Work Experience at the National Roman Legion Museum.

Lois Davidson, 17 July 2024

Zoe and I completed a work experience week with the Museum. This is my diary of the week. 

Day 1: 

To begin the week, Zoe and I were able to work with Verdun, the Learning Officer, and shadow him whilst he took a primary school class on what the museum calls a ‘Walk with the Romans’, around the Amphitheatre and Barracks. It was clear to me throughout this experience that the children were gaining interest in the presence of Romans in Welsh history, whilst being given the opportunity to dress up in Roman tunics, with shields and wooden swords, and impersonate soldiers charging into battle. The sheer sense of enjoyment from not only the children, but the teachers as well, was clear to me, which I purely believe was a result of the massive amount of enthusiasm and obvious passion for their work shown by the staff involved in providing this experience. By the end of Day 1, I could safely say that I had gained more knowledge of the Romans impact on Welsh history than I ever had in my 17 years of living, along with the ability to understand how to engage with a large audience and maintain their full attention for a long duration of time.

Day 2: 

As my desired career involves marketing, I was given the opportunity to work with Kathryn, the Digital Learning Officer and understand how she advertises the different workshops, events, and exhibits the museum hosts through its website and social media. To begin, Kathryn talked us through the different apps that are used to create digital content to advertise the museum. I was able to create a twitter post for the museum’s twitter account in order to advertise their ‘Roman Classroom’, which is an online teaching platform that involves a ‘costumed facilitator’ explaining all different areas of Roman history. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the different methods that are used in order to advertise and market the Museum online, and encourage more to get involved, and immerse themselves in the Roman history that exists in Wales.

Day 3:

For day 3, we spent the day shadowing Dai, Visitor Experience Supervisor. He talked us through what is required of us in order to ensure that visitors are provided with the best experience possible. I was surprised by the sheer number of visitors the museum has every day, whether it is families, school trips, or tourists, whilst also picking up the knowledge of how to supervise and maintain order within the museum.  

Day 4: 

We spent the day with Mark, Senior Curator of Roman Archaeology. We were given the opportunity to photograph artifacts in order to update the museum’s records and provide photos for the website so people can study online.  As well as using the advanced set up to photograph the artifacts, Mark also trusted us enough to handle the objects like a Roman brooch, lioness ornament, and a tile antefix, which was an especially interesting new experience. Along with this I was able to gain knowledge of the stories behind the different artifacts and what they symbolize at the time. After recording the descriptions, accession numbers, and other important information, Zoe and I were able to record that we were the ones that photographed the artifacts, which will then be uploaded for anyone to see.

Day 5: 

I was able to spent some time with Rosie, Commercial Marketing Officer and she gave me amazing advice on steps I can take in order to achieve my career in marketing. As a result, I have gained a contact in the industry I aspire to become a part of, and this is something I would never have been able to attain if it weren't for this work experience, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Lastly, I would like to express how much I appreciate all the opportunities and experiences this museum has provided me with and how much it will benefit me going forward, and Michelle, Engagement & Volunteer Coordinator, who has been a big factor of my experience here, continuing to welcome Zoe and I every morning and seeing us out every afternoon, and ensuring we are given as many amazing experiences as possible. 

I’ve also been inspired to volunteer – and I now volunteer at my local National Trust Property. 

Creating the ‘Museums Inspiring Memories: Supporting visitors affected by dementia’ training package – a collaborative approach

Gareth Rees and Fi Fenton, 10 July 2024

As part of Museums Inspiring Memories, our 3-year partnership project with Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, we have been working in collaboration with the dementia community across Wales to develop a training package that will help staff - in Amgueddfa Cymru and across the heritage sector - to support people affected by dementia who visit our museums.  

This blog provides a snapshot of the collaborative approach that we have taken over the last 18 months, to develop and pilot our staff training resource, culminating in our launch of the training package at St Fagans on 2 May 2024.  

Our consultations with the dementia community 

From the very start of our project, we have aimed to ensure that the personal experiences of those affected by dementia are at the forefront of our work. 

