Amgueddfa Blog: Learning

In So Many Words: An Interactive Poetry Display

Rachel Carney, 30 August 2022

What makes you spend time looking at a particular painting? What is it that draws you in? It can be difficult to put these thoughts into words, and that’s where poetry can help.

From 6th September to 6th November there’ll be an interactive poetry display in our ‘Art in Eighteenth Century Britain’ gallery. You’ll be able to read (or listen to) a number of poems written in response to some of the paintings. There’ll also be an invitation for you to have a go at writing a poem of your own…

So, why poetry? You may well ask. Poetry can take us in unexpected directions. It can help us to articulate thoughts and impressions that we weren’t even aware of, to understand our own subconscious response to a work of art. It can help us to engage with art in a different way, seeing it from a fresh perspective.

The poems don’t have to be ‘good’. They don’t even have to look like poems. This is about slowing down and letting a different part of your brain take over – the part of your brain that ponders in ways you may not be aware of, as you look at works of art, translating your thoughts into words.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. Each creative response will give us a new interpretation, a new lens through which to see.

The interactive display will include poems written by a diverse group of individuals who took part in a series of writing workshops this summer, alongside poems written by museum visitors. The display forms part of a PhD research project organised by Cardiff-based poet Rachel Carney, funded by the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership.

Listen to the poems on our What’s On page.

Find out more about this research, and how you can help.

You can also read about and take part in a similar project: Art & Words, that took place on Instagram in 2021.

Patchwork of Memories – Remembrance and grief during Covid 19

Loveday Williams, 13 July 2022

In 2020 Amgueddfa Cymru and Cruse Bereavement Support Cymru came together to support people across the country through their grief and create a lasting memorial full of memories to those lost during the time of Covid-19. It involved creating a square patch containing a memory of a loved one, in which ever way people chose, in whatever words or images they liked. Each patch created demonstrated a visual display of lasting memories of someone they loved who had died, created in unprecedented times.  50+ patches were sent to the Museum and have been carefully sewn together to form a Patchwork of Memories.

For the last two year we have all lived very different lives, with change to our normal the only constant. Losing a loved one is always hard but usually we have the comfort of others and collective mourning at funerals to help us say goodbye and share our memories.  However, a death in the last two years has meant many of us being cut off from our support networks and our rituals or remembrance being altered.  

Rhiannon Thomas, previous Learning Manager at St Fagans said about this project “Helping people with grief is something that I am personally passionate about. Having worked with Cruse Bereavement Support previously to support families I felt the Museum was able to help families dealing with loss in a different way.  Amgueddfa Cymru and Cruse Bereavement Support Wales came together to create a project based around creativity and memory, the aim being to make a lasting memorial to those who have died during the pandemic.” 

Creating something is not a new response to grief, there are several Embroidery samplers in Amgueddfa Cymru’s collections made in memory of loved ones or marking their passing.   This sampler by M.E. Powell was created in 1906 in memory of her mother.   Creativity during difficult times of our lives can help all of us to express deep held emotions that we do not always have the ability to put into words. 

Bereavement Support Days

Alongside the Patchwork of Memories initiative, the Cruse / Museum Partnership also provide a safe inspirational space for the increasing numbers of children and young people awaiting bereavement support and help meet the diverse needs of bereaved children, young people and families who benefit from coming together to rationalise, explore and understand that they are not alone in their grief. 

A series of quarterly Bereavement Support Days are held in partnership with St Fagans, for children, young people and their families experiencing grief and loss. There is specialist support from Cruse staff and volunteers along with art and craft activities provided by Head for Arts and immersive Virtual Reality experiences provided by PlayFrame, which are light-hearted, allowing people attending the chance to make and create things that can be taken home with them and or captured and stored into a virtual memory box. The activities available are designed to stimulate rather that prompt.

Here is the film created by PlayFrame on Ekeko, the virtual memory space they have been creating alongside this project, installing objects, memories and stories donated by participants into a virtual memory box for people to enter and explore: 

And a link the virtual reality memory space itself:

Alison Thomas, Cruse CYP Wales Lead said “Cruse Bereavement Support Wales provides in person support to children and young people within a variety of settings, so we see first-hand how difficult it can be for grieving children and young people. Their collective support on these days allows families the time and space to verbalise and begin to understand their loss and associated emotions. The focus of the Bereavement Support days is around children and young people, however, the benefits resonate through the whole family including the adults in attendance, some of whom require bereavement support on the day, most of whom stay for the duration and share a cuppa and chat with other bereaved parents and guardians. Following the session, the whole family can have a look around the Museum and spend time together in a safe and nurturing setting.”

