Amgueddfa Blog: Museums, Exhibitions and Events

When we were designing the exhibition  we discussed different ways visitors could share their connections with the art on show. We designed conversation prompts to get people thinking and post cards for people to give their feedback:

please talk
wall of cards

 

It's been really exciting to read people's responses and we'll be sharing some of our favourites over the coming months along with our thoughts. We'd really like to hear from you as well, tell us what you think, how do you connect with art?

 

Here's the first one:

 

I like this comment because it's so positive, starting with self awareness, other people, then the world. Seeing involvement with art and creativity as a journey is something I can indentify with. In a way we all have the same journey but with different twists and turns which is what makes life so interesting. When someone describes or makes something real you can laugh in recognition. Maybe art is about mutual recognition of beauty, horror and humour?

#WallichXart

 

We've had a great few days at the museum, being half term we created lots of different art activities for visitrs to try in the 'Who Decides' exhibition. People created monsters and put them on sticks and took photos of their favourite things in the gallery.

Visitors made monsters and photgrpahed them with tehir favourite art

Inspired by the sculpture they made sculptures from pipe cleaners. The Besson ceramics collection let people be creative by making their own designs on plates. The visitors really enjoyed taking part and we had a great time to, talking about the art we've chosen with visitors.

sculptures from pipecleaners

There was a (nice!) mess on the floor afterwards but Mike did a great job clearing up!

A happy mess!

If you took part dont forget to share your photos on social media using #wallichXart

Visitors to the exhibition have left some great messages

There will be lots more events and activities happening in the gallery over the coming months. Check our events web page for more information.

Hi Everyone! Uri Guide Dog here, the new doggie bloggist taking over from my big bro Arnie, who’s now retired. I’ve been getting to know National Museum Cardiff very well as it’s one of my mum’s favourite places EVER!

We went to the Museum’s audio tour about Victorian art recently. The paintings and sculptures were beautifully described by the human guides. I was listening intently, even if it did look like I was having a little snooze next to mum. That’s just my listening face.

Anyway I had the chance to meet up with a few colleagues, Guide Dogs Ruby and Alfie, who were also keeping their two-leggeds safe. But we were surprised to find other dogs at the Museum!

I should have known something was up as soon as I arrived… Outside, after a doggie relief moment, I bumped into a colourful dog just sitting on the grass! A beauty, too! I couldn’t believe my luck! But she didn't respond to my waggy tail or my friendly bow. Rude, I thought, but I took a sneaky selfie anyway. Then, inside, I was even more surprised to find a whole pack of multi-coloured pups! I met Oakly, Abi, Smileosaur, Percy and Doris.

Mum explained these are ‘Snowdogs’, and that just like me these are helping dogs too. Except they are made of fiberglass, not fur. They have been made as part of an appeal to help Tŷ Hafan, the children’s hospice in Wales. These sculptural dogs have been decorated by local artists, schools and community groups, and you can follow the Snowdogs: Tails in Wales trail to find them all around Cardiff and the Vale!

As we sat next to the dogs a little girl came up to say hello. She gave me a cuddle and said she was from Marlborough Primary School and had actually helped decorate Percy the pup! Everyone in her class had put a fingerprint on a red background to create a flower pattern on their dog. She was very proud of their work. I told her Percy is PAW-SOME. He really is.

Apparently the Snowdog was chosen because it features in a film, based on a character created by Raymond Briggs. The Snowdog helps a boy deal with the loss of his pet dog by taking him on a magical adventure.

The pack of Snowdogs are going to be sold at auction after the public exhibition and trail finishes. The money raised will help support lots of children and their families, proving that Guide Dogs are not the only dogs who change lives. Good job guys! 

 

The Museum's next Audio Description Tour takes place on 7th December

Halloween Traditions

Halloween is fast approaching and no doubt that many children across Wales will be deciding on what scary character they’d like to dress up as, sweets will be purchased for trick or treating and pumpkins carved. Some of these traditions we’ve adopted from our American friends, but in this blog I’d like to give a flavour of other ways that this time of year was marked in the Welsh calendar, some of which you’ll be able to see at our St Fagans Halloween event on 29 - 31 of October.