During the first year (between December 2022 and March 2023), we hosted 30 consultations across Wales, inviting people living with dementia, their carers and supporters, heritage sector colleagues and professionals from representative organisations, to take part.

These events took place at our museums, in community venues and in care and health settings. 270 people joined us, and their contributions to the conversation formed the basis from which we began to shape the contents of our training package. During these consultations, we structured conversations with a set of questions which aimed to elicit people’s experience of engaging with museums. We asked:  

What stops people affected by dementia from engaging with museums, their collections and online resources? 

What care and support needs might there be at our sites? 

How could we improve access for people affected by dementia? 

What training needs are there for both carers/care staff and heritage sector staff/volunteers? 

Developing the staff training package

Using the information gathered from these consultations, we developed a potential structure for our training package, capturing people’s thoughts and experiences into 5 broad themes: ‘Introduction’, ‘What is dementia’, ‘The barriers and worries of the community’, ‘Being supportive’ and ‘Opportunities and further information’. Under each theme, we developed sub-headings to describe the information that would be included in each section.

Refining the staff training package

Having created a potential ‘draft’ structure, we developed the training package through further community engagements and conversations, and it became a focus during our meetings with the Dementia Voice in Heritage Group.

The Dementia Voice in Heritage Group (also known as ‘DViHG’) is our project’s steering group.  The DViHG is made up of people living with dementia, carer partners, paid carers, support workers, colleagues from allied organisations (such as the Alzheimer’s Society) and colleagues from Amgueddfa Cymru and other heritage sector organisations. We meet in person or online every two months, and we structure our meetings so that everyone can contribute to and shape the development of central aspects of our work. In October and December 2023 we dedicated our DViHG meetings to the development of the staff training package.

The contributions of DViHG members to the training package have been valuable and considerable. Group members have talked about their own positive experiences of visiting museums, the importance and value of museums for people living with dementia, and the things that museum staff might need to know in order to support people living with dementia. They told us about the importance for people living with dementia of being helped to feel safe, valued and welcomed:

Whilst someone might come away from the museum not remembering all the details, they may remember the feeling that they experienced during the visit”  Person living with dementia 

Finally, they emphasized the importance of involving people affected by dementia in delivering the staff training.

Our Pilot staff training sessions: Testing our training package out with colleagues

Having incorporated the valuable contributions of the DViHG group into the staff training package, we then elicited further the thoughts of our colleagues at Amgueddfa Cymru, across a range of departments. For instance, we consulted with the Learning Department during a divisional training day, and met with Front-of-House teams at both National Waterfront and National Museum Cardiff.  

These conversations were important to gauge people’s understanding about the needs of visitors affected by dementia (some staff told us that they felt they were lacking in knowledge about dementia) and to assess how confident people felt about supporting people affected by dementia (some staff said they were worried that they might ‘say something wrong’).  From these discussions, we refined the content further and developed a 2-hour training session. 

We have now piloted the training session at three of our museums: St Fagans National Museum of History, the National Slate Museum and National Wool Museum, with members from across the Learning, Maintenance, Crafts, Front-of-House and Catering teams taking part, and we have received positive feedback from these.

Launching the training package

On the 2nd May at St Fagans National Museum of History, we formally launched the training package. We invited people that we have been working with over the last eighteen months, including Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, a member of DViHG and a member from our project board, to talk about their experiences of contributing to the development of the training session.

29 people attended the launch, to hear these inspiring presentations and to learn about how the work has developed in partnership with the community. The training package aims to explore what we, in our different roles across the heritage sector, can do to make any visit a positive experience for those affected by dementia. It will now be made available to anyone within the heritage sector, whether as a starting point to beginning their journey to becoming more dementia-supportive or as a complement to what is already happening.

Whilst people affected by dementia have not yet been involved in delivering the pilot training sessions, we are currently working with our partners who have been involved in creating it, and we are planning how to support them in hosting, leading and / or contributing to our future training sessions.

As our project progresses over the next year, we will continue to work collaboratively and to ensure that the dementia voice is at the heart of what we do.

