American Museum in Britain

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American Museum in Britain
American Museum in Bath.jpg
The American Museum
American Museum in Britain is located in Somerset
American Museum in Britain
Location within Somerset and the United Kingdom
Established July 1, 1961
Location Claverton, Bath, Somerset, England
Coordinates 51°22′36″N 2°18′40″W / 51.3768°N 2.3110°W / 51.3768; -2.3110
Website American Museum
Listed Building – Grade I
Reference no. 1214609[1]

The American Museum in Britain[2] is based at Claverton Manor, near Bath, England, in a house, designed by Jeffry Wyatville and built in the 1820s[3] on the site of a manor bought by Ralph Allen in 1758,[4] replacing the manor house built by Ralph of Shrewsbury around 1340.[5] It is now a Grade I listed building.[6]

The museum was founded by two antique collectors, an American, Dallas Pratt (August 21, 1914 – May 20, 1994)[7] and a Briton, John Judkyn (1913 – July 27, 1963)[8] and opened to the public for the first time on July 1, 1961.

The exhibits cover American history in form of period rooms from circa 1690 to 1860. Also a different exhibition is created every year to include more recent American history. Out of the whole collection of around 200, 50 quilts and coverlets are included in the newly refurbished textile room.[9] In the Shaker room there are several pieces of furniture. In 2013 an exhibition 'Gangsters and Gunslingers' is being held,[10] which is a departure from previous policy which observed John Judkyn's guidance that the museum should contain no militaria as he was a Quaker.[11]


The garden, part of which is preserved from the previous house,[12] is set into the valley of the River Avon and has fine views over the valley and the Kennet and Avon Canal. The American Museum employed Lanning Roper to design a mixed border. There is a Colonial Herb Garden and a Mount Vernon Garden, which is a re-creation of George Washington's garden. The arboretum has a collection of American trees.[3]

Artists in the collection[edit]

The collection of portraits includes works by John Brewster, Jr., Ammi Phillips and William Matthew Prior. There are also carved eagles by Wilhelm Schimmel and Frederick Myrick.[13]


  1. ^ Historic England. "Claverton Manor (The American Museum) (1214609)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  2. ^ American Museum in Britain website
  3. ^ a b Garden Visit website
  4. ^ Scott, Shane (1995). The hidden places of Somerset. Aldermaston: Travel Publishing Ltd. pp. 16–17. ISBN 1-902007-01-8. 
  5. ^ Greenwood, Charles (1977). Famous houses of the West Country. Bath: Kingsmead Press. pp. 15–17. ISBN 978-0-901571-87-8. 
  6. ^ "Claverton Manor (The American Museum)". Images of England. Archived from the original on 2012-10-21. Retrieved 2006-12-16. 
  7. ^ Biographical notes on Dallas Pratt
  8. ^ Personal recollections of John Judkyn by Dallas Pratt
  9. ^ "Textile Room Redisplay". American Museum in Britain. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  10. ^ "Gangsters & Gunslingers at the American Museum". Visit Bath. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Claverton Manor (American Museum in Britain)". The DiCamillo Collection. Archived from the original on 14 December 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  12. ^ Bond, James (1998). Somerset Parks and Gardens. Somerset Books. p. 51. ISBN 978-0861834655. 
  13. ^ "Folk Art". American Museum in Britain. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 

External links[edit]