The American Museum in Britain

A Great Day Out at The American Museum

Weather wise it’s gone dull and rather cold in comparison to last week. Brrrrr! I’m sure you’re suffering similar where you are, well not Gwilym and Laurie in Tawian but anyone here in the UK.

The best thing to do in my opinion is get yourself up and out and go and visit A Place Of Interest. I had delightful visitors staying with me for the Jeremy Hardy comedy gig of which more here and on the basis of we’ve never been there, let’s do it, we took ourselves on a merry jaunt to the American Museum up at Claverton Manor.

Super super super! You must visit! It’s great and well worth the admission price. (Mum, next time you are up we will go…there’s loads to see and I only took in a small amount and would love to go again) the house and surrounds are very beautiful.

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So you start downstairs in the basement for a timeline of important events in American history which gives you a good base of knowledge for the rest of the museum which is organised chronologically throughout the rest of the house. You are encouraged to interact right from the get go with a guessing game of what the use of various implements is. This was particularly enjoyable and makes you think and work it out for yourself rather than just relying on remembering large tracts of texts. It’s a much more effective way of learning. For example, I shall be saving my corn cob husks and drying them out in the event that I run out of toilet roll. As well as a serious crop for all sorts of reasons, maize husks are not just thrown away or given to animals when their food use has been used up. No, they make effective, if not comfortable loofahs of the arse! If you’re worried about next visiting me…bring your own bog roll please!

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It’s bizarre but great fun that the curators of the museum have built into the lovely Claverton Manor, room sets as they would have appeared in an American household. Ive seen this done at purpose built places of interest, never in a house such as this one but it works wonderfully and it’s an impressive contrast to the rest of the very elegant manor which reminds you to not take for granted what we now prize as dwellings.

In Conkey’s tavern we learned where the term ‘bar’ came from and were delighted and bemused to know that many of the actual features of the tavern came from the actual real Conkey’s Tavern in USA. Oh yeah…. You want to know why bar is the word we use in reference to pubs? It’s obvious when you think on it. Alcohol was set behind bars in order to keep it safe. Here’s a bad picture from the pamphlet they give you. I’m not into reproducing images without permission but this is to get more people to go to the American Museum so hopefully they will look kindly on its use here. You can just about see what I mean about the bars at the end of the large dresser. Also the term ‘you’re barred’ now becomes obvious as over zealous drinkers would literally be barred from being able to reach the alcohol.

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Okay I’m off to get a cup of tea and to start making my supper. I’ll publish this bit now for fear of losing it in the ether and will write more when I get back.

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