If you’re from a heritage sector organization and are interested in how we have developed our training offer, would like to find out more about using the package in your setting, or are a person affected by dementia with an interest in supporting these sessions at our museums, please don’t hesitate to contact us by email  or phone 02920 573 418.


Uncovering new species

Kate Mortimer-Jones & Teresa Darbyshire, 8 July 2024

Amgueddfa Cymru scientists discover new species from South Africa and the UK

We’ve recently been working on an exciting project between Amgueddfa Cymru and scientists from Iziko Museums of South Africa and Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and we’ve uncovered several new species of marine bristle worms.

The project started in 2023, funded by a Royal Society International Exchanges Grant which enabled us to collaborate on this important, but less well-known, group of animals.

Of all the life in our oceans, marine bristle worms, or polychaetes to give them their scientific name, may not be the first that spring to mind. However, they play a vital role in the health of our oceans, and are an important food source for many other animals. So, while many people might not know much about them, it’s important that we discover more about them - and how many species there are. Whilst the name ‘worm’ doesn’t necessarily conjure images of beautiful species, we like to think that many marine bristle worms are genuinely ornate and magnificent.

Sadly, despite their importance, we don’t even know how many species are out there, although globally, there are at least 12,000 different species! That’s where Amgueddfa Cymru scientists step in. We, Dr Teresa Darbyshire and Katie Mortimer-Jones, are specialists in marine bristle worms and have been working with two scientists, Dylan Clarke and Dr Jyothi Kara, from South Africa on a project to try and untangle the identity of some of the marine bristle worms.

Although surveys have been done for the last two centuries, you may be surprised to know that we’re still finding new species in the UK. Similarly, whilst there was much work done around South Africa in the 1950s and 1960s by the University of Cape Town, recent evidence suggests that there may be in excess of five hundred unnamed, and yet-to-be discovered, marine bristle worm species in the region. With this in mind, we as a team of scientists embarked on a project to investigate marine bristle worms in both regions to see if some of this underestimated biodiversity could be uncovered. Dylan and Jyothi travelled over to National Museum Cardiff in May 2023 and we visited Iziko Museum of South Africa in June.

Museum collections are an essential part of work like this, as they’re an unique record of species and habitats present at any particular time. They enable scientists to be able to compare similar specimens to see if they’re from one or more species. So, as a team, we didn’t have to stray far from our museums to find what we were looking for. 

We were busy throughout 2023 taking images, making drawings, and describing the new species that we’d uncovered. One of the most exciting parts of the project was to decide on names for the new species. We settled on: 

1) Magelona ekapa, a species of shovel head worm from the Western Cape, which gets its name from the Xhosa word eKapa, meaning ‘coming from the Cape’
2) Arabella ampulliformis, from Devon, which gets its name from the word ampulliform, describing a flask-shaped part of the worm and 
3) Arabella umgazanae, which were collected from the coast south of the Mngazana (formerly known as the Umgazana) river in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

We enjoyed sharing initial results at the 14th International Polychaete Conference in Stellenbosch in July 2023, and the full results have just been published in two peer-reviewed scientific papers in the journal African Zoology. The papers provide identification keys for several groups of marine bristle worms in Southern Africa, and in-depth descriptions of multiple species. Hopefully this will mean further new species can be uncovered by providing detailed comparisons of animals, as well as promoting accurate identification of animals in both countries. 

One of the important reasons that Welsh scientists study species, both at home and further afield, is to understand the distribution of each species. It also helps us to recognise that if a new species is discovered in a region, is it truly new to science, or perhaps a non-native species which has been artificially transported around the world? If these are invasive species, they can cause a detrimental effect, so we need to know as early as possible. This will be especially important with climate change. 

So, next time you step on to the beach, think about the wonderful marine bristle worms beneath your feet and the important role they play in keeping our oceans healthy – and also remember the scientists at Amgueddfa Cymru working hard to help discover and protect them.

