The American Museum at Claverton Manor in Bath is 50 years old this year and is celebrating the event by bringing some of their collection of quilts to Christies in London.
This will of course attract a wide audience, especially at this time of year when the Musuem is closed. However, anyone interested should later make the journey to Claverton on the outskirts of Bath, just 100 miles down the M4 later in the year, otherwise they are missing a treat.
I credit my visits to Claverton Manor as the beginning of my patchwork and quilting journey. Before the early 70s, it was difficult to find anything written about patchwork and quilting and only the WI (Women's Institute) had kept the flag flying. However they only seemed to do pieced hexagons over papers and I had found that boring and had given up. Just one visit to Claverton changed my perception and I realised that there was diversity in the craft and I have never looked back.
Though the permanent collection of quilts was the main attraction, the Manor itself and its grounds are delightful giving us a taste of American history in room settings and tableaux form. There are buildings in the grounds filled with folk art and in recent years an exhibition gallery has been built in which there used to be an annual exhibition of quilts.
Sadly this policy has changed and now there are exhibitions of other artifacts. This surely must have meant a drop in their visitor numbers, because I for one rarely visit now. Quilts bring in the punters and I do long for a change of policy! Bring back the annual quilt exhibition I say! I have written to the museum to this effect but had no reply!