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This week’s Youth Forum again made me think about museums and what they can do, and how they should be, in a different way.

While looking at art from the First World War had at times been a sensory overload, this time we were trying to understand what it would be like to come to a museum without one specific sense fully intact. How to make museum exhibits more accessible for the partially sighted?

Having always gone to museums with my sight in (near enough) tip top condition, I and probably others tended to presume it was a pretty necessary requirement. If I had trouble seeing the paintings/sculptures/artefacts, then I don’t think I’d want to go. Because if seeing is believing, and I couldn’t see what I was supposed to be learning about, then surely I wouldn’t learn very much and would end up feeling quite left out, even though this obviously shouldn’t be the case.

And it doesn’t have to be! The paintings and sculptures that we looked up were a bit of a mix, ones that more well-known and some that were completely new. Among the ideas that we came up with, for example, involved the painting Bad News, by James Tissot, incorporating the playing of military marching music alongside the painting to evoke the solemnity and sorrow of leaving your family to go off and fight in another corner of the world.

Similarly, for Entrance to Cardiff Docks by Lionel Walden, lighting effects could imitate the lights of the port and the surrounding buildings, with sound effects of ships coming into port, water slapping against the quay, sailors shouting to each other. We could have smells to add to the experience (although maybe not the fish!). Instead of rough sailors accompanying Manet’s San Maggiore by Twilight, it would be the gentle, joyful peel of Italian church bells.

In front of a painting of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, Thomas Apperly and Edward Hamilton by Pompeo Batoni there could be a table with the objects and chairs laid out exactly as they are in the picture, as if the subjects had just finished the sitting and left only a few moments ago. David Nash’s intriguing sculpture Multi-Cut Column could have smaller imitations made of it, that people could actually pass around and touch, something rarely allowed in any exhibit. 

I realise there would be some technical issues in making sure it wasn’t distracting or taking away from the other exhibits, and that maybe not all these ideas will actually become a finished product, but I hope that at least some of them do work out. Because who wouldn’t want to experience this? It might be a bit like theatre, the art being brought to life, stepping into the painting. While I’m definitely thankful I’m not visually impaired in any way, I’m also thankful I took the time to try and understand the experience of those who are. 
 

  • Our next Audio Description Tour will take place on 8 December and will be of our Natural History collections.

We've had some lovely, poetic and evocative examples in our Dylan Thomas themed family workshops these past couple of weeks, lots of laden christmas trees, roaring fires, burning christmas puds, snow boots and snowmen, and stocking full to bursting point to name but a few, here are some photos of some of them.

Inspired by the amazing Peter Blake exhibition 'Llareggub' (Peter Blake illustrates Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas) we are going to be enjoying extracts from Dylan Thomas' 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' in the Clore Discovery Centre and making lovely bags to store our own festive treasures.

As can be seen from the photograph of our prepartations the activity will involve lots of ribbon, shiny bells, the wonderful words of Dylan Thomas and a chance for you to share your favourite Christmas memories.

 

Nadolig Llawen / Happy Christmas

 

 

It hasn't been our busiest week in terms of numbers but I can't blame our visitors for wanting to make the most of the lovely weather. Not being as frantic as we often are has meant that families have been able to spend a long time engaging with some lovely handling objects and learnt a lot about Bronze Age design. I have been tweeting pictures of people's creations every day, but here are two photos from the week.

 

Tomorrow we change activities to look at and make our own Bronze Age shields.

Also I wanted to mention a very exciting family treasure hunt we are running throughout the museum during the school holidays. Cardiff Bay Rotary Club have kindly donated some book tokens as prizes. Come and see us for more information.

Have a nice weekend

 

Here in the Clore Discovery Centre we've been running round like crazy preparing to deliver a busy programme of Family Learning workshops throughout the summer holidays. Starting on Saturday 20th July we'll be running a different workshop every week for six weeks.

Have a look at the photo below for a taste of what we (you!) will be creating!

Every workshop links to an exhibtion,display or collection at National Museum Cardiff. The schedule for the six weeks is:

 

Week 1 (July 20th - 26th)Dress to Impress Bronze Age Style Visit the Mold Cape for inspiration to create your own lunula

Week 2 (July27th - Aug 2nd) Dress to Impress Bronze Age Style Visit the Mold Cape for inspiration to create your own Bronze Age Shield

Week 3 (Aug 3rd - 9th) Fishing for the Future
Discover what you can do to protect the fish in our seas and make some fish-inspired art to take home.

Week 4 (Aug 10th - 16th) Mughal India
Make your own story inspired by work in the exhibition.

Week 5 (Aug 17th - 23rd) Flying Lizards
Find out more about Pterosaurs and make a flying lizard to take home.

Week 6 (Aug 24th - Sept 1st) Pop Art
Make your own vinyl album cover inspired by works of art from the ‘Swinging Sixties’.

These workshops will happen in the Clore Discovery Centre between 11am and 4pm

They are free, and are drop in sessions which means places may be limited at times! But worry not, we have a gallery full of awe inspring museum objects for you to explore through handling, as well as plenty of trails and worksheets.

Hope to see you during the Summer!

Dont forget to follow @cloreexplorer