Here are some of the written (in their own handwriting) evaluation feedback quotes from children, young people and parents / guardians who have attended the Bereavement Days:

'I feel calmer, less worried.  It was good being able to speak to people my age who understood what I'm going through.'

'I was very included in all the activities and was always involved in conversation.  There was a calm atmosphere making it easier to speak to people there.'

'I was very welcomed and was immediately approached by a friendly face.  It was very inviting and was easy to speak to people there.'


'Love 🙂 happy'

'Thank you Diolch, Diolch 🙂'

A mother of one of the young people said 'I feel much better than I did.'

Another mother said 'All was lovely, made to feel welcome, everything we did was good and the girls enjoyed themselves.'

The two memory quilts will be competed by the end of August 2022, following which we will hold a final project event with Cruse Bereavement Support Wales on 25th September at St Fagans National Museum of History, where we will display the two quilts and invite both the contributors who sent squares and the participants from the Bereavement Support Days to attend, along with the public, to see the quilts and share their experiences of taking part in the process.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation Results 2021-22

Penny Tomkins, 1 July 2022

Hi Bulb Buddies,

I’ve had an interesting time compiling the end of year report for the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation. I’ve attached the reports on the right for you but let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights!

Remember that our weather readings are taken between November and March, meaning that records for each year include readings from the November and December of the previous year. For example, when the report talks about results for 2012 it’s referring to data taken from November 2011 to March 2012.

2022 saw slightly higher than average temperatures and the second warmest February of our investigation. The MET Office has stated that February 2022 was the fifth warmest on record based on measurements dating back to 1919.


The graph shows that 2022 was the fourth warmest period of our study.

2022 saw the lowest and highest average hours of sunshine of our investigation. The MET Office has stated that 2022 saw the dullest December since 1956! It also saw the sunniest January and second sunniest March based on records dating back to 1919.


2022 saw the second highest hours of sunshine of our investigation. There are 25 hours difference between the year that saw the highest average hours of sunshine (2012) and the year that saw the lowest (2016).


We can see from the chart that 2022 saw the lowest average rainfall of our investigation for November and January and the second lowest for March. In contrast, it saw the third highest rainfall for February. The MET Office has stated that February 2020 was the wettest on record with measurements dating back to 1862!

The bar chart shows that 2022 saw the lowest average rainfall of our investigation at 90mm while 2016 was the wettest year of the project with an average rainfall of 158mm.

Our results show that plants flowered earliest in Wales and latest in Scotland. Scotland was the coldest country and saw the least sun.


2022 saw both plants flower earlier than the overall average. It’s interesting to compare results from 2022 with the overall averages for the project. The table shows that 2022 saw above average temperatures and hours of sunshine and below average rainfall when compared to previous years.


The graph shows average hours of sunshine for the period November-March for Wales. We can see from the chart that Wales saw lower than average hours of sunlight for the period November 2001 to March 2022. It’s interesting to note that the years 2006 to 2012 all saw higher than average hours of sunshine and that since then only one year (2015) has seen above average hours of sunshine.

The difference between averages for Wales and averages for the UK highlights the regional variations that can occur. The MET Office have recently announced interesting regional variations in their latest climate reports. Climate is measured in 30-year periods, in line with guidelines from the World Meteorological Organisation. A comparison between the 1961-1990 and 1991-2020 periods has revealed an increase in temperature (+0.8°C), rainfall (+2.3%) and sunshine (+5.6%) for the UK.

It will be interesting to see what patterns will emerge from our results as our long term study continues. Thank you for your contribution to this year’s investigation and I hope that you will follow the progress of the 2022-23 investigation from September.

Great work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

Shoots are appearing!

Penny Tomkins, 11 January 2022

Hi Bulb Buddies,

Thank you for sharing your weather data and photos! We’ve been posting ‘comment of the week’ on Twitter and I’ve shared these with you here.

I’ve enjoyed reading your comments and hearing your observations on the weather. It’s exciting to hear that some plants have started to grow! I’ve shared some of your comments below.

Remember to watch your plants closely over the coming weeks, to see how they develop. We only ask for height measurements on the website once the flowers have fully opened. But you could keep a record of your plant’s weekly growth for fun?

