Amgueddfa Blog

We recently welcomed a group from Greening Our City, an environmental conservation project by Innovate Trust and National Resources Wales. They visited National Museum Cardiff to take part in activities linked to the Museum’s Urban Meadowa wildlife haven we created on the east side of the building.

In the morning session we used clay, soil and poppy seeds to make seed bombs. These can be thrown onto disturbed earth in a garden or even just placed in a plant pot, and will eventually produce beautiful red poppies. The flowers will not only look nice, but also provide a vital food source for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

We then ventured out onto the Urban Meadow to see what wildlife we could spot. At first, everything seemed quiet, but it wasn’t long before we started to find lots of different minibeasts. In a period of just 20 minutes we saw spiders, snails, bumblebees, wasps, grasshoppers, crane flies and two species of ladybird!

Photograph of two people hunting for invertebrates on the Museum's Urban Meadow
Photograph of a person hunting for invertebrates on the Museum's Urban Meadow

After a break for lunch, we gathered in the Clore Learning Space for our second workshop. Inspired by our morning session, we made models of insects and other invertebrates using colourful modelling clay. The group created spiders, snails, caterpillars, ladybirds and more.

We then split into two groups and used iPads to make stop-motion animations. Great patience is needed to make this kind of animation, as every second of finished film requires around ten still photographs.

You can watch the finished products below. In one, a spider, a ladybird and an ant meet up and take a selfie, while the other tells the dramatic tale of an invertebrate dance! I think you'll agree the group did a brilliant job directing their animations.

Gif animation showing clay models of insects dancing

The Dance

Gif animation showing clay models of insects moving around

Friends

Once that was complete, there was just enough time for the group to complete our summer trail. This quiz takes visitors on a journey around the museum to answer questions based on our new exhibition, Poppies For Remembrance.

If you are a community group and would like to take part in similar activities, please get in touch on (029) 2057 3240.

If you would like to know more about our Urban Meadow, download the free learning resource from our Learning pages.

 

Hi, I’m Thea, a sixth form student from Shropshire who decided to create this short video as part of my work experience at the National Museum Cardiff.

I had heard about Who Decides? before I became involved in the exhibition, so I was very eager to find out more. After working with the public opinion cards, speaking to the people involved in the museum and doing some short interviews, I created an animation that I thought would best reflect the aims of exhibition and the feedback it had received.

I am passionate about art and against the idea that art and museums are ‘elitist’ or should be for the ‘privileged’ rather than the majority, so I wanted to focus on this issue in the video.

Working with the Wallich

The exhibition itself was incredibly eye opening for me; the museum had decided to work with the charity The Wallich to involve people with experience of homlessness in the process of designing and creating the exhibit and gives the public the chance to choose some of the artwork on display. I haven't seen an exhibition that has ever taken this kind of approach, so I found it intriguing to see how others reacted to the idea.

I hope this refreshing approach to curation will be an archetype for future exhibits and museums because it challenges what we usually connote with galleries and exhibits and hopefully encourages more people to visit exhibitions and museums.

Who Decides? is on show at National Museum Cardiff until 2 September 2018. You can also contribute to Who Decides? by voting for your favourite work to be ‘released’ from the store and placed on public display.

Part 2, Working with our community partners.

 

Powysland Museum is working with the National Museum’s Saving Treasures; Telling Stories on an Archaeological Jewellery project.

In this update we hear from some of their community partners.

Welshpool Camera Club

The club has around 40 members of all abilities, from pros, advanced, to amateurs, who all ‘club together’ to ensure members’ photographic skills are challenged regardless of technical ability. They look at mastering camera techniques through hands on experience and invite speakers to give presentations.

With many of the archaeological jewellery pieces in Powysland Museum’s project being small, with delicate decoration, it was obvious that the project needed the expertise of good photographers to capture the details and refinement of the pieces.

Powysland Museum was therefore delighted when the Camera Club agreed to be one of the project’s community engagement partners.

The club’s members have got up close and personal with some of the objects and have taken some great close-ups, which have fed into the museum’s work with the other community engagement partners.

Welshpool Young Carers

Welshpool Young Carers are a group of young people who look after and care for one or more members of their family on a full-time basis. Alex Sperr, the project’s community engagement officer, ran a workshop with the group, which produced a delightful and colourful display.

The workshop focussed on the art of the museum display. A display is often the only chance you have for capturing the attention of your intended audience.

It must grab audience members at first glance, hold them there to see what it offers and persuade them to further explore the museum and the artefacts on display.

A display can be used to tell part of an object’s history, and in this workshop we focussed on making jewellery and displays for the Saving Treasures exhibition at Powysland.

The group first visited the Saving Treasures jewellery exhibit, looking at the ways in which objects are displayed.

Exploring how to display rings in the exhibition, the group then made Plaster of Paris hands by using rubber gloves as moulds. Casts of the children’s hands were made using plaster bandage or modroc, and rings were made using recycled materials.

The children then set up their displays as they would like to see them in the exhibition, along with their names.

Buttington-Trewern School

Local poet and writer Pat Edwards has run the “Off the Page” young creative writers’ club at Powysland Museum and is also runs the annual Welshpool Poetry Festival. Her quirky and exciting mind was guaranteed to engage the children.

