Y Fforymau Cyfranogi
Y Fforwm Amrywiaeth
Dyma grŵp o gynrychiolwyr sefydliadau sy’n gweithio’n agos gyda grwpiau cymunedol amrywiol. Sefydlwyd y grŵp gyda’r nod o sicrhau y bydd ailddatblygiad Sain Ffagan yn hygyrch, o ddiddordeb i bawb ac yn cynrychioli pawb. Cafwyd y cyfarfod cyntaf ym mis Ebrill a thrafodwyd dulliau o gydweithio, dulliau o ymgysylltu â chynulleidfaoedd allweddol a phwysigrwydd datblygu modelau arfer gorau.
O ganlyniad i’r Fforwm, cymerodd grŵp o gynrychiolwyr Cymunedau yn Gyntaf De Glan yr Afon ran mewn gweithdai dehongli ym mis Awst. Ymhlith y gwrthrychau a drafodwyd roedd delw o’r dduwies Durga a chyfres o wrthrychau archaeolegol yn ymwneud â’r gweddillion dynol hynaf i’w canfod yng Nghymru. Dywedodd y curaduron ei bod yn braf gweld y gwrthrychau trwy lygaid newydd. Roedd y grŵp yn awyddus i osod y gwrthrychau yng nghyd-destun hanes y byd – dull diddorol fyddai’n helpu i ymgysylltu â’r rhieni o gefndiroedd amrywiol sy’n byw yng Nghymru a’r holl ymwelwyr tramor yr Amgueddfa.
Wallace; the Forgotten Evolutionist?
This week our exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the death of the brilliant naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace has opened for exploration. But who was he?
Wallace was many things - an intrepid explorer, a brilliant naturalist, a social activist, a political commentator – overall a remarkable intellectual. By the time of his death in 1913, Wallace was widely praised as the 'last of the great Victorians'.
Wallace is most famously associated with co-discovering the process of evolution by natural selection alongside Charles Darwin. Yet we have all heard of Darwin, whilst Wallace has become more of a forgotten figure.
In his time Wallace travelled extensively, surviving malaria, numerous fevers and even shipwreck! He covered thousands of miles, lived with indigenous tribes and collected over 125 000 animal specimens. He also wrote widely on a range of subjects, publishing more than 800 articles and writing 22 books.
This exhibition attempts to explore some of Wallace's life and work, and in doing so raise our awareness of this remarkable man. The exhibition uses a mix of media, and has rich diversity of specimens on display, including specimens collected by the great man himself.
Associated with the exhibition are a range of workshops, talks and tours. Check out the website for an up-to-date list of ‘whats on’.
We really hope you enjoy the exhibition and welcome feedback on your visit
False Widow Spiders: not really that horrible…
There has been a great deal of press attention recently on the ‘false black widow spider’. Sadly allot of this information has been unnecessarily alarmist and often wrong. So what is this spider?
The term ‘false widow spider’ has arisen because the spiders look very like the real ‘black widow’ spider. There is good reason for this - the spiders are closely related and belong to the same taxonomic family, the Therididae.
This spider family is very large, and is made up of many different genre, or species groups, of spider e.g. ‘black widows’ belong to the genus Latrodextus, whilst the ‘false widows’ belong to a different genus called Steatoda. So whilst they are related, they are different enough to belong to different taxonomic species groups.
Of these two spider groups only Steatoda is found in the UK. In total we have seven species of Steatoda, six of which are native and one of which is an introduction. Of these species at least three get called the ‘false widows’ – these are S. bipunctata, S. grossa and S. nobilis. The only way these spiders can be accurately identified is by checking key diagnostic characters as the abdominal patterns can be very variable.
S. nobilis, and to a lesser extend, S. grossa are the species causing the concern. They can inflict a painful bite, and very rarely these bites can cause more severe medical issues. However these are not aggressive spiders and will only bite if trapped or badly handled.
So are there plagues of these spiders this year? Well certainly not to my knowledge. This time of year we have large numbers of the ‘orb web’ spiders around our homes and gardens and many of the so called ‘false widow’ reports are actually these common and harmless spiders.
Even if you have a species such as S. nobilis around your garden or shed, you still should not be worried. Contrary to press reports they do not gather to attack you. In fact they would rather be left alone in the quite, dark corners where you usually find them. This posting on the Natural History Museums website provides a sensible overview of these spiders and their habits.
If you do find a spider you are concerned about then I’m happy to try and identify it. If you can get a good image then do so, and email it across. If you have the spider and can get it to the museum then drop if off for my attention – the front desk aren’t always too happy about having live spiders delivered so make sure the lid is secure!
Natural Science Collections Reviews
There are many reasons for undertaking a museum collections review.The main aim is often to establish the present state of a collection – level of documentation, physical location of specimens and object, as well as their storage and conservation requirements. One objective of the Welsh Museums Federation’s Linking Natural Science Collections reviews is to establish what kinds of collections are distributed across museums in Wales. This information will then be used to enable improved management of natural science collections on a national level, as well as facilitating better use of these collections. Due to the scope of the project and resource limitations, only about 20% of Welsh natural science collections are going to be reviewed – those members of the Welsh Museums Federation which are also accredited museums. This is bringing Welsh institutions one step closer to a Distributed National Collection.
A number of natural science collections reviews have recently been undertaken in various parts of the UK, largely stimulated by the Museum Association’s programme Effective Collections to improve the understanding and use of stored collections. This programme is supported by a grant scheme to enable collections reviews with expert help.
The overview presented here is fairly comprehensive but does not claim to be complete; if I have not mentioned other review projects please get in touch and let me know as I may not be aware of, or do not have sufficient information on them. While there are many similarities between these projects, each had its own starting point and aims. Accordingly, the methods vary between projects.
