Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales


Did you know that an exhibition of sculpture for the blind was held at National Museum Cardiff in 1980?

Neither did I until a colleague of mine mentioned it recently. Intrigued, I did some digging to find out more.

The exhibition was the first of its kind in the Museum. It brought together 10 sculptures of different materials and textures which blind and visually impaired visitors were invited to touch. Rodin's 'Illusions Fallen to Earth', and Frederic Leighton's 'Needless Alarm', which shows a nude female figure startled by a frog, were among the works on display.

To protect the works, a thin layer of burnished wax was applied and visitors wore gloves with the fingertips cut off to reduce the risk of damage from rings or watches. It would be interesting to know what conservators today would advise!

Rubber mats and carpets were used to help lead visitors to the plinths, and the Museum's Friends were on hand to guide visitors around and engage them in conversation about the works.

To complement the exhibition and add a multisensory dimension there was also a display of seasonal scented plants and spices from the Botany collection!

Even though this exhibition was held almost 40 years ago, it is interesting how little has changed. All of the challenges they faced back then – how to strike a balance between conservation and accessibility, how to help orientate visitors, and introducing a multi-sensory element – are ones we’ve been thinking about recently.

We haven’t got a new exhibition planned (although it’s something to think about for the future!), but we have been working with members of Cardiff Institute for the Blind on a series of audio description tours. These tours will be offered to blind and visually impaired visitors starting this October.

Since the launch of the Quentin Blake exhibition our inbox has been filling up, and the phone hasn’t stopped with fellow Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake superfans wanting to know more about what's going on. Everyone wants to get involved! So I thought I’d share a little bit of what’s been happening so far.

The Exhibition

People have been coming along to draw in the gallery and already our wall is bursting with wonderful drawings.

Two images of drawings hanging from bull dog clips.

A collection of drawings by children on colourfull paper.

Want to join in?

Activity Booklet

Our activity booklets have been flying out and the competition entries have been coming in thick and fast!

A collection of drawings that were entered in to the competition.

To draw your way around the museum and take part in the competition, just pop in to the Clore Discovery centre to get your very own booklet

Family Workshop 

Families have been making some really nice little storybooks of their very own.  

Two pages from a story zine book that was made in a workshop.
Two pages from a story zine book made in a workshop.



We have a teacher's pack in both Welsh and English that will help you explore the exhibition with your class -  

Cymraeg -

If you would like to bring your class to the museum all the information you need about booking is available at -

The Spring Bulbs for Schools project allows 1000s of school scientists to work with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales to investigate and understand climate change. School scientists have been keeping weather records and noting when their flowers open since October 2005, as part of a long-term study looking at the effects of temperature on spring bulbs.

Certificates have now been sent out to all of the 4,907 pupils that completed the project this year. See Professor Plant's report to view the finsings so far.

  • Make graphs & frequency charts or calculate the mean.
  • See if the flowers opened late in schools that recorded cold weather.
  • See how temperature, sunshine and rainfall affect the average flowering dates.
  • Look for trends between different locations.

I would like to thank all of the Super Scientists that participated this year!

Professor Plant


I actually visited the Mametz Wood exhibition twice. The first time was the official opening, but as I didn’t see anyone that I knew, I spent most of the time hovering at the back during the speeches and the opera recital (which sounded beautiful, but as I know nothing about opera it went over my head a bit), while feeling spectacularly under-dressed next to all the soldiers in their shiny, smart uniforms.

I enjoyed the exhibition itself very much. The work we had done in youth forum had provided helpful context which meant I could appreciate what I was seeing a whole lot more; the Christopher Williams painting was of course a highlight, as was the World War One stretcher and a pistol owned by Siegfried Sassoon, who had fought at the battle.

It was also great to see the work of the very talented Margaret Williams, who I hadn’t heard of before I joined the youth forum, showcased alongside her male counterparts. However, due to the fact that it was an opening, it was very crowded, and being too British to ask people to move slightly aside I missed some of the exhibits. 

I decided to go back a few days later, and this turned out to be a very good idea. This time, there were old music hall and war songs playing quietly in the background. Combined with the ghostly sketches of soldiers, surrounded by their old possessions, it really made you feel as though you had stepped back in time, which surely is a sign a museum has done its job.

It also seems to enhance the sense of the futility of it all. I was surrounded by images and descriptions communicating the brutality, violence and bloodshed, the enormous sacrifice, and in the end, this was all that was left. A pipe, some faded documents, the stretcher rather than the people it had carried, a few old songs, and a collective national sense of loss. It was hard not to feel emotional. All this suffering may have created beautiful art, but the suffering itself hadn’t been worth it at all. 

There was also a video screen showing an actor reading a section of In Parenthesis, originally by David Jones, now adapted for a new opera. Whether it was because of the skill of the actor (whose name escapes me) or all the things I’d just seen and felt, I found I didn’t need to put the headphones on to understand what he was trying to say. 