Pat visited the museum to work with all the junior classes. The children were shown the archaeological jewellery and were even allowed to touch and hold some of the sturdier artefacts – obviously while wearing white, cotton gloves!

This was a unique opportunity for the children to see the objects outside their usual display cases.

Pat Edwards then discussed the theme of jewellery with the children, helping them develop ideas and create stories, poems, posters and other written works involving one or more of the museum objects. Some of the results and photographs from the sessions are on display.

Together with Pat, the museum is planning to develop this creative experience by offering writing classes at the museum during the exhibition period, where visitors can seek inspiration from the objects and practical help from Pat to write and tell their own stories.

The Archaeological Jewellery exhibition runs at Powysland Museum until September, after which you can catch it at Radnorshire and Brecknock Museums.

A huge well done to this year’s winning teams!

Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Llangynwyd - Team Enterprise Winners 2018.

Bryn Celynnog Comprehensive School - People’s Choice Winners 2018.

For the past 3 years Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales has run a competition for students undertaking the Museum’s Welsh Baccalaureate product challenge for Enterprise & Employability (National/Foundation).

The Challenge Brief is to create an innovative product for the Museum shop, which reflects the objects and collections across the 7 Museum sites.

Students have the opportunity to showcase their completed work at a competition event.

This year’s event took place in the newly opened Atrium at St Fagans National History Museum. Pupils presented their work to a panel of judges. They also set up displays and communicated their product to members of the public visiting the Museum.

All the pupils said they would recommend the challenge to others. Pupils described key skills developed as a result; from teamwork and thinking to presentation and communication.

 

“Fy hoff rhan oedd gweld beth oedd y cyhoedd yn meddwl am ein cynnyrch a clywed beth oedd ei farn am y cynnyrch”

“My favourite part was working as a team and creating a product that we really enjoyed”

“To answer the questions in the pitch required quick thinking skills.”

Pupil feedback

 

Students from Cardiff & Vale College helped to run the event as part of their Advanced Community Challenge. They were involved in planning and leading on key aspects of the day; from logistics and supporting pupils, to organising and presenting the People’s Choice Award which represented the visitor’s vote.

“I believe it was a great experience as you interact with all different types of people and different ages.”

Helena Vitoria, CAVC student

 

“Once again, the National Museum competition proved a resounding success.”

Sara Davies, Swyddog Bagloriaeth Cymru CA4 Cenedlaethol/Sylfaen | KS4 National/Foundation Welsh Baccalaureate Officer

 

If you would like to take part next year please get in touch.

There are numerous resources to support teachers and students undertaking the challenge, which can be found on the Museum’s website www.museum.wales/learning

The Cardiff 2018 National Eisteddfod Chair is sponsored by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales to the celebrate 70th birthday of St Fagans National Museum of History.

St Fagans has championed crafts in Wales since it opened in 1948, and sponsoring the chair for the National Eisteddfod in 2018 is a fitting celebration, which continues the Museum’s tradition of supporting Welsh craft and makers.

Chris Williams had the honour of designing and making the 2018 Chair. He lives in Pentre and has a workshop and gallery in Ynyshir, Rhondda - he works as a sculptor and is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.

Elements of the chair were made at St Fagans National History Museum in a purpose built building, Gweithdy. This is a brand new sustainable building celebrating the skills of makers past and present - where visitors of all ages can experience traditional craft skills first-hand.

At Gweithdy, Chris demonstrated and shared the process of making the chair with visitors – a first in the history of making the National Eisteddfod chair.

Swipe, or tap the circles below as Chris explains the process of making the iconic Eisteddfod chair:

  • From the Hearth to the Stage

    The 2018 Eisteddfod Chair, through the eyes of its maker

  • The Inspiration

    The 2018 Eisteddfod Chair is inspired by Welsh stick chairs like this one, pictured at Cilewent Farmhouse at St Fagans.

  • Celebrating Welsh Makers

    This Welsh carthen, or blanket, was chosen for its beautiful repeating pattern - becoming the main motif for the chair

  • The rough materials - elm and ash - arriving at the workshop in Pentre

  • I designed the chair in Rhino 3D, so I could have an accurate model. This enabled me to take dimensions, to create jigs and templates for shaping the arms, spindles and legs

  • The seat and back are made from the same elm tree. Sanding the wood reveals the grain, and reveals any defects in the timber that need to be sanded away

  • I shaped the seat with a scorp and cabinet scraper at Gweithdy workshop at St Fagans. It was nice to share this experience of making the chair with the public

  • The seat and back were then engraved using a Co2 laser engraver - thank you to Caerphilly council for letting me use the engraver! The elaborate pattern was inspired by a blanket woven at Esgair Moel woollen mill in the 1960s. The mill (and the blanket) is now at St Fagans museum.

  • The clamping operation was complex and required a number of sash clamps to control the pressure

  • The text on the arms was also engraved with the laser engraver. This was done on a flat piece of ash which was laminated to the curved arms with many, many G clamps

  • Gluing the legs into place

  • Getting closer... The back is mortised into the seat

  • The arms are cut around the back to create a unique join, and glued into place. Then, the spindles are fitted with wedges, to be cleaned when the glue has dried

  • And here's the finished article - the 2018 Eisteddfod chair. Good luck to all the competitors!