Amgueddfa Blog: General

A technology first for UK museum

This week sees the launch of Museum ExplorAR; a brand new experience at National Museum Cardiff, bringing some state-of-the-art (and never seen before) technology into our galleries allowing you to witness our spaces as never before.

Using a handheld device available to hire from the shop you can explore the following self-led experiences:

  • Underwater life:  See our collection of sea creatures come to life in the Marine Gallery, be awed by our humpback whale as it would have looked swimming in the ocean... but watch out for the shark!

  • Monet’s Waterlily Garden: Explore the inspiration for Monet’s waterlilies in our Impressionist Gallery. Look out for Monet, and the Davies Sister who collected most of what you see in the gallery.

  • Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures: Discover the lives of dinosaurs from 220 million years ago; see their skeletons brought to life and swim with the prehistoric creatures that once swam in our seas.

The project has been developed as a pilot in order for us to evaluate how we best approach and employ new and emerging technologies in our Museum spaces. Our permanent galleries may have been static for some years, but augmented reality can offer new and exciting opportunities to refresh narratives and explore new storylines in our Museums.

At this stage, we envision the devices to be available for hire for about 20 weeks over which time we will be evaluating popularity, ease of use, navigation, interpretative approach and overall enjoyment. A huge bonus of the system is despite the experiences offering a geographically aware tour, there is no requirement for any connectivity or data transfer requirements (i.e. we are not dependant on WiFi or networks), overcoming many connectivity obstacles in a complex and busy public space.

As this coincides with our Kizuna exhibition, Museum ExplorAR is available for you in three languages: Welsh, English and Japanese.

Top of the range graphics

The experience has been developed by Jam Creative Studios, an innovative, creative agency based in Cowbridge, south Wales. Thanks to their hard work and hours of dedication, they have delivered us a superb (yes, I am biased) new technology that offers a perfect synergy between exhibition interpretation and amazing jaw-dropping graphics and effects. They have come up with new and novel ways to showcase some of our most difficult-to-interpret collections - for instance our pavement of dinosaur footprints from south Wales where most visitors are unable to make sense of the plethora of footprints going in all different directions. Jam Creative Studios have skilfully isolated and superimposed these dinosaur trackways for us to be able to witness clearly the marks made by these extinct creatures.

What is Augmented Reality (AR)

AR, or Augmented Reality allows people to use (typically) a handheld device to view superimposed content onto the scene before them. The benefits of this technology is that you are able to experience the effects only when looking at the screen you are holding, thus still being able to interact fully with the real world around you. You may have heard of VR (Virtual Reality) which is a technology that is completely immersive and requires a full headset, cut off from the real world. We have chosen augmented reality, obviously as our visitors are walking around the gallery, we don’t want them blind to their surroundings, or each other!

This approach also means families or groups can share the experience together, something initial feedback confirms

Amgueddfa Cymru are proud to be the first place to showcase this augmented reality technology. 

The system uses a combination of area learning with augmented reality. Essentially it means that, rather than having to rely on traditional AR triggering methods (such as image tracking within your camera view or markerless AR-which requires the user to place their own virtual content within a scene) the ExplorAR can tell exactly where the user is within the gallery and can trigger appropriate content accordingly. This makes for a much more immersive experience giving users the freedom to explore all around the virtual content with no restrictions. It’s also really intuitive to use.

Testing and Evaluation

Evaluation will be key factor of the pilot, with a survey built in at the end of each tour. In addition to qualitative evaluation, this technology allows for detailed analytics on its usage, including such things as: Visitor flow, dwell time for each exhibit, most popular exhibits and average visit duration.
 
We will test and seek comprehensive feedback with a variety of users and groups, with advice from the Learning Department to gain feedback on content approach and overall concept design. We will also review our internal workflows and lessons learnt from delivering such a project, helping build a knowledge base for the organisation on best practices for future technologies we may wish to implement.

This is just the beginning...

The launch of Museum ExplorAR is the start of our investigations into how best we employ technology into our public spaces. We will be using visitor feedback to analyse where we go from here, of course the possibilities are endless, so before we go any further we need first hand accounts of what you, our visitors like, want, and expect, before we develop anything further.