So, to conclude. War’s Hell: The Battle of Mametz Wood in Art is well worth a visit. And next time I get invited to an exhibition opening, go with a friend and make more of an effort than just jeans and a jumper.  

One hundred and forty schools across the UK are to be awarded Super Scientist Certificates on behalf of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales in recognition for their contribution to the Spring Bulbs - Climate Change Investigation.

Huge Congratulations to all these schools!

A big ‘thank you’ to every one of the 4,907 pupils who helped this year! Thank you for working so hard planting, observing, measuring and recording - you really are Super Scientists! Each one of you will receive a certificate and Super Scientist pencil, these will be sent to your school by mid-May.

Many thanks to the Edina Trust for funding this project.

Super Scientist Winners 2016

Each will receive a class trip of fun-packed nature activities.

Ysgol Pentrefoelas - Wales

Biggar Primary - Scotland

Carnforth Primary - England

Runner's up:

Ysgol Nant y Coed - Wales

Severn Primary - Wales

Abbey Primary School - Scotland

St. John the Baptist Primary School – Scotland

St. Nicholas' Primary School - England

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School - England

Highly commended schools:

Alexander Peden Primary School

Allensbank Primary School

Arkholme C of E Primary School

Asmall Primary School

Bacup Thorn Primary School

Barsail Primary School

Bent Primary School

Betws Primary

Bickerstaffe CE Primary School

Blackwood Primary School

Braidwood Primary School

Breckon Hill Primary School

Broad Haven Primary School

Burnside Primary School

Calderwood Primary School

Castlepark Primary School

Chapelton Primary School

Coedpenmaen Primary School

Coppull Parish CE Primary School

Darran Park primary

Drumpark Primary ASN School

Dykesmains Primary School

East Fulton Primary School

Glebe Primary School

Glengowan Primary School

Grange Primary School

Hay on Wye Primary School

Henllys Church in Wales Primary School

High Mill Primary School

Hudson Road Primary School

John Cross CE Primary School

Kelly Street Children's Centre

Lanark Primary School

Law Primary School

Llangors Primary School

Llanharan Primary School

Loch Primary School

Lynnfield Primary School

Maesycoed Primary School

Mellor Saint Mary CE Primary School

Milton of Balgonie Primary School

Murray Primary School

Nantymoel Primary

Netherburn Primary School

Newmains Primary School

Newport Primary School

Our Lady of Peace Primary School

Pirnmill Primary School

Rougemont Junior School

Silverdale St. John's CE Primary School

St. Charles Primary School

St. Cuthberts RC Primary School

St. Joseph's Primary School

St. Paul's CIW Primary School

St. Peter's Catholic Primary School

St. Robert's Catholic Primary

Staining C of E Voluntary Controlled Primary School

Stanford-in-the-Vale Primary School

Stonehouse Primary School

Trellech Primary

Underbank Primary School

Ward Jackson Church of England Primary School

Wormit Primary School

Ysbyty Ifan

Ysgol Bro Tawe

Ysgol Deganwy

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llantrisant

Ysgol Gynradd Llandwrog

Ysgol Rhys Prichard

Ysgol San Sior

Schools with special recognition:

Arkleston Primary School

Beckford Primary School

Brisbane Primary School

Carnbroe Primary School

Castlepark Learning Centre

Dasfen Primary School

Glencairn Primary School

Hakin Community Primary School

Kirkfieldbank Primary School

Lamlash Primary School

Mossend Primary School

Orchard Meadow Primary School

Penygawsi Primary School

Shakespeare Primary School

St Athan Primary School

St David's RC Primary School

St Michael's RC Primary

St. Aidan's Primary School

St. Bernadette's Primary School

St. Columbkille's Primary School

St. Michael's CE Aided Primary School

St. Oswalds V A School

Wellpark Children's Centre

Willow Lane Catholic Primary School

Woodlands Nursery Centre

Ysgol Esgob Morgan

Ysgol Hiraddug

Schools to be awarded certificates:

Colinsburgh Primary School

Bryn Celyn Primary

Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor

Condorrat Primary School

Corsehill Primary School & Nursery Class

Craigbank Primary School

Holytown Primary School

Howwood Primary School

Inchinnan Primary School

Ladywell Primary School

NPTC Group Newtown Campus

Our Lady & St. Francis Primary School

Pontrhondda Primary School

Rashielea Primary School

Rhos Helyg

Rigside Nursery

Rogerstone Primary School

Saint Anthony's Primary School

St. Aidan's Primary School

St. Bridget's Primary School

St. Brigid's Primary School

St. Mark's Primary School

St. Mary's Primary School

St. Paul's Primary School



Tongwynlais Primary School

Whitelees Primary School

Ysgol Coed y Gof

Ysgol Ffridd y Llyn

Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn

Ysgol Mair

Ysgol Pencae

Thank you for all your hard work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant