Cymraeg

Here at the Mary Gillham Archive Project hub we’ve recently begun ‘timehopping’ on social media.

This involves using Mary’s detailed writings to find out what she was doing on today’s date, so many years ago, and then posting it on Twitter and Facebook (i.e. “on this date, in this year, Mary was doing this…”). It’s an interesting way to learn about Mary’s life history and see the many activities that she got up to in her day-to-day life.

A recent and particularly intriguing timehop posted on 16th October described how on that day in 1982, Mary witnessed the enormous humpback whale lying washed up on Gilestone beach at Aberthaw, near the Power Station.

This sparked the interest of many and after a twitter conversation with National Museum Cardiff it turns out that the bones of the whale are now on display at the museum, right here in Cardiff! This means that you can still visit this gigantic sea mammal today and see a part of Welsh history with your own eyes, just like Mary did.

Crowds on Aberthaw Beach

For those fortunate enough to be there in 1982 Aberthaw, the experience was an unforgettable one.

In her archive, Mary explains that it was almost “impossible to photograph the whale” due to the thousands of people congregating to get a glimpse.

The coastguard had tied the tail of the whale to a large iron post in the ground with ropes (to prevent the animal from washing back out to sea).

Mary describes how she got the chance to hold one of the whale’s gigantic flippers while Piers Langhalt, formerly of National Museum Cardiff, cut the large barnacles from the animal. These same barnacles can be found preserved at the museum, alongside the whale!

One volunteer on the Mary Gillham Archive Project, Julia Banks, recalls the “overpowering, rotting smell” of the beached whale that she witnessed as a young child. Julia visited the scene with her parents and remembers joining the masses of locals all gathering for the unusual sight, as well as seeing a group of people measuring the whale in order to figure out its age.

Julia also remembers visiting National Museum Cardiff when the skeleton was put up on display, and “feeling proud that [their] whale was in the museum”.

For more of the story and info on how the whale was managed by National Museum Cardiff, why not take a trip to the museum to see for yourself how it stands today?

 

The Mary Gillham Archive Project is a Heritage Lottery funded project at South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre
For more info about the project visit our website: https://marygillhamarchiveproject.com/the-project/

 

 

Archwilio Achau Emlyn Davies y Draper

Mae'r gwaith o ddatblygu sesiwn i blant am Siop Draper Emlyn Davies yn parhau yma yn yr Amgueddfa Wlân.

Roedd modd dechrau creu llun cyffrous o’r siop a’i  pherchennog trwy bori trwy dudalennau bywgraffiad Alan Owen: Emlyn Davies The Life & Times Of A Dowlais Draper in the first Half Of The Twentieth Century.

I ddechrau, roedd gan Richard Davies (sef enw genedigol Emlyn Davies) linach deuluol drawiadol. Roedd yn perthyn i'r Parchedig John Williams, a oedd yn bregethwr, bardd, cyfansoddwr emynau ac ysgrifwr nodedig; a John Havard a fu’n lawfeddyg ym mrwydr Waterloo.

Ar droad y ganrif ddiwethaf mae’n debyg fod y teulu yn gerddorol tu hwnt, ac yn un o’r rhai cyntaf yn yr ardal i fod yn berchen ar ‘phonograph’, sef dyfais fecanyddol i recordio sain. Mae’n debyg y deuai cymdogion a pherthnasau i fewn yn slei i gyntedd ei cartref i wrando arno!

Blynyddoedd o Eithafion

Bu 1912 i 1914 yn flynyddoedd o eithafion i’r siop a’r ardal:

1912:  Bu streic chwerw yn y gweithfeydd rhwng Mawrth 1af a diwedd Ebrill a gafodd effaith ddifrifol ar fusnesau lleol. Yna i’r gwrthwyneb yn llwyr fe siriolwyd Dowlais ddigysur gan faneri ac addurniadau lliwgar ar Fehefin 29fed pan ymwelodd y Brenin a’r Frenhines â’r dre.

Hydref 1913: Bu trychineb gwaethaf y diwydiant glo yn yr ardal sef Tanchwa Senghennydd, lle cafodd 439 o ddynion a bechgyn eu lladd.

