Amgueddfa Blog: General

Nearing the four-month mark since I stepped into National Museum Wales for the first day of my Professional Training Year (PTY) placement from Cardiff University, my goal of achieving new experiences in the world of marine invertebrate research is definitely underway. This is now taking form in the way of the Magelonidae, the shovelhead worms, a family of polychaetes with many unanswered questions hovering around them in regards to their ecology, taxonomy and behaviour.

Through starting with live observations in the museum lab in July of Magelona alleni, a rather chunky species of magelonid, my project has developed into some exciting discoveries regarding not only the feeding of these amazing worms, but also how they poo, hence the title of the blog post! As boring as worm defecation sounds, this is not the case when you watch how these amazing animals decide to actually get rid of their dinner (there will be more about the details of this in my next blog post when we have finished working on this interesting behaviour).

These findings have led me down a road of using many new techniques to be able to present my work in a professional and scientific manner. This includes scientific drawing using a camera lucida attachment on a microscope, photography in the way of time-lapse captures, film and image stacking, image editing, reviewing relevant literature, statistical analysis, dissection and SEM (scanning electron microscopy) to name but a few.

In addition to these skills I have learnt much about day to day tasks the museum carries out, including learning methods of curation for an impressive collection of marine invertebrates, holding over 750,000 specimens and having the opportunity to partake in sampling trips to collect more animals for the further development of my project and other projects around the museum. I have also settled into the role of tank maintenance for not only the shovelhead worms, but also some of our resident anemones, hermit crabs, starfish, sea potatoes and prawns. I have even tried my hand at outreach on one of the museum’s stands during the evening event ‘After Dark at the Museum’ with Cardiff University, which saw nearly 2000 people (mainly families) enjoy a hands on experience.

One crucial advantage that I feel I have obtained over these last few months is that I am starting to enjoy a great appreciation for the diversity of life in our seas, from the very tiny, such as organisms like diatoms and foraminiferans to the impressively large, like the young humpback whale skeleton on display in the museum, which I get the pleasure of walking past most days. All in all, my experiences so far have been beyond valuable and who knows what the next few months of research here will bring.

Find out more about how I got on when I first started at the museum

We've had a great few days at the museum, being half term we created lots of different art activities for visitrs to try in the 'Who Decides' exhibition. People created monsters and put them on sticks and took photos of their favourite things in the gallery.

Visitors made monsters and photgrpahed them with tehir favourite art

Inspired by the sculpture they made sculptures from pipe cleaners. The Besson ceramics collection let people be creative by making their own designs on plates. The visitors really enjoyed taking part and we had a great time to, talking about the art we've chosen with visitors.

sculptures from pipecleaners

There was a (nice!) mess on the floor afterwards but Mike did a great job clearing up!

A happy mess!

If you took part dont forget to share your photos on social media using #wallichXart

Visitors to the exhibition have left some great messages

There will be lots more events and activities happening in the gallery over the coming months. Check our events web page for more information.

Hi Everyone! Uri Guide Dog here, the new doggie bloggist taking over from my big bro Arnie, who’s now retired. I’ve been getting to know National Museum Cardiff very well as it’s one of my mum’s favourite places EVER!

We went to the Museum’s audio tour about Victorian art recently. The paintings and sculptures were beautifully described by the human guides. I was listening intently, even if it did look like I was having a little snooze next to mum. That’s just my listening face.

Anyway I had the chance to meet up with a few colleagues, Guide Dogs Ruby and Alfie, who were also keeping their two-leggeds safe. But we were surprised to find other dogs at the Museum!

I should have known something was up as soon as I arrived… Outside, after a doggie relief moment, I bumped into a colourful dog just sitting on the grass! A beauty, too! I couldn’t believe my luck! But she didn't respond to my waggy tail or my friendly bow. Rude, I thought, but I took a sneaky selfie anyway. Then, inside, I was even more surprised to find a whole pack of multi-coloured pups! I met Oakly, Abi, Smileosaur, Percy and Doris.

Mum explained these are ‘Snowdogs’, and that just like me these are helping dogs too. Except they are made of fiberglass, not fur. They have been made as part of an appeal to help Tŷ Hafan, the children’s hospice in Wales. These sculptural dogs have been decorated by local artists, schools and community groups, and you can follow the Snowdogs: Tails in Wales trail to find them all around Cardiff and the Vale!

As we sat next to the dogs a little girl came up to say hello. She gave me a cuddle and said she was from Marlborough Primary School and had actually helped decorate Percy the pup! Everyone in her class had put a fingerprint on a red background to create a flower pattern on their dog. She was very proud of their work. I told her Percy is PAW-SOME. He really is.

Apparently the Snowdog was chosen because it features in a film, based on a character created by Raymond Briggs. The Snowdog helps a boy deal with the loss of his pet dog by taking him on a magical adventure.

The pack of Snowdogs are going to be sold at auction after the public exhibition and trail finishes. The money raised will help support lots of children and their families, proving that Guide Dogs are not the only dogs who change lives. Good job guys! 

 

The Museum's next Audio Description Tour takes place on 7th December

Hi, it’s me Mike, volunteer curator with The Wallich working on a new exhibition called ‘Who Decides: Making Connections with Contemporary Art’. The old exhibition that was in the gallery has come down, it’s totally empty now.

 

The last exhibition has all been taken out and the gallery is eerily empty

So we are going to start this new exhibition; with new art, photos and films that you won’t have seen before. You can see some of my favourite pieces. I really hope you enjoy this new exhibition.

We've been busy choosing work for the new exhibition

 ‘Who Decides: Making Connections with Contemporary Art’ opens on October 26th 2017. More information here and here

A wonderful new book has been created by  Picture to Share.  This dementia-friendly book is the first of this type that has been produced bilingually in both Welsh and English. 


Pictures to Share teamed up with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, The National Library of Wales, Alzheimers Society, and the Welsh Poet Laureate to produce Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, a beautifully illustrated book to help carers communicate with people living with dementia.  Pictures to Share have produced many books on this theme but this is the first to focus upon the Welsh language, in order to help people living with dementia whose first language is Welsh.

This was an opportunity to highlight the importance of the work we do to help people living with dementia as well as highlight our collections and showcase our commercial Picture Library.  The images used within the book, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, portray many things which people in Wales can relate to, prompting discussion.

Dementia is a subject which many of our staff are passionate about, with many of the staff undertaking training to become a Dementia Friend in order to help enhance the visitor experience of people living with dementia.

After communicating with the editor Michelle Forster, we supplied the images and license to use them in order to comply with copyrights laws.  We have to issue a license to anyone who wishes to use our images. Pictures to Share invited us to Cardiff Library for their book launch in November 2016 to see the completed book, which was attended by staff from our Image Licensing, Photography and Translation departments.  We were all very impressed with the end product which is now available at our shop at National Museum Cardiff and our on-line shop.

If you would like to use our images within a publication, please contact us at Image Licensing.
You can also purchase images for your home from our on-line shop.


Thank you to Cardiff Council for permission to use images from the book launch.