Press Releases

Another Successful Year for Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales

As Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales prepares to celebrate its centenary in 2007, the organization publishes its latest Annual Report, outlining another exciting and successful period in its history.

During the year, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales published its vision for the future, including the organization's aspiration to become a world-class museum of learning. The Museum consulted widely on its vision and its plans for the future throughout the year.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales Director General, Michael Houlihan, said:

“2005-06 was an incredibly busy year for Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, and we looked closely at our way of working and of planning for the future, asking how we want to develop over the next few years, and how the people of Wales would like to see their national museums developing and moving forward.

“The result of this work is seen in our vision for the future, and our other successes throughout the reporting period and since then stem from the aims and objectives of the vision and our aspiration to become a world-class museum of learning,” he added.

One of the highlights of 2005-06 was the opening of the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea, our newest national museum and the pinnacle of our Industrial Strategy. It was officially opened by Wales's Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. Rhodri Morgan and rugby legend, Gareth Edwards, in October 2005.

By the end of the reporting period, the Museum had already attracted over 80,000 visitors, a proportion of the 1.3 million visitors we welcomed to our museums throughout the year. In the five years since the Welsh Assembly Government 'free entry' policy was established, it is encouraging that Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales's visitor figures were, this year, more than 80% higher than those for the period prior to the introduction of free entry.

It was another successful year for Big Pit: National Coal Museum, with the Museum winning the celebrated Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year 2005 at the beginning of the reporting period. This success was a great boost for visitor figures at the Museum throughout the year. Big Pit was also successful in the Sandford Award, which rewards organizations for their heritage education programmes.

At the beginning of 2006, it was announced that both Big Pit and the National Roman Legion Museum had been awarded prestigious British Educational Communications Agency (BECTA) ICT in Practice awards for collaboration between organizations. The National Wool Museum was also praised for its ability to respond to the needs and aspirations of visitors in this year's European Museum of the Year competition.

In November 2005, the organization launched its new brand, and the 'National Museums & Galleries of Wales' became 'Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales', a simpler name that emphasises our bilingual status, as the full bilingual name is used in all English language communications. The names of our individual museums were also simplified, by using 'National' in the English and 'Cymru' in the Welsh language, to create consistency across our family of national museums.

During the reporting period, the Museum also worked on revising its Charter, to ensure better accountability for the people of Wales. By the date of the publication of the Annual Report, the revised Charter is in place, and the Report will be published in Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales's first Public Open Day, held at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, Saturday 21 October, from 10.30 am. Activities include an opportunity to discuss the Annual Report in a special session chaired by Director General, Michael Houlihan. Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales administers seven national museums across Wales. They are National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales celebrates its centenary in 2007. For more details, visit our 07 pages.

Entry to all Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales sites is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Copies of the Annual Report will be available at our Public Open Day, at all our national museums, by contacting us directly, or by downloading from here.