Amgueddfa Blog: Learning

4,370 pupils from across the UK have been awarded Super Scientist certificates on behalf of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, in recognition for their contribution to the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation.

A big congratulations to you all! Thank you for working so hard planting, observing, measuring and recording, you really are Super Scientists!

Many thanks to The Edina Trust for funding this project.

Super Scientist Winners 2019

Schools to be awarded certificates:

To receive Super Scientist certificates and pencils.

Schools with special recognition:

To be awarded certificates, pencils and sunflower seeds.

Highly commended schools:

To be awarded certificates, pencils, sunflower seeds and surprise seeds.

To be awarded certificates, pencils, sunflower seeds and surprise seeds.

Runners-up:

To be awarded certificates, pencils, a variety seeds and gift vouchers.

Winners 2018:

Each will receive certificates, pencils, seeds and a prize for the class!

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. I was invited to work at Amgueddfa Cymru as an artist in residence and asked to organise a project to celebrate 10 years of the volunteer programme. The project has consisted of a series of creative workshops with volunteers at sites across the country, which have fed into the creation of a celebratory artwork.

My name’s Robin Bonar-Law, I’m a self-taught artist and graphic design graduate of Falmouth University. From the time of my graduation up until my residency, I have been working in the catering industry so my artistic outlet has been primarily restricted to latte art. The creative industries are incredibly competitive and coming from a low-income family I have often felt stifled by a lack of social mobility. I take portrait commissions and enter competitions when I can but over the coming years, I would like to make the rewarding leap into self-employment by becoming a freelance mural artist.

Early this year I applied to an artist opportunity based at St Fagan’s. After a thoroughly exciting interview process, I was asked to join the team and given an open brief, ‘Create an artwork that is inspired by the volunteers and showcases the amazing contribution they have given to the museum. The process should also include a series of creative workshops with volunteers.’ With over 900 volunteers this year alone this was no small task, nonetheless, overflowing with unbounded enthusiasm and a sense of freedom (from the coffee shop) I got to work planning.

The project is split into two main components; the workshops and the final artwork. I love drawing and wanted to run a series of ‘mark-making’ workshops that help re-introduce the volunteers to the idea of drawing as something that’s fun and relaxing. By normalising and simplifying drawing through a series of games and activities, I hoped to make it less daunting and something relaxing that they may enjoy doing brief moments of spare time.

Volunteering blog

As well as allowing me to teach the volunteers new drawing techniques the workshops served as a time for the volunteers to teach me about their roles and experiences at the museum. From the beginning of the project, I have wanted to create an authentic artwork that represents the true collaborative spirit of the volunteer workforce and the best way to do that is to meet them and get their personal input. Visiting the sites and talking to members of staff was another valuable resource.

I have met such a large number of enthusiastic and happy volunteers, they are all equally passionate and have truly enriched my experience. The workshops have been far more rewarding than I could ever have expected, I hope the volunteers enjoyed them as much as I did.

My favourite part of any project like this is the final, hands-on crafting of a design, but there’s no point rushing into it without a strong design process as a foundation. Alongside the workshops, I started amassing a large pool of research to help shape the direction of the artwork. I gathered inspiration from celebratory imagery such as friendly society banners, religious artworks, Flags, political/social murals etc. I also furthered my knowledge of Welsh craft and traditions by meeting with curators, visiting volunteers outside of workshops and making use of the information on display to the public. I wanted to create a final piece with mulitple layers of complexity; representing the wildly diverse range of roles, having that celebratory feel and being reminiscent of the traditional craft that imbues each site.

I am in the final stages of the design process and putting the finishing touches to my artwork. Once complete, the modular, hanging banner inspired artwork will be transformed into a majestic, megalithic and meaningful mural adorning the walls of Tŷ Gwyrdd (the new volunteer hub) and made into a digital print for each of the 7 museums around Wales. It will also be made into tote bags and given to each of the volunteers. From the very beginning, I have wanted to create a purposeful artwork that rejuvenates and enriches the volunteer spaces, fostering an environment that helps individuals find a sense of well-being, pride and identity. I can’t wait to show you all the finished product.

I am incredibly grateful for the museum and all the staff that have given me this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

For one week only, Key Stage Two pupils enjoyed the Walking with Romans session at the National Roman Legion Museum.

