timed tours through the Museum, stopping to listen to our storytellers and finding a few nasty surprises along the way. Hear about Claverton Manor’s own sinister past and the peculiar goings on witnessed by staff and volunteers. Perhaps our own ghosts will join the party?

Timed tours will take place at 6, 6.30, 7, 7.30, 8, and 8.30pm.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children
  • 18+

Admission

Adults £12, Over 60s and Students £10.50, Children £6.50, Family Ticket £28.50

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/museums-at-night-fright-at-the-museum-2017/

Music Series: Mariachi Tequila

  • 29 October 2017 From 2pm

Closing our season and in celebration of ‘Day of the Dead’, Mariachi Tequila perform a broad spectrum of traditional songs touching on love, betrayal, death, politics, revolution, and country life.
All Music Series events begin at 2pm in the Stables performance space and are included with gardens admission (unless otherwise stated).
The Music Series is programmed by Michael Bassett on behalf of the American Museum in Britain.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

Gardens only: Adults £7.00
Over 60s & students £5.50
Children (5-18 years) £4.50

Admission Museum, Exhibition, & Gardens:
Adults £12.00
Over 60s & students £10.50
Children (5-18 years) £6.50
Family ticket £28.50

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/music-series-mariachi-tequila-2/

Family Fun: Day of the Dead Fiesta

  • 29 October 2017 From 12pm

Mark the festival with traditional music from Mariachi Tequila, and make your own skull mask or model to take home.
Drop-in, age 3+. Included with gardens admission

Suitable for

  • Family friendly
  • Especially for children

Admission

Gardens only: Adults £7.00
Over 60s & students £5.50
Children (5-18 years) £4.50

Admission Museum, Exhibition, & Gardens:
Adults £12.00
Over 60s & students £10.50
Children (5-18 years) £6.50
Family ticket £28.50

Website

https://americanmuseum.org/events/family-fun-day-of-the-dead-fiesta-2/

Colour poster depicting Uncle Sam linking arms with Britannia. He holds a sword and has an eagle by his feet. She holds a fork and has a lion beside her. Print reads 'SIDE BY SIDE- BRITANNIA!' at top of poster. Beneath picture reads 'Britain's Day Dec 7th 1918'

The War to End All Wars: America and the First World War

  • 17 March — 28 October 2018

In 2018, the centenary of America's first major military action during the First World War, we will commemorate America's reaction to involvement in the war and how that affected the progress and outcome of the war. America's relationship with both the Allied (particularly Britain) and Central Powers before, during and after the war will be addressed.
Despite now being dismissed by some as late to turn up and adopting the conquering hero persona, at the time America joining the war was eagerly anticipated; King George V wrote that 'the Allies will gain new heart and spirit in your company'. A fully immersive exhibition that will look at the subtleties of how America joining the war helped to end the stalemate and bring about the end of the war, challenging he preconceptions of bot British and American audiences.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

England and the Colonization of America

http://www.americanmuseum.org

What was life like for colonists in the New World? Explore the lives, tools and trade going back and forth between England and America as these early setters began to shape a new nation.
• Colonial costume presentation
• Object handling with worksheet activity or map exhibition tour with worksheet activity
• 17th to 18th century period room tour
(Group size: max. 30; Duration: 2.5 hrs; Level: KS2)

How to obtain

Book in advance: 01225 823019

Kids' Activities

http://www.americanmuseum.org

Drop into art and craft activities at the American Museum in Britain. These are suitable for children aged 5 years and upwards on Thursdays 13.00-16.00 in school holidays.

How to obtain

Booking is not required but space is limited so arrive early to avoid disappointment. Activities are free after normal admission to the museum. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Native Americans – As Varied as the Land

http://www.americanmuseum.org

Through this programme students will come away with a better understanding of the diversity of Native Americans by examining their art, tools, clothing, and the stories that have shaped their culture. Supported by a grant from SWMLAC Strategic Commissioning Programme, this is a unique opportunity to understand the living cultures that lie beyond the Hollywood stereotypes.
• Plains Indian costume presentation
• Object handling and worksheet activity
• Guided tour of American Heritgae exhibition galleries
(Group size: max.30 - Duration: 2.5hrs; Level:KS3, can also be adapted to KS2)

How to obtain

Book in advance - 01225 823019

Textile Traditions

http://www.americanmuseum.org

Using the museum’s famous textile collection, learn how quilts, samplers and rugs served to reflect the social, cultural and artistic aspirations of Americans - from the genteel cities of the east coast to the plains of the western frontier.
• Textile Room tour
• Object handing and worksheet activity
• ‘Design Your Own Quilt Block’ activity
(Group size: max 30 - Duration: 2.5 hours; Level: KS1 - KS4)

How to obtain

Book in advance: 01225 823019

The American West

http://www.americanmuseum.org

Delving into the history of the exploration and expansion into the American West, students will begin to discern the fact from the fiction. From Lewis and Clark’s Voyage of Discovery to the days of the cowboys, find out how the west was really won.
• Plains Indian costume presentation
• Object handling and worksheet activity
• American Hertiage exhibition tour
(Group size: max.90; Duration: 3 hours; Level: KS3,GCSE)

How to obtain

Book in advance: 01225 823019

American Museum in Britain
Claverton Manor
Bath
Somerset
BA2 7BD
England

Website

www.americanmuseum.org

E-mail

enquiries@americanmuseum.org

Education and Group Visits

groupvisits@americanmuseum.org

Telephone

01225 460503

Education and Group Visits

01225 823019

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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