Y stori fwya hynod ac annisgwyl efallai oedd cysylltiad y siop a storm ddifrifol a ddigwyddodd bythefnos ar ôl y digwyddiad ofnadwy hwnnw. Bu corwynt enfawr a chwythwyd a chlwyfwyd Doli - un o geffylau cludo parseli y siop, drosodd yn y gwynt!

1914: Ac ar nodyn ddwysach fyth - yr Ergyd Farwol - Y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf a’i holl erchylltra a gyffyrddodd â phob cymuned.

Rhyfeloedd Byd: Newid Byd yn Nowlais

Bu byd o newid i nifer o bobl wedi‘r rhyfel byd 1af, ac yn enwedig i ferched. Mae Miriam - Minnie fel y gelwid - merch hynaf Emlyn Davies, yn esiampl o’r effaith yma.

Yn ystod y rhyfel er ei bod hi’n astudio mewn ysgol breswyl yn Aberhonddu, fe ddychwelodd i helpu yn y siop oherwydd bod nifer o’r dynion wedi gorfod mynd i ymladd. Yna, yn 1937 wedi marwolaeth ei thad, etifeddodd y siop mewn cyfnod anodd a thywyll arall.

Fe wnaeth y rhan yma o’r stori a’i chymeriad a’i bywyd hi gynnig ei hun fel spardun i greu sesiwn ysgolion yma yn yr Amgueddfa Wlân.

O fantais hefyd oedd bod hwn yn hanes o fewn côf. Cyffrowyd fi wrth feddwl mod i’n mynd i gael cyfle i wrando ar Mr Owen yn darlunio’r siop yn ystod y cyfnod cythryblus yma.

Cwrdd â Theulu Emlyn Davies

Dyna od fel mae rhywun yn dechrau tueddu dychmygu bod cymeriad mewn ffilm, llun neu lyfr yn parhau i fod yr un oed am byth - ac wrth deithio gyda'r curadur Mark Lucas i fwthyn bach ar gyrion Castell Newydd Emlyn i gyfarfod a Alan Owen (wyr Emlyn Davies), bron i mi argyhoeddi fy hun fy mod yn mynd i weld bachgen bach gyda chapan a throwsus byr a la y 30au!

Yr hyn sydd yn arbennig am gael cyfarfod wyneb yn wyneb a phobl sydd ynghlwm â hanes fel hyn yw eich bod yn cael gwell amgyffred o bersonoliaethau. Cofiai Mr Owen ei dadcu fel person hoffus, cariadus, a charedig - ac er ei fod yn amlwg yn ddyn busnes llwyddiannus gyda chyfrifoldebau mawr yn ei waith a’i gymdeithas, roedd hi’n ddifyr i ddarganfod y berthynas a fu rhyngddynt.

Cofiai fel y deuai ei dadcu ag anrhegion yn ôl iddo fe a’i chwaer bob tro y teithiai ar hyd y wlad ar fusnes. Cofiai gael llwnc o gwrw ganddo hefyd a chael ei gwrsio rownd y cownter!

Soniodd llawer am y gymuned fel yr oedd yn blentyn - roedd llawer o Wyddelod yn byw yn yr ardal yr adeg honno ac roedd  atgofion ganddo am orymdeithiau lliwgar ‘Corpus Christi’yn Dowlais.

Bu Mr Owen a’i chwaer ‘fach’ Mrs .Joan Preston (trwy ebost) yn garedig tu hwnt yn rhannu nifer o’u hatgofion o’r siop yn ystod y rhyfel pan fu eu mham Miriam Owen (Minnie) yn rhedeg y siop – ond eto mwy am hyn yn y blog nesaf!

Y gamp nesaf fydd cwtogi yn ofalus hanes hanner cant o flynyddoedd y siop i script 45 munud!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The time has come to announce the winners of our creative writing competition...

The challenge was to write a short story inspired by our exhibition Treasures: Adventure in Archaeology. Our writers were inspired by the ancient Egyptian mummy on display, as well as the beautiful Dolgellau Chalice. You have until 30 October to see them for yourselves - so hurry! Grab your tickets here.

Here are our three winning entries: click on the title to download them and get reading. Congratulations to our winners and runners up!

