End of an era
Last week mainly consisted of a number of internal meetings, such as audit committee, staff executive and so on. All are important of course, but it does mean that during such weeks I do not get the chance to visit sites outside of Cardiff.
The evenings were also busy, and on Tuesday night I went to a dinner hosted by the First Minister to mark the special relationship between Japan and Wales. It was the first type of event since the election, and it was clear that the international profile of Wales will be important to Carwyn Jones over the next few years. His speech was excellent, and I was amazed to learn that there are over 130 companies from Japan operating here in Wales. Though it was a lovely evening, it did strike me that there were very few women present and that most present were men of a certain age in suits, like myself. This was reinforced in a performance by a Male Voice Choir. They were excellent singers, but it did make me wonder if in the future we could showcase a more creative Wales at such events? Something to ponder anyway...
Wednesday evening was also a late evening, this time at the Museum to mark the retirement of our President, Paul Loveluck. I have only been in post in Cardiff for 8 months, so I have not had the privilege of working for years with Paul as some of those present hae done. But in that short time, it is already clear to me that he has been an exceptional President. His combination of vast managerial and Chief Executive experience in different organizations in Wales, and personal values, is exceptional. I have found that Paul is hugely liked and respected by everyone, inside and outside Amgueddfa Cymru. And they in turn feel that he respects them.
His diplomatic skills, and his ability to understand and represent many different groups in Wales, have ensured that significant and potentially serious challenges and difficulties have not developed into crises.
Paul has overseen the most important changes and developments in Amgueddfa Cymru, certainly since the opening of St Fagans in 1948, and possibly since its foundation. His legacy is one of impressive physical transformation of our sites for public good, but it is also of something even more important - an organization that over the last 9 years has been shaped by his values.
The best tribute we can pay to Paul is that Amgueddfa Cymru holds these values close, and carries them forward in its heart. Though we of course look forward to a new chapter with a new President, we will miss Paul and the contribution he's made to our work.
Mae project ‘Bylbiau'r Gwanwyn i Ysgolion’ yn gyfle i filoedd o wyddonwyr ysgol weithio gydag Amgueddfa Cymru i archwilio newid yn yr hinsawdd a'i ddeall.
Ers mis Hydref 2005, mae gwyddonwyr ysgol o bob cwr o Gymru wedi bod yn cadw cofnod o'r tywydd a phryd mae eu blodau'n agor, fel rhan o astudiaeth hirdymor o effeithiau'r tymheredd ar fylbiau'r gwanwyn.
Mae rhagor o fanylion yn adroddiadau Athro'r Ardd neu gallwch chi lawrlwytho'r daenlen i astudio'r patrymau!
Diolch yn fawr Athro'r Ardd
Diolch yn fawr
Fun, but an important insight
Over the past few weeks, I have been undertaking work experience at our sites. There are two to go - Llanberis and National Museum Cardiff - but I thought it would be interesting to report back on what I've been tasked to do up to now. One of the things that struck me the most was the high level of skills required at all of our sites to ensure that everything runs smoothly. It is not just a matter of opening and closing the gates at the start and end of every day, and each member of staff has an important role to play in ensuring that we deliver the best for our visitors.
I was given a wide range of tasks that were in accordance with my limited skills level in some areas! Highlights included taking part in the safety inspection at Big Pit, selling a site booklet at Caerleon, cleaning the ladies toilets at Swansea, supervising the operation of the carding machinery at Drefach and removing corrosion on the earliest surviving mining truck in Wales at our Collections Centre in Nantgarw. St Fagans worked me the hardest, from removing hundreds of dead heads from tulips, to creating threads by hand for the reconstruction of the Clogmaker's cottage to making nails from scratch at the Blacksmiths workshop. I nearly succeeded in making the perfect nail, but I made the mistake of overheating the metal meaning that the nail became too brittle and alas, unusable.
I'm looking forward to completing my work experience at the remaining sites! It has been a fun experience, but also an important one as it has given me a different insight into the workings of each of the sites. It has been a great way for me to get to know staff in a more informal environment. Although formal presentations are necessary from time to time, I do prefer having the opportunity to talk one to one.
Conservation of Roman Armour- Opening the Block
After wheeling the large block into the archaeological conservation laboratory, I began the task of removing the plaster bandages covering the top of the block.
This proved a simple and satisfying job- the bandages were easily torn off in layers, revealing the Clingfilm barrier underneath. In order to reinforce the sides of the block, yet more bandages were wetted and wrapped around it.
The next step in opening up the block was to peel back the Clingfilm. This had to be done very carefully, as I didn't want dust from the plaster covering the archaeological artefacts beneath. Pegs and bulldog clips were very useful in holding back the plastic layers neatly.
After much anticipation, the armour was revealed. As I had not been present during removal of the armour from the fort, this was the first time I was able to see the lorica, and I was very impressed by the corroded remains.
As I excavate the armour contained within this soil block, I have to document every individual feature, and the physical relationships between all the artefacts. This provides invaluable information for the archaeologists working on the project, who want to tell the story of Isca.
This documentation process involves taking many photographs and making copious notes day by day; before I even begin to excavate the block using small hand tools, I drew a plan of the whole block, at a 1:2 scale. It was easiest to do this by laying string across the top of the block, and drawing it in sections.