Come and give it a go and let us know what you think, but remember, you saw it here first!

Plan your visit

Sut beth oedd Cymraeg Caerdydd yn y gorffennol? Dylan Foster Evans sy'n trafod lleisiau coll ein prifddinas:

 

Wrth bori mewn papurau newydd o ddiwedd y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg, fe welwch fod trafod o dro i dro ar ddiflaniad Cymry Cymraeg ‘brodorol’ Caerdydd.

Roedd gan y dref yr adeg honno ei ffurf ei hun ar y Wenhwyseg, y dafodiaith leol draddodiadol. Ond er bod niferoedd siaradwyr Cymraeg Caerdydd ar gynnydd, llai a llai a siaradai hen dafodiaith Gymraeg Caerdydd. Mae’n destun rhyfeddod, felly, ein bod ni heddiw yn gallu gwrando ar leisiau’r to olaf o unigolion a fagwyd yn siarad y Wenhwyseg leol yn y Gaerdydd bresennol neu’n agos iawn ati.

 

Mae gwrando arnynt yn brofiad sy’n gofyn am ychydig o ymdrech ar ein rhan. Ar adegau, waeth cyfaddef ddim, mae rhyw afrwyddineb yn nodweddu geiriau rhai o’r siaradwyr olaf hyn. Nid niwsans mo hynny, chwaith, ond rhywbeth sy’n gwbl, gwbl greiddiol i’r profiad. Hen bobl yw’r rhain ac mae olion y degawdau i’w clywed ar eu lleisiau.

Ac yn achos sawl un, nhw yw siaradwyr Cymraeg olaf y llinach. Mae eu perthynas â’r iaith wedi breuo o flwyddyn i flwyddyn ac o ddegawd i ddegawd.

Ond yn yr afrwyddineb hwnnw — ac yn wir yn eu Saesneg — y daw eu profiadau’n fyw.

Dyna lle clywn ôl addysg a anwybyddai’r Gymraeg; dyna lle clywn effaith diffyg trosglwyddo rhwng cenedlaethau; a dyna lle’r ymdeimlwn â realiti shifft ieithyddol. Ond er gwaethaf hynny oll, mae yma wir brydferthwch.

 

Enwau'r ddinas - o Blwyf Mair i Lanetarn

Y cynharaf ohonynt yw Edward Watts (1840–1935) o Landdunwyd ym Mro Morgannwg. Fe’i recordiwyd pan oedd yn hynafgwr dros ei ddeg a phedwar ugain.

Cofiai ymweld â Chaerdydd tua chanol y bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg ac wrth sôn am safle hen neuadd y dref yn ‘Plwyf Mair’ mae’n cofnodi elfen o ddaearyddiaeth Gymraeg Caerdydd sydd bellach wedi ei cholli.   

A dyna chi Tom Lewis y ‘trychwr’ o ‘Rwbina’ (nid ‘o Riwbeina’ fel y dywedai llawer ohonom heddiw).

A’r Husbands — cynnyrch cymuned amaethyddol Llanishan, Llys-fæ̂n a Llanetarn, chwedl hwythau (ond Llanisien, Llys-faen a Llanedern i ni, debyg iawn).

Caerdydd wahanol iawn oedd Caerdydd llawer o’r lleisiau hyn. Ond hebddyn nhw a’u tebyg, gwahanol iawn fyddai ein Caerdydd ninnau.

 

 

Gyda diolch i Beth Thomas, Meinwen Ruddock-Jones a Pascal Lafargue. Am ragor o hanes y Gymraeg yng Nghaerdydd, dilynwch @CymraegCaerdydd a @diferionDFE - ac am ragor o Archif Sain Ffagan, dilynwch @ArchifSFArchive

Bydd arddangosfa o hanes Trebiwt, y Bae a Chaerdydd i'w gweld yn Y Lle Hanes trwy gydol yr Eisteddfod.

What's the Project all about?

“Saving Treasures; Telling Stories” is an all-Wales Project about bringing archaeology to life and enabling community engagement.

It is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and administered by Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales in partnership with the Federation of Museums and Galleries in Wales and the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales.