First Prize:

The Falcon's Curse, Eleanor Thorne

Second Prize:

The Chalice of Dolgellau, Theo Singh

Third Prize:

A Mummy at Night, Amy Wintle

Thanks to everyone who sent in a story, or who called by our art and craft activities - we've loved looking at each and every one of your creative works.

This week’s Youth Forum again made me think about museums and what they can do, and how they should be, in a different way.

While looking at art from the First World War had at times been a sensory overload, this time we were trying to understand what it would be like to come to a museum without one specific sense fully intact. How to make museum exhibits more accessible for the partially sighted?

Having always gone to museums with my sight in (near enough) tip top condition, I and probably others tended to presume it was a pretty necessary requirement. If I had trouble seeing the paintings/sculptures/artefacts, then I don’t think I’d want to go. Because if seeing is believing, and I couldn’t see what I was supposed to be learning about, then surely I wouldn’t learn very much and would end up feeling quite left out, even though this obviously shouldn’t be the case.

And it doesn’t have to be! The paintings and sculptures that we looked up were a bit of a mix, ones that more well-known and some that were completely new. Among the ideas that we came up with, for example, involved the painting Bad News, by James Tissot, incorporating the playing of military marching music alongside the painting to evoke the solemnity and sorrow of leaving your family to go off and fight in another corner of the world.

Similarly, for Entrance to Cardiff Docks by Lionel Walden, lighting effects could imitate the lights of the port and the surrounding buildings, with sound effects of ships coming into port, water slapping against the quay, sailors shouting to each other. We could have smells to add to the experience (although maybe not the fish!). Instead of rough sailors accompanying Manet’s San Maggiore by Twilight, it would be the gentle, joyful peel of Italian church bells.

In front of a painting of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, Thomas Apperly and Edward Hamilton by Pompeo Batoni there could be a table with the objects and chairs laid out exactly as they are in the picture, as if the subjects had just finished the sitting and left only a few moments ago. David Nash’s intriguing sculpture Multi-Cut Column could have smaller imitations made of it, that people could actually pass around and touch, something rarely allowed in any exhibit. 

I realise there would be some technical issues in making sure it wasn’t distracting or taking away from the other exhibits, and that maybe not all these ideas will actually become a finished product, but I hope that at least some of them do work out. Because who wouldn’t want to experience this? It might be a bit like theatre, the art being brought to life, stepping into the painting. While I’m definitely thankful I’m not visually impaired in any way, I’m also thankful I took the time to try and understand the experience of those who are. 
 

  • Our next Audio Description Tour will take place on 8 December and will be of our Natural History collections.

On the weekend of the 17th and 18th of September, Cardiff celebrated Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday with The City of the Unexpected - a weekend extravaganza of theatre, performance, participatory events and storytelling.

National Museum Cardiff was just one of the venues across the city which transformed itself in honour of Dahl’s weird and wonderful world. We created a ‘Museum of the Unexpected’, with twenty-five strange surprises scattered throughout the galleries. From upside-down paintings to a dinosaur tea party, visitors got the chance to see the displays as never before.

photograph of an art gallery with one painting hung upside down

Just one of the 25 surprises to be discovered in our galleries

The sight of people exploring the exhibits in search of the next silly scenario was something to behold, and we got great feedback on social media with the #UnexpectedCity tag.

On Saturday, we played host to a huge theatrical performance in the Main Hall, complete with snowball fights, lots of dancing and an appearance by the elusive Mr Fox! Our family learning work placement trainees also ran one of their great music and art workshops, and there was even a chance for visitors to display their own work next to the masterpieces in our art galleries.

photograph of visitor artworks in frame in art gallery

Visitor artworks hanging in our art gallery

On Sunday, the museum hosted Roald Dahl readings by secret celebrities. Daniel Glyn read from ‘James and the Giant Peach’ in our Wriggle exhibition, while Johnny Ball attracted crowds to the Clore Discovery Centre for his rendition of ‘The BFG’. Those in the Reardon Smith Lecture theatre were treated to a double reading by Blue Peter presenter Lindsey Russell and actress/politician/children’s TV legend Floella Benjamin.

Check out the Storify story below to see more pictures and feedback from what was a magical weekend.

 

If all that has put you a Roald Dahl mood, why not visit Quentin Blake: Inside Stories, an exhibition on Dahl's most famous illustrator?