Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the hilltop site of the Museum’s home, Claverton Manor, takes full advantage of the spectacular views over the Limpley Stoke Valley and River Avon and is set on 125 acres of green, rolling topography.
The gardens recently underwent a substantial refurbishment with the famous Washington DC based landscape architectural firm Oehme, van Sweden (OvS), as part of their first European commission. They created a cinematic series of American-themed gardens and landscape exhibits using a free-form style made famous by the firm’s founders, Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden. The gardens now represent some of the most iconic movements in American landscape design, such as the gardens at Mount Vernon and Monticello; Frederick Law Olmsted and Jens Jensen-inspired parklands; and landscape installations devoted to contemporary garden design. This has extended the experience of American culture and history beyond the doors of the museum through the use of architectural features and plants from the United States to evoke the aesthetic of American landscape design over the centuries.
In addition to the newly renovated gardens, remnants of the old Italianate style manorial pleasure gardens and parkland, dating from the 1820s, can be seen within the grounds, including period features such as the grotto, the balustrade and curtain walling, as well as ornamental stonework.
The grounds now include the New American Garden, Mount Vernon – which is a replica from George Washington’s famous house outside of Washington, DC – a dell, an arboretum, amphitheatre and children’s garden along with a wilderness trail and parklands for further exploration.