Harvest and Winter’s Eve marked the period in the calendar where the last of the major agricultural tasks had come to an end, particularly bringing in the harvest before the winter time and marked the end of the old Celtic year referred to as Nos Calan Gaeaf or ‘the eve of the winter kalend’ which signified the end of summer and the beginning of winter. To mark this a feast was often held to thank neighbours for their help with the harvest, music and food would be provided. Calan Gaeaf was also associated with the slaughter of farm animals for the winter. It was on Nos Calan Gaeaf or All-Hallows Eve that the strangest things were said to occur. Not only were spirits said to roam freely but it was believed that the ghosts of the dead were to be seen at midnight on every stile. In different parts of Wales these ghosts took on different characters but two of the most common were the ladi wen [white lady], and mainly in North Wales the tail-less black sow [hwch ddu gwta] and was associated with lighting bonfires after dark, as the fire died down they feared the appearance of the black sow and would chant verses such as:

Adref, adref am y cynta’, Hwch Ddu Gwta a gipio’r ola’

Be sure you are the first at home, the tail-less black sow is sure to roam.

And also

Hwch Ddu Gwta a Ladi Wen heb ddim pen

Hwch Ddu Gwta a gipio’r ola’

Hwch Ddu Gwta nos G’langaea

Lladron yn dwad tan weu sana.

The black sow and headless white lady,

Will try and catch the last to leave,

Thieves abound knitting stockings,

Beware the tail-less black sow on winter’s eve.

Superstitions

Much superstition was also attributed to this time of year especially in a fortune telling capacity. The main questions to be answered were who was to be married and who was to meet an untimely death. The types of fortune telling practices depended on the area. In Montgomeryshire they created a mash of nine ingredients which included potatoes, carrots, turnips, peas, parsnips, leeks, pepper and salt and mixed with milk and in the centre was placed a wedding ring. Each participant would try a bit of the mash and if they were lucky enough to find the ring it would indicate an imminent marriage! You will be able to see this custom demonstrated at the Abernodwydd Farmhouse during the Halloween nights at St Fagans next week.

Another fortune telling was peeling an apple without breaking the skin and thrown over the shoulder. The letter created would indicate the initial of your future spouse. In the Llandysul area three bowls would be filled. One with soil, one with water containing sediment and one with clean water. The participant would be blindfolded and would be asked to touch one of the bowls. The first prophesised death before marriage, the second a troubled marriage and the third a successful marriage. Games were also played such as apple bobbing or the more dangerous version was trying to grab a dangling apple with your teeth which also had a candle attached!

Frightening objects in the collection

Also during our Halloween nights several more sinister objects from our collection will be on display. One of these is a charm doll from Belgium from the Lovett collection, collected by Edward Lovett (1852-1933) who had a fascination for charms – lucky or otherwise. It’s a doll made of wax and could be used to hurt people by having pins and sharp object inserted into it. By melting the wax doll slowly in a chimney, it could even bring about someone’s painful lingering death.

A Witchcraft bottle with a charm inside will also be on display. It’s never been opened and it’s thought that bottles such as this were placed inside walls and buildings to guard against evil spirits.

Ghost Stories from the Oral History Archive

Many thousands of people have been recorded by the staff at St Fagans over the years and among these recordings are ghostly stories and experiences remembered by interviewees or told to them by past generations. Some of these have been put on People’s Collection Wales. Click on the links below and listen to a selection. The lady in the second clip remembers talk of the Hwch Ddu Gwta or Tail-less Black Sow as mentioned above. Below is also an image of The Conjuror, Evan Griffiths talked about in the third clip.   

McClaren Colliery Ghost 

https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/606763

Hwch Ddu Gwta   

https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/606778

Y Crinjar/ The Conjuror

https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/606781

 

 

Hi, it’s me Mike, volunteer curator with The Wallich working on a new exhibition called ‘Who Decides: Making Connections with Contemporary Art’. The old exhibition that was in the gallery has come down, it’s totally empty now.

 

The last exhibition has all been taken out and the gallery is eerily empty

So we are going to start this new exhibition; with new art, photos and films that you won’t have seen before. You can see some of my favourite pieces. I really hope you enjoy this new exhibition.

We've been busy choosing work for the new exhibition

 ‘Who Decides: Making Connections with Contemporary Art’ opens on October 26th 2017. More information here and here