Beachwatch 2013 - a great success
On Saturday 21st September Amgueddfa Cymru ran their annual Beachwatch event. This involved fantastic family science activities in the morning attended by 41 members of the public and seven members of staff. Participants looked at strandline and rockpool animals and seaweeds as well as fossilised corals and snails. Inspired by the fossils and shells that they had seen, the children went on to create wonderful pieces of artwork using Plaster of Paris on the wet sand of the beach.
After lunch, the volunteers gathered to clean the beach and do a litter survey recording all the items they found. The beach clean was attended by 59 volunteers including many of the families from the morning activities.
The results will be sent to the Marine Conservation Society who will collect the data from this beach and hundreds of other UK beaches that were cleaned this weekend. As well as making the beach safer for people and marine life, the Marine Conservation Society also use the data to find out where beach litter comes from and contribute to marine conservation.
As you can see from the photo we found a lot of rubbish including 9 tyres, half a canoe and a traffic cone! A huge thank you to our wonderful volunteers, Ogmore Beach now looks even more beautiful!
Happy Birthday Big Pit
Big Pit National Coal Museum celebrates 30 years as a major visitor attraction this year and we celebrated the occasion yesterday in the company of members of the local community who have supported the Museum, staff at Big Pit and the Minister for Culture & Sport John Griffiths who had a tour of the Museum.
Since opening in 1983 Big Pit has welcomed more than 3.5 million people who can go 300 feet underground to find out what life was like for men who worked there. In 1913, one in ten Welsh people were employed in the coal industry and many more were dependent on it for a living – by the end of the 20th century, only one deep mine remained in Wales.
Big Pit employed 1,300 people and produced around a quarter of a million tons of coal a year. The buildings are the same as they were when the mine closed in 1980, but now visitors descend the shaft with a real miner and see what life was like for the thousands of men who worked at the coal face.
The Museum is set in the unique Blaenafon industrial landscape, designated a World Heritage Site in 2000 and is an exciting and informative day out for visitors.
September has crept up on us already and autumn’s well on its way!
It’s been a successful summer across all of our sites, with nearly a quarter of a million visitors being welcomed over August alone across the seven museums. That’s a great achievement and I hope our visitors have enjoyed their experience. We’ve got an exciting line up of exhibitions, events and activities now until Christmas across all seven museums including Peter Blake’s exhibition of works inspired by Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood which will be on show at National Museum Cardiff from 23 November. The exhibition will launch a year-long festival in 2014 – Dylan Thomas 100 – which will mark the centenary of the birth of the poet Dylan Thomas.
Last week I was invited to Bologna in Italy to speak at a two-day final conference of the LEM project "The Learning Museum".
“The Learning Museum” is a network project funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme Grundtvig (2010-2013) which aims to establish a permanent network and web space for museums and adult educators to participate in a learning society and in a knowledge-based Europe.
Seventeen European countries and the United States of America are represented in LEM. Its aim is to create a network of museums and cultural heritage organizations, to ensure that museums play an active role with regard to lifelong learning, and to raise awareness among decision makers at national and European level.
The conference was intended as a meeting place to facilitate networking and develop further collaborations at European level and also an opportunity for participants to discuss the outcomes of the project and share the knowledge developed throughout the three years of its duration, as well as giving a chance to share experiences and exchange ideas with colleagues from all over Europe.
Some interesting ideas emerged. It was striking how many of these involved greater cooperation and consolidation in the face of the financial crisis common to almost all European countries. In the Netherlands, for example, there are two museums associations which will now merge. Central, regional and local government are being encouraged by the sector to coordinate their museum policies. Speakers from the Netherlands said that development of a vision for each museum, before governments decided on them, was essential.
To find out more about the LEM project and the LEM reports go to
Museums are Good for You
Museums are brilliant and inspiring places, there can be no doubt about it. People visit museums for many, many reasons. Museums make you smarter, inspire, are a focus for the community and a great place to spend time with your friends and family. But what effect does a museum visit have on you? The entertainment factor of a museum makes you feel enjoyment. Understanding how things work raises your self-esteem. Appreciating the aesthetics of a great object stretches your imagination and is uplifting. And you get all of this in a calm and safe place. People definitely visit museums to feel good and if you need a bit of a lift I would wholeheartedly recommend you visit your local museum.
There is plenty of research to back all of this up. Museums make us happy – museum visits contribute more to wellbeing than arts and sports. Museums, especially if working in partnership with other organisations, can make a huge contribution to mental health (Museum Development North West Who Cares report). The economic benefits of museums are estimated to be in the order of £1.5 billion per year. And while many museums have reduced their own carbon footprints, the role the cultural sector play in driving wider societal change is also growing.
Museums have an enormous potential to change and develop communities. One of the best places to visit in any town and city for access to current research and new ideas is the museum. Museums are therefore best placed for being hot spots of community engagement. In this context, the Museums Association, through their new flagship campaign Museums Change Lives), encourages museums to be more proactive in making an impact on society and people’s wellbeing.
It is hard in the current financial climate especially for small museums with staff shortages, leaking roofs and paint peeling off the walls to continue this work. Fortunately, museums attract some of the most enthusiastic and resourceful staff and volunteers, who, despite these pressures, will do anything they can to ensure that museums continue to be good for you.
The Welsh Museums Federation’s ‘Linking Natural Science Collections in Wales’ project is supporting curators in 20 local museums around Wales. By providing training and information about natural science collections we are going to ensure the continued use of these collections for inspiration, learning and community focus. We are enabling curators to care for and use their natural science collections. This will help to ensure that museums in Wales can look into the future and still make us happy for many more years to come.
