Amgueddfa Blog

We have been working hard over the last few years to make our museums more welcoming for visitors with visual impairments, but most of our efforts to date have been aimed at adults. That is until a few weeks ago, when we held our first ever fun day for families supporting a loved one with a visual impairment. The dinosaur-themed event, organised in association with the Children and Young People Services team at Guide Dogs Cymru, proved a roaring success.

Photograph showing families listening to a story about a baby dinosaur

Everyone listening to the noisy dinosaur story.

We began the day with our popular Sounds of the Dinosaurs workshop. This gave everyone a chance to hold some real dinosaur fossils and get a basic introduction to the topic. Once the scene was set, everyone took part in our noisy dinosaur story, Albie the Adventurer. Using recorders, shakers and trumpets, the children had lots of fun recreating the sounds of the prehistoric forest.

Photograph showing a museum staff member leading a sensory tour of the dinosaur babies exhibition.

Museum staff leading the sensory tour of the Dinosaur Babies exhibition

Once we finished the story (and our ears stopped ringing), we paused for tea and cake before venturing out into the galleries. Heading straight to the Dinosaur Babies exhibition, we were joined by museum staff who gave a special sensory guided tour. As the exhibition is full of touchable dinosaur bones and eggs (both replica and real), it made for the perfect tour. Visitors even got to compare an Apatosaurus leg bone with a cow's, and listen to the scary roars of the animatronic dinosaur!   

Photograph of children and museum staff playing in the dinosaur dig pit in the dinosaur babies exhibition

Everyone loved the dig pit!

After the tour, we visited the activity area at the back of the exhibition. There, the children made dinosaur artworks, completed a jigsaw and even dressed up as a T. rex! Finally, everyone got the chance to become a palaeontologist and explore the dig pit. One young visitor even proclaimed, "I wish we could all live in the museum so we could play every day!"

We're still learning about events like this, but thanks to everyone at Guide Dogs Cymru, the day ran very smoothly. We're hoping to do more family days in the future, so if anyone has any ideas, or would like to take part, please get in touch! If you’re unfamiliar with our work to make our museums more accessible, find more information on the blog. There are posts on staff training, work with our youth forum, and of course our friends Arnie and Uri, the blogging guide dogs.


The programme of learning activities for Dinosaur Babies is generously supported by Western Power Distribution.

 

Hello Bulb Buddies,

There isn't long to go until planting day on 20th October! Are you ready? Here are some helpful resources to prepare you for planting your bulbs and for looking after them over the coming months! These are also on the Spring Bulbs for Schools website: https://museum.wales/spring-bulbs/

These resources will help you on planting day:

  • A Letter from Professor Plant (introduction to the project)
  • Adopt your Bulb (an overview of the care your Bulbs will need)
  • Planting your Bulbs (guidelines for ensuring a fair experiment)

And these activities are fun to complete:

  • Bulb Adoption Certificate
  • Make Bulb Labels

It's important that you read these as they contain important information! For example, do you know how deep you need to plant your bulbs? Or how to label your pot so that you know where the Daffodil and Crocus are planted?

Remember to take photos of your planting day to enter the Planting Day Photo Competition!

Keep an eye on Professor Plant's Twitter page to see photos from other schools: https://twitter.com/professor_plant

Best of luck Bulb Buddies! Let us know how you get on!

Professor Plant & Baby Bulb

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

This year the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society is celebrating its 150th anniversary. You can read about the history of the Society, and its close links with the National Museum here and here.

 

Right from the outset the Society amassed its own Library focusing on natural history, geology, the physical sciences, and archaeology.

 

Many of the publications in the Library were received as exchanges with societies and institutions around the world. They would send out copies of their Transactions, and then receive copies of those organisations’ publications in return. Some of the institutions and societies they were exchanging with included; the Edinburgh Botanical Society; the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences; the South West Africa Scientific Society; the Polish Academy of Science; the Royal Society of Tasmania; the Sociedad Geographia de Lima; and the Kagoshima University in Japan.

 

A number of the publications in the Library were later bound by William Lewis, a bookseller and stationer based in Duke Street in Cardiff. They all have beautiful marbled covers, endpapers, and a matching marbling pattern on the edges of the text block. Each one also has a bookplate with an embossed image of the Society logo, they are incredibly beautiful examples of bookbinding.

 

Not all the items in the Library were received on exchange, a great many were also the result of donations, especially by members. A lovely example is a copy of a second edition of An illustrated manual of British birds by Howard Saunders from 1899. Many of the pages contain annotations relating to whether the previous owner had encountered that particular species in the local area, such as spotting the nest of a pair of mistle-thrushes in Penylan in 1900. Unfortunately the signature of ownership is somewhat illegible, so it’s not possible to make out their name, all that we can tell is that they lived in Richmond Road in 1900.

 

There is also a copy of Claudia and Pudens, a book by John Williams published in 1848. The book was presented to the Society by C. H. James Esq. of Merthyr, and in it is attached a letter to T. H. Thomas (a prominent member of the Society) dated 1892. The letter discusses Roman remains in Cardiff, and advises Thomas not to get drawn in to the ‘Claudia myth’, a popular theory suggesting a Claudia mentioned in the New Testament was a British princess. The author of the letter is quite scathing about the claims, calling them “a ridiculous fabrication”.

 

In 1996 a copy of Castell Coch by Robert Drane, a founding member of the Society was donated to the Library. It was published in 1857, and is now quite rare, as according to John Ward (former curator at the Cardiff Museum, and the National Museum), Drane subsequently destroyed as many copies of this book as possible! The copy donated to the Society contains annotations throughout, correcting or commenting on the contents, and a listing of all the people the author presented with copies.

 

In 1925 the Society decided to place its Library in the Museum Library, with the following stipulations;

•              To the ownership of the Society’s Library remaining with the Society

•              To all accessions to the Society’s Library being entered in the Society’s register

•              To all accessions to the Society’s Library being stamped with the Society’s stamp

•              That members of the Society may enjoy the same privileges as at present in the matter of the volumes and periodicals belonging to the Society

•              That this proposal does not refer to the “Transactions”, offprints, and other publications of the Society

 

Later in 1927 they decided to make it a permanent deposit, provided the Museum agreed to the additional stipulations;

●     That members of the Society may enjoy the same privileges as at present in the matter of the volumes and periodicals belonging to the Society, and which may be received in the future in exchange for publications of the Society

●     The Museum will bear the cost of all binding, which shall be undertaken as and when, in the opinion of the Museum Council finances permit. There shall be no differentiation, in this respect, between the Museum Library and the Society’s Library.

 

Although the Society’s Library had been in the care of the Museum Librarian since that time, the Honorary Librarian had always been a member of the Society. But, from 1964 the Honorary Librarian was both a member of the Society and a member of staff in the Museum Library.

 

List of Honorary Librarians

R.W. Atkinson          1892-1902

P. Rhys Griffiths       1902-1906

E.T.B. Reece             1907-1911

H.M. Hallett               1911-1948

H.N. Savory               1949-1962

G.T. Jefferson           1962-1964

E.H. Edwards            1964-1970

E.C. Bridgeman        1970-1976

W.J. Jones                1976-1985

J.R. Kenyon              1985-2013