Amgueddfa Blog

Celebrating Diversity in Sport

Fflur Morse, 30 September 2022

The 30th of September is National Sporting Heritage Day, and this year’s theme is diversity in sport. 

Today is an opportunity to celebrate the sporting heritage of under-represented communities and use the stories they hold to educate and inspire.

This blog will explore highlights from the collection at Amgueddfa Cymru to shine a light on diverse sporting stories in Wales.  

Cardiff Dragons FC shirt worn by Murray Harvey

Cardiff Dragons FC was founded in 2008 and is Wales' first and only LGBTQ+ football team. Their first match was held on Sunday 26 October 2008 where they beat the London Romans 5-4 at Caedelyn Park, Whitchurch, Cardiff. This football shirt was worn by the captain, Murray Harvey (a member of Cardiff Dragons from 2008 until 2018), at this first match. 

Swansea Vikings RFC shirt worn by David Parr

Swansea Vikings RFC are a gay and inclusive rugby team. Founded on 9 May 2015, they are the first ever created in Swansea and the second to be created in Wales. 

This is their first kit and was worn by David Parr who joined Swansea Vikings in January 2016. David stated that,

“Being part of an open, inclusive club that doesn't discriminate has been great for my self confidence, physical and mental health and has enabled me to make many lifelong friendships. I wore the kit on many occasions throughout 2016 and 2017 including against fellow LGBT team the Cardiff Lions in January 2017”.

Signed publicity photograph of boxer, Pat Thomas

Pat Thomas was born in 1950 on the island of Saint Kitts, and moved to Cardiff aged seven. In a career spanning fourteen years he won several titles in two weights, including British Welterweight (1975 & 1976), British Light Middleweight (1979 and 1980) and Welsh Light Middleweight (1977). He founded the Tiger Bay Boxing Club in 1984, and after retiring from professional boxing he worked as a trainer.

Flyer designed by Anthony Evans for the Wales Anti-Apartheid Movement

Double sided Flyer designed by Anthony Evans for the Wales Anti-Apartheid Movement (WAAM). The flyer was made to advertise a demonstration held in Cardiff on 16 April 1986 to protest against a rugby match between the British Lions and the Rest of the World. The Rest of the World squad included six Springboks from South Africa.

Inscribed: 'NO LINKS WITH SOUTH AFRICAN BLOOD SPORTS / 'Mae nhw'n chwarae â gwaed yn NE AFFRICA - dim cysylltiadau.

Olympic Games Blazer Badge worn by Eileen Allen

This is a blazer badge decorated with the Union Jack with the inscription: OLYMPIC GAMES 1952 The Olympic Games of 1952 was held in Helsinki, ten years later than intended due to the outbreak of World War II. 

The badge was worn by Miss Eileen Allen from Cardiff, a member of Team GB 1952, and one of two Welsh referees on the hockey panel of that year. 

This was a great achievement for a female referee, succeeding in a male dominated world, when only men could compete in hockey at the Olympic Games. 

Stonewall Rainbow Laces 

Lastly, these are a pair of Stonewall ‘Rainbow Laces’ in original packing. These laces were first launched by Stonewall in 2013, to promote LGBTQ+ equality and tackle homophobia in sport. This pair was given out to people attending a Stonewall Cymru Role Models Programme in Cardiff in November 2019.

The label reads:

MAKE SPORT EVERYONE’S GAME 

The people mentioned in this blog have made an immense contribution to Welsh sport, insuring that sport is inclusive to all. Their stories have become part of the national memory and will continue to inspire generations of people to follow in their footsteps.

It’s important that we continue to increase representation in the national collection, so that it is more representative of the contemporary diverse cultures of Wales.

Please get in touch if you have any objects you would like to donate to help build up the sports collection at Amgueddfa Cymru, so we can continue to diversify the collection and ensure that future generations will be able to learn about all of Wales’ sporting heritage. 

Finally, you can search and view objects from the collection on the Museum’s Collections Online catalogue. 

#NSHD2022

 

Everlasting flowers in St. Fagans

Luciana Skidmore, 1 September 2022

The act of drying flowers dates back to ancient times. In the past flowers and herbs were dried and utilised for decorative, medicinal and culinary purposes. In Medieval times they were used to repel insects and even conceal unpleasant odours. Drying flowers became a popular hobby and preservation method in the Victorian period in England. For thousands of years flowers have had a symbolic meaning in rituals, passages, religious activities and artistic expression. Dried flowers are now more fashionable than ever due to their everlasting beauty and convenience.

This year thousands of flowers were grown in the gardens of St. Fagans for the purpose of drying. They have been naturally air-dried and beautiful flower arrangements were created by our garden trainees. These are now available to purchase in the Museum store. 

Besides their outstanding and long-lasting beauty dried flower arrangements offer many advantages. They can be used in weddings as bouquets, buttonholes, corsages and centrepieces. Because they are dried, they do not require water. They can be bought months in advance and stored with ease, releasing the pressure of having to care for fresh flowers on the big day. They can also be kept and preserved as memories of such a special day. 

