Amgueddfa Blog: Learning

Tea, Cake and Collections: ReEngage Tea Parties at National Museum Cardiff and St Fagans National Museum of History

Loveday Williams, 31 July 2023

“Re-engage provides vital, life-enhancing social connections for older people at a time in their lives when their social circles are diminishing.”   

For over a decade we have been working with ReEngage (formerly Contact the Elderly), hosting regular tea parties at some of our museums for older people experiencing loneliness and isolation.

The first tea parties took place at National Museum Cardiff, initially 4 times a year, but as the group grew this increased to 8 parties per year, hosted between National Museum Cardiff and St Fagans National Museum of History.  

The tea parties enable group members to visit the museums in a safe and supported way, meet their friends, make new social connections and spend time exploring the museums collections through engaging activities and talks with members of staff. And there’s always plenty of tea and cake!  

During this time, we have built strong links with the group members and Jane Tucker, the group leader. Ahead of the tea parties we have conversations with Jane to make sure we are aware of any accessibility, mobility and other needs within the group to ensure we can tailor the sessions accordingly.  

Here Jane tells us a little more about how the tea parties started and her role in supporting the group:

“I started volunteering with Re-engage (or Contact the Elderly as it was then) in March 2013 as a driver.

On a visit to St Fagans (funnily enough) in approximately 2017, I happened to see Marion Lowther who, at the time, was the Re-Engage organiser for Wales.  She told me she had a group of about 6 guests but no coordinator.  At the time they were only meeting 4 times a year as the only host available was National Museum Cardiff, hence why we are called the Cardiff Museum group.  I volunteered to take over the group and have managed to get more hosts and more guests.  The Museums are always a favourite of the group because you always provide interesting talks and activities.  

As you know a lot of our ladies are quite frail and are unable to leave their homes unaccompanied.  The visits to the Museum are a real highlight for them and we are so grateful for your continued support.” (Jane Tucker, ReEngage Group Leader).

In March of this year the group visited National Museum Cardiff for a session all about the current BBC 100 Exhibition, exploring the 100 year history of the BBC in Wales. 

The session was run by two members of the museum learning team, Jo and Louise. They used fun informal quizzes to highlight the exhibition content in a comfortable setting, as navigating the exhibition itself would have been challenging for the group members. Jo ran a TV picture quiz focussed on TV in the 60’s and 70’s and Louise ran a short TV theme tune quiz. 

Jo and Louise said “The group enjoyed chatting about their memories and there was lots of reminiscing about visits to the museum with children and grandchildren. They really enjoyed their tea!” 

Jane said following the visit “the talk we had at National Museum Cardiff was great, when the 2 hosts were playing music from old television programmes and adverts.  Our guests had lots of fun trying to recognise the tunes and then talking about the old programmes.”

The groups last visit to St Fagans took place in May 2023, facilitated by two members of the St Fagans learning team, Hywel and Jordan.

Jordan explains: “After introducing them to the site we gave a talk about the ‘Cynefin’ work being developed in our school learning programme, using the Wales is... gallery, exploring individual senses of identity and how we can use objects to support the sharing of these stories. Then, we discussed the groups’ personal understandings of their ‘Cynefin’, using handling objects from the museum collection to spark memories and conversation. Handling objects like the darning mushroom, pre decimalisation coinage and green shield stamps, proofed to be popular talking points for the group, encouraging them to shared stories of living in Wales and other parts of the world, their experiences of using everyday objects like this and changes over time.”

Here’s what some of the group members said about taking part following the session:  

“Most enjoyable afternoon at St Fagans Museum. It is lovely to see other people to chat with as I spend a lot of time alone.  It’s really appreciated.” (Anne)

“I really enjoyed the talk about the museum and the work they are doing.  Sundays can be really lonely so having a Re-Engage tea is such a joy and something to look forward to.” (Rita)

“Handling the objects at the Museum was really fun as well as informative. It gets your brain working and brings back memories.” (Hazel)

We’ll be welcoming the group back to St Fagans this summer to take part in some traditional yarn crafts inspired by our textile collections. Then they’ll be returning to National Museum Cardiff this autumn autumn.  

The museum learning team and group members alike always look forward to the tea parties. Over the past 10 years they have grown to become a key fixture in our wider Health and Wellbeing programme. Long may they continue!  

With thanks to all the ReEngage group members for sharing their stories, thoughts and feedback. Looking forward to seeing you next time!

Spring Bulbs for Schools winners visit St Fagans National Museum of History

Penny Dacey, 10 July 2023

Model Church in Wales Primary from Carmarthen were this year’s Wales winners for the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation. Schools who participated in the project planted bulbs in October, took daily weather readings from November to March, monitored their plants and recorded their flowering dates and heights and uploaded all this data to the Amgueddfa Cymru website. 