As well as their usual facilitated session with one of our Roman teachers, they were also taken on a tour of the Amphitheatre with a Roman guide.

Under the strict instructions of their new Roman leader, they learned how to march in the centre of the Amphitheatre. Once they had perfected their pace, a couple of the pupils even got the chance to run out as gladiators with their classmates cheering them on.

Every year, the most popular part of the session proves to be when the children learn how to charge as a unit, using their teachers as the target! 

The outdoor environment of the Amphitheatre and Barracks, steeped in rich and ancient history, continues to capture children’s attention more effectively than a standard classroom session.

This is a fantastic opportunity for learners to not only see the history around them, but to experience what it was like to be a part of it.

A recent study by HAPPEN Wales found that outdoor learning sessions like these provide “a variety of benefits for both the child and the teacher and for improving health, wellbeing, education and engagement in school.” So if schools are disappointed at missing out on our Walking with Romans week, we have another outdoor session on the horizon.

Starting on Monday 1st July and running until the end of term, schools can book in for our Roman Boot Camp. Pupils will hear about what the Romans looked for in a soldier, discover if they have what it takes to join the Roman army and even compete in teams to test their pace on the marching square! Email learning.romans@museumwales.ac.uk for booking information.

While the museum is still closed for essential maintenance, the National Roman Legion Museum’s education programme is still running successfully.

Focussing on Key Stage Two learning, the programme offers each school group a full day of activities - from exploring the ancient ruins of the Amphitheatre, Baths and Barracks, to trying on armour in our reconstructed Barrack Room and learning Latin in our iBook.

The National Roman Legion Museum will be reopening to the public in Autumn 2019 .

Eitem arall yn y gyfres Lleisiau o’r Archifau o Archif Sain, Sain Ffagan Amgueddfa Werin Cymru. Mae’r gyfres hon yn cyd-redeg â gweithgareddau a digwyddiadau amaethyddol yr Amgueddfa. Ffermwyr oedd y siaradwyr, a oedd, fel arfer, wedi byw yn yr un ardal trwy gydol eu hoes. Mae’r disgrifiadau, y profiadau, yr atgofion, y lleisiau a’r acenion yn wreiddiol ac unigryw, o wahanol ardaloedd, ac o wahanol gyfnodau.

I gyd-fynd gyda’r wyna yn Llwyn-yr-eos, fferm yr Amgueddfa, dyma ddarn o recordiad o Dan Theophilus, Allt yr erw, Rhandir-mwyn, a recordiwyd ym mis Gorffennaf 1975, pan yn 65 oed. Mae’n sôn am wahanol agweddau ar wyna: gofalu am y defaid; delio gyda thrafferthion ac afiechydon; mabwysiadu oen; marcio clustiau; a throi’r defaid a’r wyn i’r mynydd.

Each week, hundreds of people will walk through the front doors of the National Museum Cardiff. Yet despite visiting the exhibitions on display, many will be oblivious to what goes on in the background. Conducting a work experience placement at the museum gave us a rare insight into how much work and effort goes on behind closed doors.

 

With the intention of creating a video for the Saving Treasures, Telling Stories project, we were taken on a tour around the archaeology department on our first day of placement. We were fortunate to be shown around the stores, where many remarkable items were kept for preservation and research. Some of the items we viewed were Roman and prehistoric pots, vases and burial urns, which allowed us to explore how communities and cultures operated thousands of years ago.

 

The following day we attended Cyfarthfa Museum in Merthyr Tydfil, which is to acquire a hoard of five Roman Denarii, with thanks to funding from the Saving Treasures project. We filmed museum staff and the finders of the hoard, and heard about its significance. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the metal detectorists who discovered the hoard, and how proud they were of their achievement.

 

We spent the next few days editing the video together back at the University of South Wales campus. This proved to be a difficult job, as there were so many great shots to choose from, so it was difficult to decide which to cut out. However, the staff were always on hand to answer any questions we had and help out where possible.

 

Working at the National Museum Cardiff was a wonderful experience, and we were able to appreciate just how much work goes on behind closed doors to create the exhibitions we see. This work and research has helped us to understand history and past cultures in greater detail, and we would like to thank all the staff for their friendliness and a great week.