They are perfect for home decoration or gifting.  You can create permanent floral arrangements that will enhance your home without the need to buy fresh flowers every week. Did you know that imported fresh flowers can have 10 times the carbon footprint of flowers grown in the UK? Imported cut flowers are flown thousands of miles in refrigerated airplane holds. When grown in colder climates they need heated greenhouses which generate higher carbon dioxide emissions. Not to mention the use of pesticides and fertilizers used in the production of perfect blooms. Fresh roses in February? Not so rosy for our planet.

The cut flowers grown in St. Fagans gardens have been grown from seeds sown in April in our unheated greenhouses. They were planted outside in May when the weather was warming up and have been growing happily and healthily producing beautiful blooms throughout Summer. No pesticides, fertilizers or harmful chemicals were used in this process. Besides being grown sustainably the flowers also provide a source of nectar for pollinators including bees and butterflies. It is always a great joy to admire the hive of activity in our cut flower bed. 

The flowers are harvested in dry weather when they are partially or fully open. Excess foliage is removed, small bunches of flowers are tied together and hung upside down on bamboo canes or strings in a dark and dry area with good air circulation. The flowers are left to dry for two to three weeks until completely dry. Floral arrangements including bouquets, posies, buttonholes, corsages, floral crowns and wreaths can be created with dried flowers. 

There is a vast number of plants that can be dried and used in floral arrangements. Drying flowers such as lavender and hydrangeas or grasses such as Stipa gigantea and Pampas grass is a great way to get started. The stars of our cut flower garden this year are: Limonium sinuatum, Craspedia globosa, Helipterum roseum, Achillea millefolium ‘Cassis’, Limonium suworowii ‘Rat Tail’ and the soft grass Panicum elegans ‘Sprinkles’. 

If you are coming to St. Fagans National Museum of History, please visit our magnificent gardens and take a look at the beautiful floral arrangements available in the Museum shop. 

 

 

In So Many Words: An Interactive Poetry Display

Rachel Carney, 30 August 2022

What makes you spend time looking at a particular painting? What is it that draws you in? It can be difficult to put these thoughts into words, and that’s where poetry can help.

From 6th September to 6th November there’ll be an interactive poetry display in our ‘Art in Eighteenth Century Britain’ gallery. You’ll be able to read (or listen to) a number of poems written in response to some of the paintings. There’ll also be an invitation for you to have a go at writing a poem of your own…

So, why poetry? You may well ask. Poetry can take us in unexpected directions. It can help us to articulate thoughts and impressions that we weren’t even aware of, to understand our own subconscious response to a work of art. It can help us to engage with art in a different way, seeing it from a fresh perspective.

The poems don’t have to be ‘good’. They don’t even have to look like poems. This is about slowing down and letting a different part of your brain take over – the part of your brain that ponders in ways you may not be aware of, as you look at works of art, translating your thoughts into words.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. Each creative response will give us a new interpretation, a new lens through which to see.

The interactive display will include poems written by a diverse group of individuals who took part in a series of writing workshops this summer, alongside poems written by museum visitors. The display forms part of a PhD research project organised by Cardiff-based poet Rachel Carney, funded by the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership.

Listen to the poems on our What’s On page.

Find out more about this research, and how you can help.

You can also read about and take part in a similar project: Art & Words, that took place on Instagram in 2021.

Patchwork of Memories – Remembrance and grief during Covid 19

Loveday Williams, 13 July 2022

In 2020 Amgueddfa Cymru and Cruse Bereavement Support Cymru came together to support people across the country through their grief and create a lasting memorial full of memories to those lost during the time of Covid-19. It involved creating a square patch containing a memory of a loved one, in which ever way people chose, in whatever words or images they liked. Each patch created demonstrated a visual display of lasting memories of someone they loved who had died, created in unprecedented times.  50+ patches were sent to the Museum and have been carefully sewn together to form a Patchwork of Memories.

For the last two year we have all lived very different lives, with change to our normal the only constant. Losing a loved one is always hard but usually we have the comfort of others and collective mourning at funerals to help us say goodbye and share our memories.  However, a death in the last two years has meant many of us being cut off from our support networks and our rituals or remembrance being altered.  

Rhiannon Thomas, previous Learning Manager at St Fagans said about this project “Helping people with grief is something that I am personally passionate about. Having worked with Cruse Bereavement Support previously to support families I felt the Museum was able to help families dealing with loss in a different way.  Amgueddfa Cymru and Cruse Bereavement Support Wales came together to create a project based around creativity and memory, the aim being to make a lasting memorial to those who have died during the pandemic.” 

Creating something is not a new response to grief, there are several Embroidery samplers in Amgueddfa Cymru’s collections made in memory of loved ones or marking their passing.   This sampler by M.E. Powell was created in 1906 in memory of her mother.   Creativity during difficult times of our lives can help all of us to express deep held emotions that we do not always have the ability to put into words. 

Bereavement Support Days

Alongside the Patchwork of Memories initiative, the Cruse / Museum Partnership also provide a safe inspirational space for the increasing numbers of children and young people awaiting bereavement support and help meet the diverse needs of bereaved children, young people and families who benefit from coming together to rationalise, explore and understand that they are not alone in their grief. 

