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The American Museum in Bath, England.


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On our recent visit to Bristol, to visit with my eldest son and his partner, we took a day to go to the American Museum in Bath.’ The museum takes you on a journey through the history of America, from its early settlers to the 20th century and illustrates the complexity of American culture through its remarkable collections of folk and decorative arts.  Its furniture, paintings, maps, quilts, silver and glass are presented in a series of period rooms within a historic manor house near Bath in the beautiful Avon Valley in the West of England.

The museum grounds encompass 125 acres of parkland, gardens, and an arboretum and throughout the year, children’s activities, living history, workshops, lectures and seasonal celebrations are all part of the life of the Museum.

The only museum of Americana outside the United States, The American Museum in Britain was founded to bring American history and cultures to the people of Britain and Europe.’

The  museum was founded in 1961 by two men who had a great love for the decorative arts of America and who wanted to share this passion with the people of Britain.  They were Dallas Pratt, an American psychiatrist who served in World War II and his partner John Judkyn, a British antiques dealer.  In the 1950’s they were struck with the popularity of newly established historic site museums such as Winterthur, Williamsburg, Sturbridge Village and Historic Deerfield.  So why not found a museum to demonstrate that America was more complex than in the Hollywood movies people were familiar with?

Acquiring a 19th century manor housse near Bath to display their collections, the founders planned a series of period rooms for their decorative arts collections and the interpretation of American life.’ from the ‘Aspects of America’ guidebook.

Here are some of the pictures Larry and I took when we visited:

The house itself is beautiful and the view from the front is spectacular.

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This is the view from the front:

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‘This room is the ‘keeping room’ .17th century ‘keeping’ was a term used by colonists to describe where they lived.  The Keeping Room includes a pedestal table that may have belonged to Peregrine White, who was born aboard the Mayflower’:

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What follows is the ‘Stencilled Bedroom’ ca. 1830. ‘Stencilling was done by itinerant painters who travelled across the country decorating walls with paint, as a substitute for more expensive wallpaper.  The popularity for stenciling travelled back across the Atlantic to Britain, where it also was used in the 19th century.’

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We had such a good time here and looked and looked until we were too tired to look anymore! We had lunch in the beautiful refectory where all American food was served, which was nice for Larry because although he wouldn’t admit it, he must feel homesick sometimes.

After the house we visited the exhibition hall in the grounds where a Kaffe Fassett exhibition was being held. I wrote about it here if you missed it the first time round.

 

 

Tennessee – University of Tennessee Gardens – Knoxville – September 2012


My regular readers will know that Oma has been uprooted and transplanted into Tennessee for the next few weeks. Incredibly, I have been here for one week already! The other day we went for a very pleasant walk around the University of Tennessee pleasure gardens, which is where I took these photos. Now I need your help because I don’t know what a lot of these tropical plants are called. Please could you tell me if you know?

The first picture, above, shows some very pretty plants, which look like a kind of aloe vera.  Am I right?

The red plant in the next picture reminds me of a coleus.  Am I right or is it something completely different?

I know that the next very pretty pink plant is a Sedum. Anyone know which variety of Sedum. Sedum is known also as an Ice Plant and it is very popular with butterflies and bees.

No prizes for the next pic., which shows some gorgeous water lillies doing their thing in a man-made pond. Just lovely.

How about these yellow beauties?  Anyone know what they are?

Now the cactus. What sort of cactus is it and is the fruit edible?  I’ve seen fruit on this before when I’ve been over but I have no idea if it is edible or what to do with it if it is.

The last picture today shows me admiring a sunflower.  It is full of seeds and the birds were enjoying them.

I have more pictures, but that will do for today.

The last time I went to the University Pleasure Gardens was back in February when almost everything was dormant.  What a difference I saw this week. Lots of colour and vibrant growth and the butterflies were gorgeous.

I hope you’re enjoying your day.