The prize for the winning Wales school each year is a trip to one of Amgueddfa Cymru's seven museums, with coach hire and activities. This year Model Church in Wales Primary elected to visit St Fagans National Museum of History. The day included a Sustainability Trail that involved exploring some of the museum’s historic buildings and a Mindful Bug Hunt, where we explored some of the museum’s beautiful gardens.

We were extremely lucky on our Mindful Bug Hunt, which involved being attentive to our surroundings and watching, listening, and smelling intently. We saw emerald green and sapphire blue damselflies dancing above the water at the fishponds, and many little fish darting about beneath the surface. Some were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a grass snake as it slithered into the water and away. 

We saw busy bumble bees and colourful butterflies pollinating sweet-smelling plants like Lavender. We saw and heard long legged grasshoppers in the undergrowth of the flower beds, along with ladybirds, aphids, ants, beetles, centipedes, snails, earwigs, and woodlice. We ducked as a giant dragonfly fed on insects above our heads, diving at us repeatedly. 

We watched and listened as solitary bees buzzed around a mound in the lawn, burrowing new homes into the soil. We saw hundreds of baby garden spiders burst out of their egg sack and scatter throughout a hedge. 

We watched water boatmen swim leisurely past the stone footbridge, and water snails beneath feeding slowly on algae. We watched the familiar wild ducks, the stately Canadian geese and all their young chicks as they carried about their business along the water’s edge. 

We identified different plants and trees and saw how many of us it took to surround the entire width of the 400-year-old Oak tree. We were each immersed in the present and in wonder at it.

Model Church in Wales Primary have shared the following photos with us to depict their day at the museum. 

Model Church in Wales Primary at St Fagans National Museum of History

Model Church in Wales Primary at St Fagans National Museum of History

Model Church in Wales Primary at St Fagans National Museum of History

Model Chuch in Wales Primary at St Fagans National Museum of History

Model Church in Wales Primary at St Fagans National Museum of History

Model Church in Wales Primary on their Mindful Bug Hunt

Model Church in Wales Primary on their Mindful Bug Hunt

Model Church in Wales Primary on their Mindful Bug Hunt

Fantastic Work Bulb Buddies

Penny Dacey, 30 June 2023

Congratulations to all of the schools who successfully completed the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation this year. All schools listed below have been sent Super Scientist Certificates and pencils. The standard was extremely high again this year. 


Professor Plant would like to thank all schools that contributed to making this year’s investigation a success.


Enillwyr / Winners:

Cymru / Wales

Model Church in Wales Primary School

Lloegr / England: 

Roseacre Primary Academy

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

St John Ogilvie Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

St Mary's Primary School (Maguiresbridge)


Yn Ail / Runners up:

Cymru / Wales

Peterston Super Ely Church in Wales Primary

Lloegr / England: 

Kidgate Primary Academy

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

Gavinburn Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

Grange Primary School Kilkeel


Clod Uchel / Highly Commended

Cymru / Wales

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail

Pil Primary School

YGG Aberystwyth

Ysgol Llandegfan

St Julian's Primary

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

Kingcase Primary School

Dedridge Primary School

Kincaidston Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

St Patrick's Primary School, Eskra


Cydnabyddiaeth Arbennig / Special Recognition:

Cymru / Wales

Forden CiW School

Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant

Ysgol San Sior

St Joseph's RC Primary School (North Road)

Alaw Primary

Ysgol Glan Conwy

Lloegr / England: 

St Anne's Catholic Primary School

Stanford in the Vale Primary School

Anchorsholme Academy

Fleet Wood Lane Primary School

Sylvester Primary Academy

St Kentigern's Primary School

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

Leslie Primary School

Livingston Village Primary School

St Anthony's Primary (Saltcoats)

Kirkhill Primary School

Blacklands Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

Clonalig Primary School

Irvinestown Primary School

Sacred Heart Primary - CO. Down

St Mary's Primary School (Newry)

St Paul's Primary School (Co Fermanagh)

Lisbellaw Primary School


Gwyddonwyr Gwych / Super Scientists

Cymru / Wales

Oystermouth Primary School

Abernant Primary

High Cross Primary (Newport)

Ysgol Capel Garmon

Albert Primary School

Llanbedr Church in Wales

NPTC Newtown College

Glyncoed Primary School

Spittal VC School

St Mary's Church in Wales Primary School 

St Paul’s CiW Primary

Lloegr / England: 

Cambridge Park Academy

Devonshire Primary Academy

Rowley Hall Primary School

St John's CE Primary School

St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

Milton Primary School

Darvel Primary School

Meldrum Primary School

Our Lady of Peace Primary

Underbank Primary School

Maidens Primary School

Logan Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

Newtownbutler Primary School

Sacred Heart Primary School - Omagh

Glasswater Primary School

Cortamlet Primary School

Newtownhamilton Primary School


Tystysgrifau / Certificates:

Cymru / Wales

Ysgol Bro Sannan 

Ysgol Bethel

Brynford Primary

Minera Aided Primary School

St Joseph’s Cathedral (Swansea)

Ysgol y Wern

Ysgol Cwm Brombil

Adamsdown Primary School

Franksbridge CP School

Gors Community School


Penrhiwceibr Primary

Rhydri Primary School

St Athan Primary School 

St. Michael's RC Primary School

Trellech Primary School 

Twyn School

Ysgol Gymraeg Mornant

Ysgol Llanilar

Ysgol Pontrobert

Lloegr / England: 

St Teresa's Catholic Primary School

Hamstead Junior School

Harvills Hawthorn Primary School

Grange Primary School

Marton Primary Academy and Nursery

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

Forehill Primary School

Gartcosh Primary School

Newton Primary School

St Joseph's RC Primary School (Kelty)

Whitdale Primary School

Windyknowe Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

St Patrick's Legamaddy

Enniskillen Integrated Primary School

St Mary's Primary School (Killesher)

Hardgate Primary School


Thanks again Bulb Buddies,


Professor Plant

Spring Bulbs for Schools - engaging with 175 schools

Penny Dacey, 17 May 2023

Penny Dacey, Spring Bulbs Project Coordinator, has been busy helping young budding scientists get outside and investigate the impact of climate change in an engaging and creative way!

Many of you may have heard of this Spring Bulbs project, as it’s been running since 2005! For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, here’s an overview. 

Pupils are asked to help Professor Plant, a friendly cartoon scientist, to explore the impact of a changing climate on the flowering dates of spring bulbs. Pupils do this by taking part in an annual study that involves documenting and submitting weather and flower data.

How it started and how it’s going…

The project began in Wales, under Danielle Cowell, Digital Learning Program Manager at Amgueddfa Cymru, but through funding from the Edina Trust has expanded to be UK wide.

Amgueddfa Cymru now engages 175 schools each year through the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation! That’s a lot of bulbs!

Let’s talk science!

Schools that participate in the investigation take part for a full academic year. They receive their resource packs in late September, plant their bulbs on 20 October, and begin taking weather records on 1 November through to 31 March.

Schools are asked to take weather records (temperature and rainfall readings) for every day that they are in school, and to upload this data to the Amgueddfa Cymru website at the end of each week. They are also asked to monitor their plants and to document the flowering date and the height of their plants on that date to the website. The result is that we can now compare the flowering dates for spring bulbs in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to those of previous years and look at how changing weather patterns may have impacted on these dates. Isn’t that amazing?


Making a difference - from scientific skills to well-being

The investigation supports the development of scientific knowledge and skills, including an understanding of plant growth, the impact of climate change on the environment, and data collection and analysis. Students are able to apply scientific methods and concepts to a real-world scenario, which helps them to understand the importance and relevance of science in their lives. The process of caring for their plants, getting outdoors (in all weather) and working together to collect the data has numerous benefits, both for well-being and in developing lifelong connections to nature.


Do you know of any schools that would like to take part?

Applications open on a first come first serve basis to primary schools in Wales in late April. If you know of any schools that would like to take part, please ask them to check
out the following pages for more information:
Spring Bulbs Website
Spring Bulbs Blog
Spring Bulbs Twitter

New English Learner Resources for Amgueddfa Cymru

Loveday Williams, Senior Learning, Participation and Interpretation Officer, 10 May 2023

Amgueddfa Cymru Museum Wales have been working with Refugees and Asylum Seekers, supporting people to integrate into their new communities for many years. 

As part of this work, we have developed partnerships with key organisations such as Addysg Oedolion Cymru Adult Learning Cymru. They have been working with us over the past year, alongside their ESOL students, to develop new ESOL learner resources designed to support people learning English to explore our museums and galleries. 

The new resources cover the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, the National Slate Museum in Llanberis and the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon. 

The resources have been created by ESOL tutors and tested by ESOL learners. They follow the ESOL curriculum and cover a range of different levels from Entry to Level 2. 

Now that the new resources have been tested, tweaked, and trialed they are ready to download from our website for any ESOL learner or group visiting one of the museums. (See the links above). 

We also have a suite of ESOL resources for St Fagans National Museum of History which were developed in a similar way as part of the HLF funded Creu Hanes Making History Project in 2014. 

We continue to work with our partners and community members to provide meaningful opportunities for people facing barriers to participation in the arts and cultural heritage. 

We learn so much from the people who visit our sites and engage in the learning opportunities we offer. 

Supporting those people who are newly arrived in Wales to settle and integrate into their new communities is a very important area of our work and we hope that these new learner resources help many people on that journey. 

Diolch yn fawr to Addysg Oedolion Cymru Adult Learning Wales and the ESOL tutors and learners who have contributed to the creation of these new learner resources.