At Powysland Museum the project takes as its starting point the existing collections of archaeological jewellery in the three local authority museums in Powys: Powysland Museum in Welshpool, Radnorshire Museum in Llandrindod Wells and Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery in Brecon.

Some of the objects have been acquired by the museums as recent treasure finds, while others have been in the collections for several years.

What is Powysland Museum doing?

The project encompasses:

  • a temporary exhibition on archaeological jewellery from the museums in Powys.
  • engagement with a number of community groups in story-writing sessions, art and jewellery workshops and research inspired by the artefacts and their stories, to be displayed in the exhibition.
  • art and craft activities, “finds open days” and other events for a wider audience during the exhibition period.

Community Partners

The museum has been working with a number of partners to deliver the promised outcomes, such as Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, the poet and writer Pat Edwards and the artist Andrew Logan.


The community partners have included Welshpool High School’s Art department, Buttington-Trewern Primary School, Welshpool Camera Club, Llanfair-Caereinion Historical Society, Welshpool Young Carers and Welshpool Kaleidoscope group.

Working with Welshpool Poetry Festival


One of the bonuses of having Pat Edwards involved in the project was that she transferred the idea of archaeological jewellery to the annual Welshpool Poetry Festival, of which she is the founder and the organiser.
 
Every year the poetry festival holds a competition and this year’s theme was ‘jewels’. For the ‘Young People’s Poetry Competition (Ages 7-14) the winners were:

  • First Prize – ‘My Jewel’ by Nancy Gargiulo from Criftins Primary School
  • Second Prize – ‘Jewel’ by Lila Melnykevicova
  • Third Prize – ‘Silver’ by Maisie from Berriew School

Powysland museum is delighted to be able to display these poems and others along with their Saving Treasures-funded Archaeological Jewellery exhibition.

 

The Museums Association Conference of 1948 was held at National Museum Cardiff over five days, running from July 12th to the 16th. All conference meetings were held in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre, while an area within the Zoology Department was used as Association Office, Writing Room and Smoke Room.

We know the majority of host duties would have been carried out by Frederick J. North, who was Keeper of Geology and Archibald H. Lee, Museum Secretary, because they are listed on the programme as Honorary Local Secretaries. It is most likely we have them to thank for the ephemera held in the Library, including copies of the programme, associate and staff badges, reception invites, day trip tickets and the official group photograph, taken on the steps of the Museum.

The first day of the conference began with registration, followed by a Council meeting and visit to Cardiff Castle and a reception at the South Wales Institute of Engineers in the evening. The programme states this event as requiring Morning dress code which, during this time period would be a three piece suit for the men, and smart day dresses for the women, or general smart clothing suitable for formal social events.

The second day began with official welcomes by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Alderman R. G. Robinson, and the President of the National Museum Wales, Sir Leonard Twiston-Davies. This was followed by a number of papers read by delegates [all fully listed in the programme], gathering for the official conference photograph, and a Civic Reception at City Hall, hosted by the Lord Mayor [with refreshments, music and dancing].

1948 was the year that St Fagans National Museum of History was first opened to the public as the St Fagans Folk Museum and to mark this, a visit was arranged for the afternoon of day three. St Fagans Castle, gardens, and grounds had been given to the National Museum Wales by the Earl of Plymouth in 1946 and over the next two years extensive work had been carried out to make it suitable to open to the public. According to the 1950 St Fagans guide book, in the Castle, new central heating, electric lighting, and fire appliances had to be installed along with a tickets office, refreshment room and public amenities. By 1948 our delegates would have had access to the Castle and its newly refurbished historic interiors such as the kitchen with two 16th century fireplaces, the Hall furnished in 17th century style, 17th and 18th century bedrooms and the early 19th century Library. They would also have enjoyed walking the gardens which included a mulberry grove, herb and rose gardens, vinery, fishponds, and flower-house interspersed with bronze sculptures by Sir William Goscombe John. Onsite also were a traditional wood-turner and a basket-maker, creating and selling their wares. The handbook also describes a delightful sounding small tea room with curtains made at the Holywell Textile Mills and watercolour paintings by Sir Frank Brangwyn. However, according to a Western Mail clipping, this didn’t open to the public until some weeks later on August 24th. Presumably a room within the Castle itself was used for the delegates’ buffet tea to which they were treated after being greeted by the Curator of St Fagans, Dr Iorwerth Peate.

