American Museum and Gardens

America on your doorstep: no passport required

The American Museum & Gardens is delighted to announce the re-launch of its most glamourous exhibition yet, Night and Day: 1930s Fashion & Photographs, organised by the Fashion and Textiles Museum, London.

Presented thematically, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey through sumptuous city tableaus, featuring a range of glamorous eveningwear. Nightclub, cinema and bustling street scenes are filled with floor-length gowns, created in satins, velvets and crepes and adorned with diamante.

 

Relaunched in 2018 as The American Museum & Gardens at Claverton Manor, the American Museum officially opened in 1961 with the aim of displaying the achievements of Americans in the decorative arts and promoting Anglo-American understanding.

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Kate Hebert, Chief Curator of the American Museum & Gardens, is looking forward to welcoming members and visitors back to the glitz and glamour of the 1930s: 

‘The Fourth of July always marks a special day in the Museum’s calendar but even more so this year. As we all continue to emerge from lockdown and return to a new normal, we thought some glitz and glamour from Hollywood would cheer everyone up and would make a great complement to the peace of our gardens. The exhibition also shines a light on a period of great social change; it seems history is always repeating itself.’ 

It is the only museum outside the United States to showcase the decorative arts of America. The permanent collection includes more than two hundred historic American quilts, exceptional pieces of Shaker furniture, Native American objects, and two hundred historical maps of the New World from the twelfth century to the Renaissance.  The museum also has the most significant collection of American folk art in Europe.

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The New American Garden, opened in September 2018 by Alan Titchmarsh,  is the first European commission for Washington DC-based landscape architects Oehme, van Sweden.  The planting follows the free-form style made famous by the firm’s founders, Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden.  Native American shrubs, perennials, and bulbs feature heavily, but the garden is designed to work with the steep terrain and enhance the view over the Limpley Stoke Valley, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Museum’s gardens also feature a reproduction of George Washington’s upper garden as it would have appeared on his Mount Vernon estate in Virginia in 1799.  Our Mount Vernon garden features ornamental planting, fruit and vegetables, and boxwood hedges in the shape of four fleur de lis which symbolize the friendship between America’s first president and the Marquis de Lafayette.