In the coming weeks we’ll be analysing the data entered so far to predict when our plants might flower! Please enter all the data you’ve collected so far to the website as soon as you can, to help ensure that our predictions are as accurate as possible.

If you’ve missed some days or you aren’t taking part in the project but would like to follow it with your school, the MET Office WOW website can be used to collect and share weather readings for your area.

Please share photos, drawings and information on actions you are taking around climate change with us through email and Twitter.

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant


Your Comments:

Hendredenny Park Primary: Rain gauge fell over and thermometer broke. Prof Plant: I’m sorry to hear your thermometer is broken, do you have another you can use? If not let me know and I will send you a new one.

Glyngaer Primary School: Very wet and rainy this week.

Pil Primary School: There was a lot of rain at the beginning of the week and the temperature was very cold this week.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: We have been having a lot more rain this week and has been colder.

Pil Primary School: The temperature was nearly the same all week. There wasn't much rain, only on Monday.

Darran Park Primary: It has been very cloudy this week. With a bit of misty rain.

Oaklands Primary: A wet week this week and a few more bulbs are peeping through the soil. Prof Plant: Fantastic Bulb Buddies, I’m glad to hear that your plants are growing.

Darran Park Primary: The weather has felt quite cold this week. We had more rain at the beginning of the week.

Our Lady of Peace Primary: My data entering elves are self-isolating!

Gavinburn Primary School: We have loved keeping weather records this term. It has been a mild Autumn with not a lot of rain. Merry Christmas Professor Plant.

Glyngaer Primary School: Not sure yet but we think we see a tiny bit of green in one of our pots. Looking forward to checking when we get back from Christmas holidays. Prof Plant: Fantastic Bulb Buddies, let me know if you were right!

Oaklands Primary: Quite a warm week this week. We’re hoping it’ll be colder for Christmas!!


School Weather Observations

Penny Tomkins, 7 January 2022

Hi Bulb Buddies,

Thank you for sharing your weather data to the website. I’ve attached some of your comments below. It’s interesting to hear your observations on the weather and I’m excited that so many of your plants have peeked through the soil.

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant


Your Comments:


Carnbroe Primary School: We have found that 6 of our plant have green shoots.

St Michael's RC Primary: We aren't in school today so we are submitting now in case we forget later!

Ysgol Y Ddwylan: Diweddglo sych i wythnos gwlyb.

Fleet Wood Lane Primary School: Not that much rain this week. Last day of school today! see you next year. p.s merry Christmas and a happy new year!

St Mary's Primary School (Cardiff): The daffodil bulbs started to grow. We have put some leaves on top to protect them from the cold.

Ysgol Deganwy: Four more plants have started to come out of the soil.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Temp is rising and we are getting a bit more rain. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Llanharan Primary School: Colour starting to show on some of the Crocus

Glyngaer Primary School: It was very damp and it had been a bit stormy.

Sandal Castle VA Community Primary School: We had snow on Monday 29th November! Prof P: I hope the snow was fun Bulb Buddies!

Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School: This week our rain-gauge froze this week. Prof P: That’s exciting Bulb Buddies. Did you thaw the ice to take your rain measurement?

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: The rain is starting to appear, and the temp is dropping.

Pil Primary School: It rained all week and it was quite cold.

Hendredenny Park Primary: We were late on Tuesday so we did it at half past two instead.

St Michael's RC Primary: The sky looked a funny colour today, we thought it would rain or snow but it was dry all day.

Henllys CIW Primary: Some of our bulbs are trying to push through.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: It was very cold on Monday and lots of rain on Wednesday!

Ysgol Deganwy: 1 plant has started to grow by 1cm.

Moffat Academy: This week was dry and sunny but the temperature was quite cold and windy. The week went fast.

Moffat Academy: Rainy week but the rain collector was tipped over frequently. On Monday we had a snowy day.

Fleet Wood Lane Primary School: It has been cold this week!

Cilfynydd Primary: We think we have more than the mystery bulbs growing. Prof Plant: That’s exciting Bulb Buddies. I’d love to see a photo of your mystery mystery bulb!

Glyncoed Primary: Some of our bulbs have started to grow.

St Mary's Primary School (Cardiff): We are starting to see that some plants are starting to grow now. Hopefully these will grow fully soon!

St Patrick's Legamaddy: More of a wet week this week with Storm Barra.

