Press Releases

Behind the Scenes at the Museum - Secret St Fagans Revealed Summer 2004

Pet cemeteries, secret gardens, Celtic spells and long lost films will all be revealed for the first time this summer at the Museum of Welsh Life St Fagans. Workshops, talks, trails and activities will yield many of the museum's best kept secret spaces and hidden places dotted around the 104 acres of woodland, gardens and historic buildings.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum will include historical revelations of our Celtic ancestors in the Iron-Age Celtic Village, the sleeping giant wall paintings that lay hidden for centuries behind white-wash in the St Teilo Llandeilo Tal-y-bont Church and the Italianate secret garden sanctuary of Lady Plymouth and her stern Scottish gardener in the height of the Edwardian era. A giant time machine, children's' imaginations can really run riot with acres of dark woods, haunted castle and fairytale wood-cutters cottages.

Throughout the summer holidays Behind the Scenes at the Museum will offer children's gardening and Art Cart around the medieval fish ponds, Victorian parterre and newly discovered and refurbished Arts and Crafts inspired Italian Garden. Built at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Italian Garden is a Mediterranean haven with agapanthus, roses, orange trees and bright white borders built for the eccentric young Earl of Plymouth and his family but equally enjoyed by their Head Gardener Hugh Pettigrew and his children at a time of strict social division. An Art Cart full of paints and drawing materials will live in the Italian Garden and will be available for all who feel inspired to paint and draw. Walks, talks and workshops on the Plymouth family and the upstairs-downstairs life of a domestic servant in the kitchens of an Edwardian manor house will also be available with a chance for children to learn to plant their own piece of garden history and turn themselves into mini Gertrud Jekylls or the Victorian Jamie Oliver.

The people's picture palaces of the 1930s and 40s will be re-created at the Oakdale Workers Institute complete with usherettes, commissionaire and piano accompaniment. The New Hall or Picture House was built as a community cinema in the nineteen twenties and showed its first silent movie, 'April Showers' in1927. Behind the Scenes at the Museum will also offer a rare peep behind the curtains of the conservation and curatorial world with talks and trails about the amazing audio archive, textile collections, and the secret worlds and lives of the Welsh, revealed when moving buildings stone by stone here to the magical world of Museum of Welsh Life.

Summer at St Fagans also offers free entry for all, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government, the Everyman Theatre Festival, Horse and Cart rides, children's pottery and a working farm with rare Welsh breeds of sheep, cattle and pigs.

For further information contact Esyllt Lord, Press & PR Officer, Museum of Welsh Life T: 029 2057 3486 M: 07810 657176 esyllt.lord@museumwales.ac.uk