Frequently Asked Questions
Why is there an American Museum here?
The Museums’ founders, Dallas Pratt and John Judkyn, wanted to show the achievements of Americans in the decorative arts and to promote Anglo-American understanding. They had a summer house in the Bath area, so when Claverton Manor came on the market in 1958 the decision was made to transform it into the American Museum in Britain. We opened our doors for the first time on 1 July 1961.
Why do I have to pay to see the Museum?
The American Museum is a registered UK charity and non-profit organisation. Its mission is to ‘educate, stimulate, and inspire its visitors in order to further the understanding of American history and culture’. As an independent museum, it receives no government funds or tax revenues. Entrance fees help to pay for the upkeep of the Museum’s collections, buildings, and grounds, as well as help the Museum to fulfil its mission.
Can I get to the Museum by public transport?
Yes, the nearest railway station is Bath Spa. There are always taxis available outside the train station and it takes approximately 15 minutes. Buses also run from Bath city centre. Take the U1 or U2 (First Bus) or U17 or U18 (Wessex Star) to the University, alight at The Avenue just inside the University entrance, the Museum is a ten to fifteen minute downhill walk from the bus stop. You can also use our free Shuttle Bus service.
Why is the Museum not open until midday?
As a registered charity we are keen to offer educational programmes to visiting school and adult groups. We commence these programmes in the mornings so they disrupt the public visiting hours as little as possible.
How long should I allow for my visit?
We suggest that you should allow at least three hours to visit all areas of the Museum, including the grounds.
Are dogs welcome?
Well behaved dogs, on a lead, are welcome in the Museum grounds. Assistance dogs are permitted in all public areas. Please clear up after your dog in all areas of the Museum’s grounds, parkland, arboretum, and trails.
Is the Museum wheelchair friendly?
All of the Museum buildings are fully accessible via ramps and a lift is fitted within the main Museum building. The slope of the property, however, makes wheelchair access into parts of the grounds difficult.
Can I take photographs?
Photography and filming for personal use are allowed, unless a sign indicates otherwise. Flash photography and tripods are not permitted.
Can I picnic in the grounds?
You are welcome picnic in the grounds during opening hours. We ask you to respect the beauty of the grounds and to remove all rubbish when you leave. Picnickers may not use the Café or terrace tables as these are reserved for Café service. There is a designated picnic area near the Café in the Undercroft.
Is the Museum licensed for weddings?
Since May 2011 the newly refurbished Coach House and Stables are licensed for civil wedding ceremonies. These buildings can be hired for both wedding and reception or reception only.
Are you open all year? Can we arrange to visit when you are closed?
The Museum’s season runs mid-March to end-October. The Christmas season runs from mid-November to mid-December. During the closed period (early November and mid-December to mid-March) there is a great deal of work going on behind the scenes, so unfortunately there are no visits permitted during this period.
Are pushchairs, baby backpacks, rucksacks, and mobility scooters allowed in the Museum?
Some internal doorways within Claverton Manor are narrow (70cm) and there are tight turns at some points in the visitor route. In order to ensure the safety of our visitors and collections, mobility scooters and very large electric wheelchairs are not allowed within the Manor. Please contact us before visiting if you’d like advice about whether we can accommodate your electric wheelchair. Manual wheelchairs are available to borrow at Reception.
We accommodate single-width pushchairs throughout the Museum. Unfortunately double buggies are too wide for the narrow doorways in the Museum, so we will ask you to leave these at Reception. Baby pouches and ‘hippy-chicks’ are available to borrow. Please note that some areas of the grounds are steep and not suitable for pushchairs.
Baby-changing facilities are situated in the Exhibition Gallery, and breast-feeding is welcome throughout.
Is the Museum child friendly?
The Museum is very child and baby friendly; the Café has high chairs available, and there are baby-changing facilities in the Exhibition Gallery toilets.
Why have an American Museum in Britain?
Video explaining why the American Museum in Britain is an important addition to our cultural landscape.