Celebrate Christmas at the American Museum in Britain

September 15, 2015 - Nicky Hancock

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Thursday 26 November to Sunday 20 December

The American Museum is well-known for its beautiful hand-crafted decorations in traditional Christmas colours of red, green, and white, which transport the colourful festivities of the New World to the Old.  The centrepiece of the installation, a 17-foot Nordman Fir tree, covered in hundreds of sparkly lights, dominates the Central Hall. As a nod to the modern Christmas tradition of wearing a kitsch festive sweater, mini jumpers, all knitted and many designed by the Museum’s volunteers, will also cover the tree.

Most of the Museum’s Period Rooms pre-date the celebration of Christmas as we know it today, so the displays show winter activities that were popular at that time. For the build-up to the festive season, each room is transformed with special costumes, textiles, and floral arrangements. The residents of each Period Room will be pursuing activities that are typical winter traditions. In the Massachusetts Tavern, Mrs Conkey’s table is covered with food as she prepares her Thanksgiving feast – an important celebration for the early settlers. Elsewhere, a family warm itself with hot punch after a bracing winter sleigh ride.

Kate Hebert, Chief Curator at the Museum, commented, ‘As the days get colder, children look to the skies in the hope of snow. A good snowfall means no school and all the fun of sleigh rides and building snowmen. These Frosty figures have long been associated with winter and often adorn Christmas cards sending season’s greetings to loved ones. This year mini snowmen have crept into the Museum’s Period Rooms and hidden themselves away. Visitors of all ages have great fun trying to find them all and the hunt for the characters on our Christmas trail has become a tradition in itself for many of our regular visitors’.

The Christmas shops will be open throughout this period, including the famous Country Store with its collection of toys and craft items from the USA – and this year stitchers and crafters will be drawn to the colourful Kaffe Fassett boutique with its range of fabrics and books. The Selvedge Fair returns to the Museum on Saturday 12 December and on Saturday 28 November and Sunday 29 November the Museum is hosting a Christmas craft fair. Local craftspeople will be selling their unique handmade gifts, perfect for the festive season.  Winter warming treats will be served in the Museum’s popular café.

 Christmas Craft Fair
28 and 29 November, 12noon- 4.30pm
Our Christmas Craft Fair returns with a diverse range of work on offer, from ceramics and textiles to jewellery and prints. Meet the makers, discuss their techniques, and get your Christmas shopping done in a festive atmosphere away from the bustle of town.
Free entry to the fair and parking.

Christmas Quilling Workshop
Saturday 5 December, 10am- 1pm
Make delicate paper boxes embellished with quilling decoration, perfect for presenting Christmas gifts.
£30 (£27 Museum members)

Christmas Concert: Spectra Musica
Saturday 5 December, 7-9pm
The chamber choir Spectra Musica performs a programme of American music, including early colonial settings, folk songs, sprituals, jazz, modern choral music, and carols. The choir is led by Peter Leech and accompanied by concert pianist Anita D’Attellis.
£12 (£10 Museum members)

Selvedge Winter Fair
Saturday 12 December, 12noon- 5pm
The Selvedge Winter Fair will bring to town an exclusive selection of around 30 makers offering a host of antique textiles, fashion, home-ware, and haberdashery. Whether you’re seeking some special fabric for your own creations, hunting for the perfect present, or simply looking for inspiration, the Winter Fair is the place to find it.
Adults £6, Over 60s & Students £5, Children (5-16 years) £3.50

Holiday Homecoming
Sunday 20 December, 1-4pm
Join us for a magical end to our Christmas season. Meet Father Christmas, join the choir for festive carols, and create your own frosty Christmas pop-up scene.
Drop-in, all ages.

For press images and further information, please contact: Nicky Hancock, Hancock Communications
Tel: 01225 332299

Notes to Editors
The American Museum in Britain hosts one of the finest collections of American decorative arts outside of the United States displayed in a series of Period Rooms to illustrate life for early Americans from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. The collection comprises over 200 historic American quilts, exceptional pieces of Shaker furniture, exuberant Folk Art paintings and sculptures, Native American objects, and Renaissance maps of the New World.


The Christmas season runs from Thursday 26 November to Sunday 20 December 2015
Admission: Adults £10.00, Concessions £9.00, Children £5.50, Family £27.50
Gift Aid rates available. (Please note the gardens are closed to visitors during the Christmas season)
Free parking and entrance to shops and café (serving light lunches and teas). A free shuttle bus will run from Bath city centre.
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 12noon until 4.30pm
Closed on Mondays

Claverton Manor, Bath, BA2 7BD
T: 01225 460 503 www.americanmuseum.org