Amgueddfa Cymru

Hafan

Staff from the Museum's Natural Science Department have been popping-up at the Capitol Shopping Centre in Cardiff again this year with their 'I Spy Nature' Pop-up Museum. Museum curators and learning staff showed a plethora of objects and specimens from the Natural History collections at National Museum Cardiff to shoppers over a six day period in July and August. Over 1200 people visited the pop-up museum and saw fossils, minerals, marine invertebrates, a beautiful botanical display of common British species and a variety of insects from around the world. Created for this year’s display was an ingenious dark box for viewing florescent minerals under UV light. Visitors could be seen donning their safety specs to view inside. Our younger visitors were encouraged to utilise their drawing skills to draw some of the specimens on display as part of our drawing competition. Competition winners will be announced shortly and the winning entries will be displayed on the blog. We were even lucky enough to be visited by singer and actress Connie Fisher, whose favourite object was a fossilised fish.

The I Spy Nature exhition at National Museum Cardiff will run until 3rd January 2016.

Every week on #FossilFriday we like to highlight specimens from the palaeontological collections of the Natural Sciences Department at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, via our @CardiffCurator Twitter account. Sometimes they are fossils on display at National Museum Cardiff, whilst at other times they form part of the collections behind the scenes.

Interested in trilobites, ammonites and dinosaurs? Then why not find out what we have been tweeting over the last year or so in the following two Storify Stories: ‘Friday is Fossil Time’ and ‘Fantastic Fossils’.

If you find these interesting why not follow us on Twitter.

The first ever Murder Mystery evening at National Museum Cardiff took place on 19th May 2015 and was linked to the ‘Museums at Night’ festival, which ran from 13-16th May and will run again 30th-31st October. The evening was organised by staff from the Department of Natural Sciences and was attended by over 90 adults.

Visitors were invited to attend a grand gala evening to witness the unveiling of the largest and most beautiful diamond in the world, being shown in Wales for the first time. However, the evening began with a missing diamond, a dead body and six potential suspects. The Museum was now in lock down for three hours with the killer trapped inside! After the Crime Scene Investigators had collected evidence from the murder scene and suspects, scientific tests were set-up throughout the Natural History galleries and visitors were requested to help with testing the evidence. They also had the opportunity to interrogate the six suspects and to try and determine ‘Whodunnit?’ before the killer struck again! Fortunately the event ended in the successful capture of the murderer and the diamond returned, with all visitors fortunately  unharmed.

This was a fantastic opportunity for visitors to explore the atmospheric galleries and main hall and see our galleries in a completely different atmosphere. We have received requests to run this event and other mysteries in the future, so check out the museum's What's on pages to see future events.

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales team up with British Institute for Geological Conservation for the 2015 RHS Show

This year, for the first time Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales had its own marquee at the Cardiff Royal Horticultural Society Show. The Museum has been represented at the show for several years, enabling us to share with the public many of our hidden treasures from the museum’s collections. Our theme, Tropical Plants: bringing the tropics back to Wales, provided an excellent introduction to the Museum’s Botany collections. Visitors marvelled at the coco-de-mer, the world’s largest seed (native to the Seychelles). Curator, Heather Pardoe, introduced show-goers to a selection of sumptuous eighteenth-century botanical illustrations, rarely on show to the public, originally painted in tropical countries including Australia, India, America and Java.

The highlight for many was the opportunity to hunt for fossils with experts from the Museum, led by Ben Evans (BIGC) and Head of Botany Chris Cleal. Young and old alike were thrilled to split rocks and discover Carboniferous plant fossils, dating back 300 million years. This year the fossil hunt was accompanied by a prehistoric reconstruction, created using tree ferns, horsetails and an amazing diversity of mosses. The Carboniferous garden was home for the weekend to our incredible Arthur the Arthropleura (a giant millipede from the Carboniferous period), another show stopper.  Visitors could also see exotic insects, accidentally imported into Britain,  held in the Museum’s Entomology collections, and learn about both the OPAL and the Spring Bulb projects.  Over the three days of the show more than 5,000 people visited the Museum’s marquee, out of a record-breaking 24,000 visitors to the show.

We’d like to thank Waitrose Pontprennau, PJS Flowers and Miller Argent for supporting and sponsoring our activities and displays this year.

To find out more about the museum’s presence at the RHS show, why not read our Storify story

For the last two years we have put together an advent calendar celebrating some of the beautiful specimens in our natural history collections at National Museum Cardiff. We have been tweeting these from the @CardiffCurator Twitter account each day and will continue throughout December. The specimens behind the first twelve doors have been inspired by the song ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’.

We have compiled a Storify story on our advent calendar, which can be viewed here.