Interestingly the programme provides times of the train service that ran from Cardiff Central Station to St Fagans. Sadly, the station at St Fagans is no longer there, the service being withdrawn in 1962, although a signal box and level crossing on the line remain.

The Annual General Meeting, Council Meeting and Federation of Officers Meeting  were all held on the next day along with more papers, including one by Mr Duncan Guthrie [of the Arts Council], on the upcoming “Festival of Britain, 1951”. There was also an evening reception in the Museum hosted by the President, and the then Director [Sir Cyril Fox], with refreshments and music by the City of Cardiff High School for Girls Orchestra. The programme states evening dress if possible for this event so it’s a shame we don’t hold any photographs of what would have been a sea of tuxedos and evening gowns.

The final day consisted of further papers in the morning followed by escape and fresh air with visits to the Newport Corporation Museum and the Legionary Museum and Roman Amphitheatre at Caerleon during the afternoon.

The September 1948 issue of Museums Journal contains a full report on the conference, with detailed examination of all papers presented and the discussions they generated. It also lists the delegates including those from overseas. The report concludes with thanks to the National Museum Cardiff for the welcome and hospitality accorded to the 240 delegates, with special mention to North and Lee [who would certainly have earned their salaries over those five days!].

Anna Edwards, yn siarad am y ddarganfyddiad o’r Gelc Bronington ar eu fferm hi yn 2014:

Roedden ni wedi perchen ar y tir am dair mlynedd pan ddarganfyddon ni'r casgliad, er ein bod ni wedi rhentu o am flynyddoedd cyn hynny. Doedd neb wedi bod yno efo canfodyddion metel o'r blaen.

Dw'i bob amser yn gwerthfawrogi hanes a dwi'n cofio gorlethu'n gyffrous.  Mae wybodaeth leol wedi dysgi i ni bod llawer o weithgareddau wedi bod yn yr ardal yn y gorffennol fel yn ystod y Rhyfel Cartref a'r diwydiant halen.  Mae ffermio o dydd i ddydd wedi agor i fyny crochenwaith man, botwmau ond mae arwyddocad a phwysigrwydd y casgliad yn syfrdanol a mwy nag unrhywbeth gallwn i fod wedi dychmygu.

Fel y mwyafrif o bethau pwysig sy'n digwydd yn ein bywyd; mae digwyddiad pegynol fel hwn yn troi i fyny ar siawns.

Collodd fy ngwr ei oriadau yn ystod y cynhaeaf a gofynnodd i'r defnyddwyr canfodyddion metel lleol i helpu. Cafodd fy ngwr ei oriadau nôl a rhoddodd o wahoddiad i'r dynion i ddod yn ôl yn eu hamser hamdden.

Roedd gweld a theimlo'r casgliad yn ryfeddol ac yn gyffrous i fod y person cyntaf i wisgo'r modrwy ers 500 mlynedd. Roedd y cyflwr yn gysefin ac yn edrych yn newydd sbon. Roedd rhaid i ni eistedd i lawr i werthfawrogi'r sefyllfa. I bwy roedd hi’n perthyn? Pwy wisgodd o? Sut bobl oedden nhw? Oedd y trysor wedi ei guddio neu ddwyn?

Mae darganfod y casgliad wedi cryfhau ein cysylltiad efo'r tir ble rydyn ni wedi gweithio mor galed. Mae'n fraint i gyrraedd mor bell ac yn anrhydedd mawr i fod yn gysylltiedig efo'r arian a'r modrwy. Tystiolaeth o'r gorfennol, pressenol a'r dyfodol i ni.

Yn ogystal â hyn mae'n syndod i mi am y diddordeb sydd wedi ei gynyddu yn lleol ac ymhellach. Ymddangosodd yn y papur newydd, derbynion alwadau ffôn o radio Chicago a siaradon yn fyw i holl dalaith Illinois, mwy i ddilyn!

Mae'n bleser gweld y plant ysgol yn cael eu cynnwys yn y cyffro ac aelodau'r gymuned trwy’r prosiect - "Buried in the Borderlands"