St Joseph's Cathedral Primary (Swansea): Our plants were affected by the heavy wind. Some of the soil has been blown out of the pots and some of the bulbs are showing. We will put some soil on top again. Prof Plant: Welldone for looking after your bulbs Bulb Buddies!

Ysgol Deganwy: 1 more plant has started to grow.

Oaklands Primary: It was quite a wet week but still warmer than last week. We have noticed that some of our bulbs are starting to peep through the soil!

Glyngaer Primary School: It was much colder than the temperature we recorded. It was very windy and it made it feel very cold.

Oaklands Primary: It's been a really dry, but very cold week here. We've had frost and we are hoping for some snow on the weekend.

Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School: This week has had high and low temperatures!

Oaklands Primary: We hope that our bulbs aren't getting too swollen by the rain. It's been a wet one here this week! Prof Plant: I’m sure your bulbs will be Okay. If you notice water collecting at the top of your pots the soil may be saturated and you could tip the excess out.

Ysgol Chwilog: diolch am help efo talgrynu

Gavinburn Primary School: There wasn't much rain and it was fun learning how to do the weather records. Prof Plant: I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying the project Bulb Buddies.

Glyncoed Primary: We were not in school on Thursday and Friday so didn't collect any data.

Gavinburn Primary School: It was a mild week. We enjoyed doing the weather records.

Glyncoed Primary: Our Mystery Bulb has sprouted!!

Willow Green Academy: Gradually got colder as the week went on.

St Michael's RC Primary: It’s felt much colder this week!

Willow Green Academy: Rainfall early Monday Morning. No fall after.

St Michael's RC Primary: It feels like there’s been more rain than there actually has! Prof Plant: It sounds like you’ve had a drizzly week Bulb Buds.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: It was very cold today!

Darran Park Primary: The weather has been sunny and dry for 4 days and on Friday the temperature has dropped and it has rained.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: It’s been a cold week especially on Thursday - they say we have snow forecast for next week! Prof Plant: Was the forecast right Bulb Buddies? Have you had snow?

Pil Primary School: It has been very cold and windy this week and there was no rain. We have enjoyed recording the rainfall and temperature this week.

Canon Peter Hall C of E Primary School: All done before midday.

Ysgol Tudno: Do we empty the rain gauge every day? Prof Plant: Yes please Bulb Buds, empty the rain gauge after taking your readings Mon-Fri.

St Joseph's Cathedral Primary (Swansea): Everything has been ok this week. We need to make sure that children don't move our plants.

Outwood Primary Academy Kirkhamgate: It was windy. It was cold. It snowed at the weekend. We saw the green tips of five shoots. We covered some of the bulbs with more soil as they were not covered. We are working as a team in school. Prof Plant: Fantastic Bulb Buddies, keep up the great work!

Llanharan Primary School: We have started to see daffodils and crocus begin to sprout in several of the pots.

Fleet Wood Lane Primary School: Merry Christmas PS-thank you for the card

Pil Primary School: The temperature didn't change much this week. We liked reading the thermometer this week.

Hendredenny Park Primary: On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we took the measurements late because we were practising our Christmas concert.

Outwood Primary Academy Kirkhamgate: It feels cold. It's windy. DRY. It's been damp.

Logan Primary School: It has been quite mild weather this week.

Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School: It was a very wet week!

Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School: We love our garden gang!
Our Lady of Peace Primary School: Sorry we're late we didn't know how to send this information at first, but we've got the hang of it now. Prof P: Well done Bulb Buddies, keep up the good work.

Gavinburn Primary School: It was a very dry starter week. We enjoyed doing the weather records

YGG Tonyrefail: It's been a dry week. Wythnos sych yr wythnos hon!

Henllys CIW Primary: Sometimes there is dew still in the pot in the afternoon and not rain.

Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School: It was drier this week.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: What a dry week! The temperature seems to be dropping.

Canon Peter Hall C of E Primary: Data taken between 9 and 10 in the morning.

Glyngaer Primary School: It was grey, boring, damp, drizzly, cloudy and gloomy. Although it drizzled all week our water gauge didn't collect even half a mm of water.

Pil Primary School: The weather has been very mild this week with some rain. We liked recording our results!

Carnbroe Primary School: No shoots as yet.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: The temperature was higher on Thursday and Friday than usual!

Cilfynydd Primary: We have one plant pot with two plants growing. They are starting to grow really tall. Prof P: Fantastic news Bulb Buddies!