3 days to Beachwatch!
BEATCHWATCH – Saturday 21 September
10.30am – 12pm. Amgueddfa Cymru staff will be running fun family activities for the public to help them learn about the biology and geology of Ogmore beach. They will be looking at rock pools, strandlines, rocks and fossils along the shore.This year we will also have a fun ART activity involving plaster of paris and seashells. These morning activities are now fully booked, but you can still come along in the afternnoon to help out with the beach clean.
1pm – 2.30pm. Help with the Marine Conservation Society’s annual beach clean (Open to all).
Where: Ogmore Beach, Vale of Glamorgan. Meeting on the beach at Ogmore beach car park – down the ramp in front of the lifeguard centre.
Suitable for all ages, hope to see you there.
A species new to science!
A new species of marine bristleworm (polychaete) has just been described in a collaboration between Amgueddfa Cymru and the East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Shanghai. The species is a type of shovelhead worm, a group that get their name from the flattened head region used to burrow within sand. The new species was discovered in the Jiangsu Province of the Yellow Sea. The new species is called Magelona parochilis Zhou & Mortimer, 2013 and was published this month in the scientific publication, The Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.
Haf ystlumaidd yn Sain Ffagan!
Wel, ma gwyliau haf arall wedi hedfan heibio, ac mae hi bron yn amser eto i groesawu grwpiau ysgol yn ôl i Sain Ffagan ar ddechrau flwyddyn ysgol newydd!
Mae’r haf eleni wedi bod bach yn wahanol i mi yma yn Sain Ffagan. Oherwydd y gwaith ail-ddatblygu da ni di colli’r Tŷ Gwyrdd fel adeilad, felly mae’r gweithgareddau natur wedi bod bach mwy nomadig nai’r arfer! Roedd hi’n gyfle neis i mi ddefnyddio ardaloedd gwahanol o’r amgueddfa ac i edrych ar ba fywyd gwyllt sydd i’w ffeindio o amgylch y lle.
Dros fis Awst, ddaeth tua 1000 o bobl i gymryd rhan mewn amrywiaeth o weithgareddau natur o amgylch yr amgueddfa, o archwilio yn y goedwig am fwystfilod bach i’n teithiau ystlumod gyda’r nos. Mae’r teithiau ystlum eleni wedi bod yn hynod o boblogaidd!
Ar ddechrau’r haf naethon ni ail-agor y guddfan adar yn ei leoliad newydd ger ysgubor Hendre Wen. O’n i’n poeni falle byse dim cymaint o adar i’w weld yn yr ardal newydd, ond ar ôl treulio hanner awr yn gwylio’r adar nes i weld 11 rywogaeth wahanol. Gobeithio neith niferoedd tebyg parhau i ymweld â’n bwydwyr o amgylch y guddfan. Mae’r guddfan nawr ar agor bob dydd, felly ar eich ymweliad nesa i’r amgueddfa byddwch yn siŵr i bipio draw i weld be welwch chi!
Ym mis Awst cawsom bach o fraw ar ôl tan fach yn y Tanerdy. Mae’r Tanerdy yn gartref i grŵp o ystlumod Pedol Lleiaf prin iawn. Torrodd tan drydanol bach allan un bore yn yr ystafell islaw ble mae’r ystlumod yn clwydo fel arfer. Diolch byth, nath y tan ddim cydio diolch i ymateb cyflym gan Wasanaeth Tan ac Achub De Cymru. Yn ystod y digwyddiad nath yr ystlumod hedfan i ardal o’r adeilad yn bell o’r tan. Nath y stori hyd yn oed cyrraedd tudalennau wefan y BBC! Diolch i Anwen am y llunie!
Mae’r ystlumod nawr wedi dychwelyd i’w ardal clwydo arferol ac i’w weld yn iawn. Yn anffodus, nid yw’r un peth yn wir am y camera ystlumod a oedd yn yr adeilad. Mae cyfuniad o ddifrod dwr a mwg yn golygu bydd angen camera newydd arnom, gobeithio cyn gynted â phosib!
Mae ystlumod Sain Ffagan i’w weld yn mynd o nerth i nerth! Mae gennym ni 11 o’r 18 rhywogaeth sy’n byw ym Mhrydain yn clwydo yn yr amgueddfa, yn cynnwys yr ystlum Nathusius Pipistrelle sy wedi bod yn clwydo yn 2 o’n hadeiladau. Cyn hyn, dim ond 2 clwyd o’r ystlum yma sy ‘di cael ei ffeindio yng Nghymru. Dyma stori arall eleni nath newyddion!
Eleni cynhaliwyd 3 Taith Ystlum gyda’r Cyfnos yn yr amgueddfa, a bob un yn llawn! Diolch i bawb ddaeth ac ymddiheuriadau i bawb nath trio bwcio ond oedd methu cal lle! Da ni’n bwriadu cynnal 4 taith mis Awst nesa gyda phosibilrwydd o fwy os oes galw! Os daethoch ar un o’n teithiau eleni ac os oes gennych unrhyw adborth, rhowch wybod i ni yma neu trwy anfon e-bost i’r amgueddfa!
Un peth arall, hoffwn roi diolch mawr i’n tîm newydd o wirfoddolwyr sy ‘di bod yn helpu dros yr haf! Trwy gael pâr ychwanegol o ddwylo i helpu gyda digwyddiadau a gweithgareddau, mae’n bosib i ni gynnig gwell profiad ac ymweliad i’n hymwelwyr. Diolch yn fawr i chi gyd!