The American Museum and Gardens (formerly known as the American Museum in Britain) is a museum in a country house on the outskirts of Bath that has exhibits of American decorative arts including patchwork quilts and Shaker furniture. It is the only museum of American decorative arts outside the United States.
What to see at the American Museum and Gardens
The American Museum focuses on exhibits depicting the United States prior to the 1880s. It is arranged in a series of rooms, each dedicated to a particular period from around 1690 until 1860 and it is noted for its displays of American decorative arts including patchwork quilts and Shaker furniture.
Temporary exhibitions at the American Museum
There is also a programme of temporary exhibitions, which often focus on more recent aspects of American history.
Shooting Stars: Carinthia West, Britain and American in the 1970s is the museum’s current exhibition (21 May– 31 October 2021). The exhibition features a collection of 63 photographs from the 1970s, taken in the UK and the United States, which include many notable actors and rock stars from the era including George Harrison, Anjelica Huston, Eric Idle, Mick Jagger, Helen Mirren and Neil Young.
The house and gardens
The museum is located at Claverton Manor, a Grade I listed country house that was built in the 19th century and offers lovely views of the Somerset countryside and the River Avon. The house is set among extensive parkland and gardens, which have been landscaped to represent different aspects of both English and American garden design including a replica of George Washington’s garden at Mount Vernon.
Visiting the American Museum and Gardens
The American Museum and Gardens is located at Claverton Manor on the outskirts of Bath. Although it is in an idyllic setting surrounded by countryside, the museum is only 4km (2½ miles) from the city centre. It takes less than an hour to walk here or you can drive in around 10–15 minutes. However, it is harder to get here by public transport as the closest bus stop is a 10–15-minute walk from the museum.
All the museum buildings are wheelchair accessible and most of the gardens are also accessible for visitors in wheelchairs.
The museum’s Garden Cafe is a lovely spot for a light meal and the museum also has its own on-site gift shop.
Allow around three hours to visit the museum plus additional time to travel here from the centre of Bath.