Curatorial Departments

Research at Amgueddfa Cymru

Conservator working on a whale skeleton
textile conservators at work

Theo Tamblyn and bivalve expert Anna Holmes getting to the bottom of a tricky identification.

Who are we?

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum of Wales encompasses seven major museums across Wales, along with the National Collections Centre at Nantgarw which stores thousands of fascinating objects that are not on display. Together, these sites give the Museum its unique inter-disciplinary character. This enables us to use our collections to research a wide range of areas, including geology, botany and zoology, social history, archaeology, industry, art, collections, learning, and library and archives - in short, the science, history and culture of Wales and beyond.

Why do we do research?

Research is fundamental to everything that we do as a national museum. We play a key role in contributing to national and international research scholarship in our key areas of expertise. We aim to use our research to promote an informed and actively-enquiring citizenry and the development of a strong and prosperous society in Wales and beyond.

Research ensures our public programmes and exhibitions are properly informed by the latest research. It enables us to present our collections online so they can be used by a wide range of researchers and enquirers. It supports and enhances conservation of our heritage assets. Most importantly, research enhances knowledge and understanding of Wales and its place in the world, contributes to awareness of global issues and helps us to answer important and pressing questions facing society today.

In this way, research contributes to our Vision: to inspire people to find a sense of well-being and identity, to discover, enjoy and learn bilingually, and to understand Wales’ place in the wider world.

What research do we do?

Our research is conducted through the collection, recording, preservation, elucidation and presentation of objects and associated knowledge, whether connected or not with Wales. It helps us ask and answer some key questions confronting Wales and wider society today:

  • How can our collections help us find out about changes to the environment and how they are affecting our ability to live sustainably?
  • What are the basic raw materials present in Wales and how have humans exploited them through time?
  • What are we finding out about new species of fauna and flora and how can this help us understand environmental change not only today but also in the geological past?
  • How do historical remains from archaeological excavations shed light not only on past ways of life, but also help us understand the nature of our society today?
  • What was Wales’ role in the industrial revolution and how did its early industries (textile production, metal-smelting, iron working, slate quarrying, coal mining) influence the way its society developed and impacted the rest of the world?
  • What can our art and photography collections tell us about the role of Wales in shaping and contributing to national and international artistic movements, careers, collections, networks and communities of art practice, and vice versa [how the culture, practice and patronage of art in Wales have been shaped by national and international influences]?
  • In terms of its art and design history and culture, in what ways is Wales distinctive in an international context?
  • How do objects, artefacts and specimens help us answer important research questions, and how can we understand their material properties better so they can continue to provide vital evidence for enquiry?
  • How can we develop and deepen our relationship with communities and citizens, who are both visitors and non-visitors, so that we can become more outward-facing and inclusive in our learning activities?
  • How has Wales evolved from deep time through to the present day?

Find out more

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Get in touch

We would like to hear from anyone who has an interest in our research, and who would like more information.
For general enquiries, please email Bella Dicks, Head of Research

Professor Bella Dicks

Head of Research
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