By Kate Mortimer-Jones and Teresa Darbyshire

To find out more, visit:

Untangling the Magelonidae (Annelida: Polychaeta) of southern Africa, including the description of a new species: African Zoology: Vol 0, No 0 (

Redescription of Arabella iricolor (Montagu, 1804) with descriptions of two new species from the United Kingdom and South Africa: African Zoology: Vol 0, No 0 (

Visit from Collège Galilée de La Salvetat Saint Gilles

Liam Doyle, 26 June 2024

We were recently visited by a group of students from Collège Galilée de La Salvetat Saint Gilles in the south of France. They visited The Art of the Selfie exhibition and then explored the rest of the museum. Upon returning home to France, several of the students wrote about their trip and were kind enough to send us their work. Read on for the thoughts of Théo, Lilou, Elisha and Ambre in their own words.


The National Museum of Cardiff is situated in the city centre. If you want an immersive experience which mix all types of art you must visit the National Museum! 

We are French students from Collège Galilée in La Salvetat St Gilles in the South of the France. We are a group of 21 pupils and we take part of the LCE class (Langue et Culture Européenne) in the final year of our secondary school. We had the chance to travel to Swansea, Cardiff and Bristol for one week and visit this museum during this school trip.

The ephemeral exhibition The Art Of The Selfie, is a great experience. We experienced an emotionally-charged universe. When you arrived in the room you’re plunged in obscurity where only the pieces of art are illuminated. You can see many self-portraits  such as Van Gogh, the atypical work of Anya Painstil.

The visit on Wednesday 15th May 2024 to the National Museum of Cardiff was incredible, it was interesting and wonderful. There were a lot of different exhibitions with all types of art it’s perfect for had a good moment in family or friends. I think my favourite piece of art is The Bard because its feeling about liberty.


I loved the visit of National Museum, the pieces of art are so beautiful. I really enjoyed the part on the first floor and the part about the sea animals.

On the first floor the pieces of art were so well organized, I really enjoyed this part of the museum. My favourite piece of art is Running Away with the Hairdresser by Kevin Sinnott. This piece of art is so powerful, it’s recounting a love story, sad where one of the people in the relationship is escaping. This piece of art is so  charged with emotion and it’s showing the need to escape routine.


Personally, I found that visit really interesting and the works of art were wonderful and their signification were very touching. I particularly liked The Art of the Selfie exhibition. The artists who made their self-portraits have an incredible creative mind. The self-portrait I liked the most was the one of Van Gogh.


I really appreciate the National Museum of Cardiff it was varied in the types of art. This was a unbelievable experience, the museum was so big.

I loved the exhibitions, the museum was a little avant garde and very rewarding. If you are curious about Welsh culture, go to the museum.

The museum takes us on a journey through time, with works dating from prehistoric times to the modern era.

In summary, The National Museum of Cardiff is more than just a museum, it is a fascinating journey through art, history and science.

Remember, if you would like to book a trip to the museum, visit the booking page for more information. We offer a range of interactive workshops for all ages that can be adapted for groups who are learning English. Find more information here.

Spring Bulbs For Schools Report

Penny Dacey, 24 June 2024

Hi Bulb Buddies,

I've attached the end of year report documents to the right of this post. 

Take a look at them to see how this year's results compared to those of previous years. The UK wide report goes back to 2012 and the Wales report goes back to 2005!

I've also uploaded a list of all of this years fun Kahoot quizzes. Why not have a go and see how good you are at interpreting the data shown. You can re-take the quizzes as many times as you like to see how much you've learnt. 

Here are some facts from the UK report, there are many more!

  • Our findings show that plants flowered latest in Scotland.
  • This is only the second year where crocus plants flowered earlier than daffodils.
  • The average flowering date for the crocus and daffodils combined has only been earlier in 2019 and 2020.
  • We had the warmest February of our investigation.
  • The MET Office stated that February 2024 was the second warmest February on record for the UK in a series dating back to 1884. 
  • 2024 saw the lowest hours of sunshine since our project began. 

Thank you to all the schools who contributed to the investigation by sharing their weather and flower data to the Amgueddfa Cymru website. 

Fantastic work!

Professor Plant