After all this preparation, I cannot wait to get started excavating the soil overlying the armour and other artefacts- though this will take a very long time.
Blogbledren 2: Dysgu drewllyd
Rwy'n ymddiehuro na chefais gyfle i ddiweddaru'r blog ar y pryd, ond, fel y gwelwch o'r llun uchod, does dim llawer o le i gadw cyfrifiadur gen i o dan fy sgert.
Fe gyrhaeddodd y pledrenni yn y post, wedi'u rhewi. Roedden nhw'n gynnyrch gwastraff, sy'n cael eu taflu, gan amla, pan leddir yr anifail i gael cig. Wrth i mi eu gwagio i fwced o ddŵr hallt, roedden nhw'n edrych yn debyg iawn i wy wedi'i botsio, ond un llipa a llithrig iawn. Mae'r bledren ei hun yn debyg iawn i'r hyn a ddefnyddir i lapio cig selsig, ond ychydig yn fwy gwydn a llai blasus. Roedd y ffermwr yn hapus iawn i weld yr anifail yr oedd wedi'i fagu yn cael ei ddefnyddio, er, roedd e hefyd yn credu ein bod ni i 'gyd yn wallgo'! Mae'n debyg yr aeth y cig o'r moch i wneud salami drud.
Fe gefais un tro yn ymarfer adref, gan defnyddio gwelltyn plastig hir (cyrliog) oedd gen i wrth law. Fe sychais y bêl yn yr haul gan ddefnyddio halen i ladd unrhyw facteria. Llwyddiant! Roeddwn i wedi llwyddo i greu pêl newydd, heb orfod rhoi fy ngwefusau ar y bledren. Peth da, am fod rhai ohonyn nhw'n dod gyda ambell i flewyn arnyn nhw hefyd.
Byr iawn oedd hoedl honno, ac fe dorrodd, yng nghanol sgwrs, ar fore Gwener. Es i chwilota yn fy mag Aldi (oedd wedi'i guddio, peidiwch â phoeni!), a mynd ati i greu pêl newydd yn defnyddio'r hyn oedd gen i: halen, cortyn a phluen. Dwi'n licio dysgu trwy wneud fel arfer, ond roeddwn i'n awyddus iawn i beidio â mynd yn rhy agos at y bledren. Defnyddiais waelod y bluen, fel fyddai'r Tuduriaid yn gwneud, fel gwelltyn. Roedd yn brofiad anghynnes iawn, iawn!
Dwi wedi bod yn awyddus i ddysgu mwy am y ffordd yr oedd y Tuduriaid yn defnyddio ac yn gofalu am eu hanifeiliaid, ac felly dwi 'di bod yn siarad gyda llawer o bobl sy'n dal i ddefnyddio technegau traddodiadol yn eu gwaith. Yn eu plith oedd Peg, ddaeth a llond trol (yn llythrennol) o ddeunyddiau a dyfeisiadau Tuduraidd i'r Amgueddfa yr wythnos ddiwetha. Roedd ganddi bob math o bethau, o frwshys wedi'u gwneud o ddraenogod, i ddulliau atal-cenhedlu - a'r rheiny wedi'u gwneud o bledrenni heyfd! Fe fydda i'n postio am yr hyn wnes i ei ddysgu yn y dyfodol agos.
Yn y cyfamser, mae esiampl hyfryd, a mwy traddodiadol, mae'n siwr, o waith gyda chynnyrch anifeiliaid, i'w gweld yn arddangosfa Creu Hanes 1500-1700. Roeddwn i wedi fy nghyfareddu gan y menyg lledr yma, o Sir Gaernarfon. Mae'r lledr wedi'i leinio gyda sidan (cynnyrch anifail arall!), ac wedi'i frodio gyda lluniau o, ym, anifeiliaid! Fe ddewisais i'r wiwer, wel, am fy mod yn hoffi wiwerod.
Ta waeth. Gobeithio yr ymunwch chi â fi ar Blogbledren eto - a rhowch wybod os 'dych chi isie gêm o bêldroed yn y cyfamser!
Diweddariad: Fe ymddangosodd y ddwy erthygl yma (yn Saesneg) dros yr wythnos ddiwethaf, sy'n sôn am chwaraeon traddodiadol ac amgueddfeydd. Dwi am eu postio isod, i chi gael dysgu mwy os hoffech chi. Hwyl am y tro!
The Lure of Eccentric Sports (BBC)
Mummifying Chickens for Fun and Educational Profit (BoingBoing)
Natural History galleries now open
After 18 months the Natural History galleries have finally reopened. The seacliff and woodland dioramas have received a thorough clean and now look just as they did when they first opened in 1994.
Further back we now have a new gallery - Insight - which explores some of the scientific research which goes on in the Department of BioSyB and Department of Geology.
Beyond the Insight gallery the science education space has also received a major revamp and reopens as the Clore Learning Space.
We have nestlings!
At long last the female has been seen carrying food into the nest so we know at least one egg has now hatched.
As the eggs are incubated as soon as she lays them the others should hatch at 1-2 day intervals.
Creu Hanes - Y Deddfau Uno
Cadwch lygad ar Wedi 7 ar S4C, neu glust ar y Post Prynhawn ar Radio Cymru heno i glywed rhagor!