A series of quarterly Bereavement Support Days are held in partnership with St Fagans, for children, young people and their families experiencing grief and loss. There is specialist support from Cruse staff and volunteers along with art and craft activities provided by Head for Arts and immersive Virtual Reality experiences provided by PlayFrame, which are light-hearted, allowing people attending the chance to make and create things that can be taken home with them and or captured and stored into a virtual memory box. The activities available are designed to stimulate rather that prompt.

Here is the film created by PlayFrame on Ekeko, the virtual memory space they have been creating alongside this project, installing objects, memories and stories donated by participants into a virtual memory box for people to enter and explore:

https://youtu.be/KoQE00ff-rc 

And a link the virtual reality memory space itself: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/quest/6371190072951353/

Alison Thomas, Cruse CYP Wales Lead said “Cruse Bereavement Support Wales provides in person support to children and young people within a variety of settings, so we see first-hand how difficult it can be for grieving children and young people. Their collective support on these days allows families the time and space to verbalise and begin to understand their loss and associated emotions. The focus of the Bereavement Support days is around children and young people, however, the benefits resonate through the whole family including the adults in attendance, some of whom require bereavement support on the day, most of whom stay for the duration and share a cuppa and chat with other bereaved parents and guardians. Following the session, the whole family can have a look around the Museum and spend time together in a safe and nurturing setting.”

Here are some of the written (in their own handwriting) evaluation feedback quotes from children, young people and parents / guardians who have attended the Bereavement Days:

'I feel calmer, less worried.  It was good being able to speak to people my age who understood what I'm going through.'

'I was very included in all the activities and was always involved in conversation.  There was a calm atmosphere making it easier to speak to people there.'

'I was very welcomed and was immediately approached by a friendly face.  It was very inviting and was easy to speak to people there.'

'HAPPY' 🙂

'Love 🙂 happy'

'Thank you Diolch, Diolch 🙂'

A mother of one of the young people said 'I feel much better than I did.'

Another mother said 'All was lovely, made to feel welcome, everything we did was good and the girls enjoyed themselves.'

The two memory quilts will be competed by the end of August 2022, following which we will hold a final project event with Cruse Bereavement Support Wales on 25th September at St Fagans National Museum of History, where we will display the two quilts and invite both the contributors who sent squares and the participants from the Bereavement Support Days to attend, along with the public, to see the quilts and share their experiences of taking part in the process.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation Results 2021-22

Penny Tomkins, 1 July 2022

Hi Bulb Buddies,

I’ve had an interesting time compiling the end of year report for the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation. I’ve attached the reports on the right for you but let’s take a quick look at some of the highlights!

Remember that our weather readings are taken between November and March, meaning that records for each year include readings from the November and December of the previous year. For example, when the report talks about results for 2012 it’s referring to data taken from November 2011 to March 2012.

2022 saw slightly higher than average temperatures and the second warmest February of our investigation. The MET Office has stated that February 2022 was the fifth warmest on record based on measurements dating back to 1919.

 

The graph shows that 2022 was the fourth warmest period of our study.

2022 saw the lowest and highest average hours of sunshine of our investigation. The MET Office has stated that 2022 saw the dullest December since 1956! It also saw the sunniest January and second sunniest March based on records dating back to 1919.

 

2022 saw the second highest hours of sunshine of our investigation. There are 25 hours difference between the year that saw the highest average hours of sunshine (2012) and the year that saw the lowest (2016).

 

We can see from the chart that 2022 saw the lowest average rainfall of our investigation for November and January and the second lowest for March. In contrast, it saw the third highest rainfall for February. The MET Office has stated that February 2020 was the wettest on record with measurements dating back to 1862!

The bar chart shows that 2022 saw the lowest average rainfall of our investigation at 90mm while 2016 was the wettest year of the project with an average rainfall of 158mm.

Our results show that plants flowered earliest in Wales and latest in Scotland. Scotland was the coldest country and saw the least sun.

 

2022 saw both plants flower earlier than the overall average. It’s interesting to compare results from 2022 with the overall averages for the project. The table shows that 2022 saw above average temperatures and hours of sunshine and below average rainfall when compared to previous years.

 

The graph shows average hours of sunshine for the period November-March for Wales. We can see from the chart that Wales saw lower than average hours of sunlight for the period November 2001 to March 2022. It’s interesting to note that the years 2006 to 2012 all saw higher than average hours of sunshine and that since then only one year (2015) has seen above average hours of sunshine.

The difference between averages for Wales and averages for the UK highlights the regional variations that can occur. The MET Office have recently announced interesting regional variations in their latest climate reports. Climate is measured in 30-year periods, in line with guidelines from the World Meteorological Organisation. A comparison between the 1961-1990 and 1991-2020 periods has revealed an increase in temperature (+0.8°C), rainfall (+2.3%) and sunshine (+5.6%) for the UK.

It will be interesting to see what patterns will emerge from our results as our long term study continues. Thank you for your contribution to this year’s investigation and I hope that you will follow the progress of the 2022-23 investigation from September.

Great work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant