Amgueddfa Cymru

Hafan

The recent Ivor Davies exhibition “Silent Explosion” at National Museum Cardiff sparked an explosive partnership project. The museum’s Learning Department and artist Claire Prosser worked with Albert Primary School in Penarth on an art project inspired by Ivor Davies's work. Ivor Davies grew up in Penarth and went to Albert Primary School as a child, where he witnessed the war and air raids on Cardiff. Some of his early work is based on these experiences.

The year 5 pupils visited the exhibition at the National Museum which reflects some of those childhood experiences, and made sketches and collages. One of the boys had re-drawn Ivor Davies’ drawing of enemy planes being caught in search lights, and added an additional plane. Ivor Davies himself came to visit the school at the end of the day of walks and hand signed this drawing and many others, much to the delight of the pupils.

On walks around Penarth the pupils discussed conservation, death and decay with Senior Preventive Conservator, Christian Baars. It is not easy to conserve art which was created to be ephemeral. The pupils learned how organic objects, and even rock, are not ever-lasting, and instead part of a big circle of life, death and resurrection in new forms.

The role of any museum, in essence, is to preserve objects by halting that circle at a particular point. Whether this is in line with the artist's intentions, and how museums deal with this conundrum, was part of a "Conservation Conversation" at National Museum Cardiff a few weeks back. Museum curators, conservators and artists were involved in the discussion then. Bringing this theme closer to year 5 pupils proved entirely possible, as they enjoyed learning about how museums preserve objects while thinking about how it is really difficult to make anything last for centuries.

This interdisciplinary partnership project was also a joy to work on for staff, most of all the preventive conservator, as it brought together so many aspects of art and science.

Find out more about care of collections at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales here.

Since September 2015 I have been working with Kate Congdon, Lecturer of ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) at Cardiff and the Vale College. Together we have been working with ESOL students from the college to create learning resources to be used at St Fagans National History Museum as part of the colleges ESOL programme. The resources will provide ESOL students with the opportunity to practice their English abilities whilst learning about the history of Wales.

In September 2015, 200 ESOL students visited St Fagans. The students’ abilities ranged from beginners to those who were nearly fluent. Kate created a questionnaire for the students to choose their top 3 buildings at the Museum. The results of these were split into two groups to reflect the different learners’ levels, lower level and higher level.

Lower Level:

Higher Level:

In December 2015, a small group of students from the lower or entry level visited St Fagans again to act as a focus group for the project. They worked with Kate and I to choose the aspects of the buildings they found most interesting.

More recently, Kate, with information and images provided by the Museum, has designed and developed 2 draft resources for the students to trial, an entry level resource focusing on the St Fagans Castle and a higher level resource focusing on the Rhyd-y-Car Cottages. These were then proof read by myself and members of the curatorial staff team.

On the 17th March I travelled to Cardiff and the Vale College to help Kate trial the resources with her lower level class and one of the higher level groups. I was really impressed with how engaged students from both groups were with the resources. They not only enjoyed the opportunity to learn new words and phrases, but were also fascinated by the histories of the buildings and the people of Wales. From my perspective, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I picked up a few new teaching tips from the ESOL lecturers. I especially liked the use of a mini Welsh rugby ball which was passed around the class as a way for students to know it was their turn to answer questions. The feedback on the resources from the students was very positive and many of them enjoyed the opportunity to discover more about the country they have chosen to call their home.

Kate will be returning to St Fagans in April to meet with myself and Mared McAleavey, Principal Curator: Historic Interiors. We will be discussing the history of the remainder of the buildings that the students chose and the learning activities that can be designed. I am really looking forward to trialling the next set of resources with the students and I’ll be posting updates here in the future. In the mean time you can keep up to date with the work of the Learning, Participation and Interpretation Department by following us on Twitter @StFagans_Learn .

Exhibition review by Museum's Youth Forum.

As youth forum members we were able to help input our opinions into the design of the temporary exhibition and have been able to see it develop from a drawing on paper to a physical form. Today we have examined the exhibition and have evaluated the information and items displayed.

 

The National Museum Wales have been tasked with commemorating the WW1 centenary. Personally, we believe that the exhibition is very interesting as it gives an insight into the medicinal history starting from Ancient Greece right up to the 21st century. We enjoyed the exhibition overall. The video grabbed our attention the most and we were able to see a visual aspect of medicinal practice with a humorous touch.

 

The exhibition has a number of different displays which hold valuable information about medicine and the different tools used to carry out medical procedures such as amputations. It contains a silent video in both Welsh and English that shows a few medical procedures from the Roman times. There are some replicas of medical items in the display case that have been used such as a Face Mask used in World War One to disguise facial wounds. 

 

There is also a small game on an iPad that tests your knowledge of the information in the exhibition. This together with the video has proved to be a success with the general public. Some reviews say that they liked “the doctor video” and a young person enjoyed it when the doctor was “cutting the leg off”.

 

By Joel Powell, Emma Jones and Hannah Sweetapple.

It’s been another busy lambing season down at Llwyn yr Eos – we really hope you’ve enjoyed watching all the action via #lambcam.  This year, as well as welcoming lots of excited visitors to the farm to see our mums and babies, there’s been a couple of new additions to the programme. We ran our first ever Lambing Experience Day Courses and were really pleased to get great feedback that included 'a once in a lifetime experience'! They're something we hope to build on in 2017 - so watch this space!. Our Learning Team also organised lambing tours for schools, with over 600 children visiting (some of whom were lucky enough to witness births happening!).

The lamb-o-meter clocked up 186 at close of play – there’s a few stragglers left to deliver, but we’re on course for a total of 204 births. For those of you who like some stats, here goes…

  • Lambing 204 from 114 ewes gives a lambing percentage of 178% (which is good).
  • The vast majority of those are happy, healthy and with their mothers.
  • But we’ve also lost a few along the way…
    • One set of twins were a late miscarriage.
    • One lamb too premature to survive.
    • 2 failed to thrive and died at a few days old.
    • 2 stillborn.
    • 1 accidentallly smothered by its mother.
  • So far we have ended up with two lambs being bottle fed:
    • One was born very poorly and had to be hand reared from the start.
    • The other was from a set of twins where the mother had mastitis and only had enough milk for one lamb.
    • Both of them are bouncing around happily now.
  • There’s also been a couple of bonuses – two ewes that we thought were carrying singles delivered twins!

So here’s a few of this year’s cutest pictures to keep you going till next year……

We are 6 months old now and still going strong.  We have achived loads in that time, such as treating 130 objects and sorting out the support collection so we can use the objects on site.  We have also produced handcrafted soft furnishings to help improve interpretation in the houses, plus introduced traditional skills back into the historic buildings by using herbs to protect our textiles from pests and creating rag rugs to keep the dust down. Not to mention learning to spin the wool from our sheep.  Phew what a lot!

We are now well settled into our cottage at Llwyn yr eos farm at St. Fagans and even reinstated the open fireplace, which has been a welcome boost to the heating on colder days this winter.  Also it's good for toasting teacakes!

Yesterday we put our work on show during a one day seminar in Cardiff ' Small Changes Add Up' organised by the the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and the Museum. Here are some photos