I’ve been wanting to go to the American Museum in Bath for ages. It’s the only American museum located outside of the United States, and as an American living in the UK, I feel it my duty to patronise it! I finally got around to going one sunny summer Sunday afternoon.
The museum is located on an estate that’s passed through many hands. The building you see now is an 1840s rebuild of a manor house from 1340! The museum itself was founded by two antique collectors, one English and the other American, in the 1960s. Since then it has become the largest collection of American historical objects outside of the US!
There are two floors absolutely covered with American historical artifacts and information, starting with information about the early European settlers and ending with more recent settlement in the West. The best parts, in my opinion, are the extensive sections on Native American history, especially in the Western US, and a section on religion in 1800s New Mexico. You can also walk through several recreations of typical American rooms through time, and dress up like colonial people.
After walking through the museum, don’t leave! The best part is truly the grounds, which hold lots of little treats for the adventurous at heart- those who are much like the original American settlers heading west.
Make sure to stop by the cafe for a traditional English tea and scone to fuel the next chapter in your American adventure. Don’t worry, it may be a departure in food and drink from American tradition, but in keeping with our culture, it ain’t nothin too fancy. (But is very delicious!)
Want a little tour of the grounds? Follow me!
You can walk for hours around the museum, the grounds are fairly extensive, and each part aligns with a piece of American history. There’s an apple orchard, an old teepee and a section dedicated to good ol’ Lewis and Clark. There’s also a beautiful garden designed after Washington’s at his home in Mt. Vernon, not far from my hometown, DC.
I loved every minute of the museum, from the exhibits to the walks through the grounds. It may not be the American History Museum, but it’s the closest you’ll get outside of the US, and that’s good enough for me.