Wednesday, 12 October 2016

For Joanne


Up on a hill just outside Bath called Claverton Down, we have a big country house which has been turned into The American Museum, sometime around 1961. Their website is too clever (or I am too stupid) for its own good, so I cannot link it here. I just took Thomas to see it.

The creators scoured all over the USA for the exhibits, bringing back the original rooms from many derelict houses and rebuilding them in the rooms of the house here.

The first - and my favourite - room dates from around 1670, and is packed with mainly English artefacts which were brought over by the original settlers, then brought home again. Even the floor boards and ceiling timbers are included.

There is one room which was a young lady's from Louisiana, and you can almost here the Southern accent in the dark brown woodwork and heavy, red flock wallpaper which covers it. Her father was a plantation owner from around 1870.

There is one room devoted to the home industries such as done by the Shaker families, and this is a wooden loom - made in America from American wood.

I thought Joanne Norrigan might like to see it.

15 comments:

  1. Ah Tomas. I was wondering what had happened to him. I wonder why you have an American museum in Somerset; it seems oddly out of place or did I miss something. Joanne will like the loom.

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    1. It seems odd to me too. The place was opened by two men, and one of them was American. Other than that, I don't know why.

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  2. The weaver started a nice piece of work, and left in despair; the tourists won't stop touching the working parts of the loom. The harnesses are all ajar, and whoever got out that large loop of warp from the lease sticks should be hanged in the yarn.
    It well may be a Shaker loom; I see the maker may have left a signature on one of the upright cross members. Thank you for the little tour. You know the colonists were not permitted to bring any means of manufacture of cloth; the guilds in England were afraid of competition and wanted the market to remain intact, with their old customers across the sea. I won't go into the rest of it.

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    1. That is good information for me to go on, as my German friend would say.

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  3. Joanne's addendum to your piece makes really interesting reading Tom. I do love these old room re-creations that good museums do these days.

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    1. Each room is within a larger room, so they have fake windows with fake daylight behind. One of the rooms has a stuffed Red Squirrel on the other side of the glass.

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  4. Oh, just in time to remind me of the beautiful pink scarf that Joanne weaved for me - I will rummage through the "winter-chests" which have to be brought down because it is getting cold here in Berlin.

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    1. I have nice cotton tea-towels made by her. They could be Shaker.

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    2. They are Shaker; a clever pattern they devised to absorb maximum moisture. Too bad they didn't bother to have children.

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  5. I have never visited The American Museum, I really should when I'm back.

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    1. It is well worth a visit, but - as Rachel says - it is a strange thing to have in Somerset. Oh well, the Lake District has a pencil museum.

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  6. Did you take any more pictures?

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  7. I've seen photos of the museum... some fabulous old quilts in there.

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    1. Yes, they have racks of quilts and some of them are from the 1960s - made by hippies, I guess. Women making American quilts was all the rage here in the early 1970s.

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