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery undertook a review of their spirit collection in 2009 to increase skills of curatorial staff, make recommendation for improved use of and access to the collections and to promote the collections. Specialist consultants assessed the collection. The methodology applied utilized the University College London’s Collections Review Toolkit to assess condition, documentation information, potential use and significance.
University College London
University College London carried out a review of their varied collections of 380,000 objects between 2007 and 2009. The primary objective was to survey aspects of collections care, use and significance with a view to inform future management of the collections and developing them as a resource for teaching, research and public engagement. The review also considered the historical significance and their relationship with UCL. The result is a clear and accurate picture of the contents of the collections, where and how they are housed, and to what degree there are integrated into the work of the university.
The Regional Geology Stewardship assessed geological collections held in the West Midlands between 2009 and 2012. Now, the West Midlands Biological Collections Review aims to create a snapshot of the biological collections held in 55 institutions (including educational institutions and historic houses, but prioritising accredited museums) - their significance, condition and current usage, and to offer practical advice with managing and using them. At each institution the curator will fill in a form adapted from the Significance 2.0 framework of the Collections Trust and the RAW Collections Care Healthcheck. The project is managed by the Curator of Natural Sciences at Birmingham Museums Trust who will also provide training for collections that are at greatest risk and have greatest untapped potential.
Royal Albert Memorial Museum
The review at Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) was even more ambitious, as they reviewed almost one million objects during 2011-13. The entire – and very diverse – collection was divided into 122 review groups of related or connected material. This was preceded by entering each item from the collection in an electronic database (which had taken almost ten years to complete). A two-stage review then assessed the significance of objects to inform future use of the collection: a macro-level review from the perspective of a non-expert to determine significance and potential, and an in-depth assessment involving external subject specialists, peer review or public consultation. The review methodology was based on a hybrid version of the Renaissance East Midlands ‘Reviewing Significance Framework model, which itself draws upon the Collections Council of Australia’s ‘Significance 2.0 framework, and University College London’s ‘Collections Review Rubric. This uses a grid to determine importance in a structured way and can then be used to aid planning for future collections projects, use and interpretation. The review method can also identify gaps in the collections where future collecting programmes can be focussed.
North West England
Five museums in the North West (The Beacon in Whitehaven, Penrith and Eden Museum, Keswick Museum, Stockport Museum Service and Touchstones, Rochdale took part in a natural science collections review because they hold relatively large collections, but have no natural science curator; subject specialist consultants where therefore used. The objective was to find ways that the museums could work together to increase understanding about the collections, and to give guidance on the storage, use, and scientific and cultural value of the material held. The review highlighted scientifically important specimens and an extensive educational potential of the collections.
The Horniman Museum’s Bioblitz review was completed this year (2013), followed by Geoblitz. This reviewed a collection of 250,000 natural history and 175,000 geological specimens within 12 months by employing subject specialists to assess each specimen. The idea was to assign relative significance levels to specimens to facilitate planning a programme of future collections management, research, conservation and the use of the collection. Significance criteria were historic, scientific, rarity/uniqueness and public engagement; specimens rated in a number of these categories, serving several roles, now make up the core of the collection. The process of the review itself was also recorded, via Twitter, a blog and photographs; this helped facilitate conversation with user groups to determine future uses of the collection.
Gwynnedd Museum / Bangor University
Gwynedd Museum & Art Gallery and Bangor University departments recently carried out condition surveys of their diverse collections (natural history, geology, ceramics, art, furniture etc). The aim was to get a better idea of the nature and scope of each collection, and also to be able to prioritise any work needed in the areas of collections management and care, documentation, and conservation. External reviewers provided a condition report and a prioritisation of future work required. This has already resulted in a funding application for a Collections Officer post to improve collections management, care and access; the long-term aim is to accredit these collections.
Doncaster Museum Service undertook a review of their natural history collection (379,000 specimens) between 2010 and 2013 to determine collections development needs and to improve access to and promote the use of the collection. The Taking Stock reviewadhered to the Museum Association’s ‘Disposal Toolkit and used consultants if internal expertise was not available. C.I.R.C.A, the latest element of Taking Stock, has been instrumental in refining and developing the approaches to reviewing collections. This methodology is now being retrospectively applied to the internal and Effective Collection advisory reviews, to facilitate decisions on collections development.
Linking Collections in Wales
The ‘Linking Natural Science Collections in Wales’ project is currently reviewing collections in 20 museums across Wales with the help of specialist curators from Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. Levels of importance (local, regional, national, international) are being assessed as well as the type of value of specimens or review groups (scientific, historic, aesthetic, social, educational, rarity). Recommendations will then be made on potential uses (science, education, pubic engagement, none). The reviews are scheduled to be completed by early Summer 2014 and the results will be made available publicly via Peoples’ Collection Wales. Landmark specimens discovered during the reviews will be showcased to the public in a touring exhibition from Autumn 2015. This will be one way for people to explore our Distributed National Collection.
Roots of power and herbs of healing... "remedies for weak men and nervous women"
There is an odd story attached to this little booklet. Some time ago, I received a telephone call from a lady offering to donate a catalogue from an old Cardiff herbalist. It sounded intriguing and something that would fit in perfectly at the library over at our sister museum St Fagans: Museum of National History, so we gratefully accepted the offer. A few days later, the Librarian and I were weeding through a pile of old booklets and we noticed an old Cardiff herbalist catalogue [date written in red ink - 29/11/29] and I remember saying how bizarre it would be if this was the same catalogue as the one that was on its way to us. Yes, you guessed it, it turned out to be exactly the same one! We ended up keeping both copies, placing one at the St Fagans library and keeping one here at National Museum Cardiff.
What exactly went into the herbal remedies is one mystery now most likely beyond solving [many of the ingredients are listed but not all] but it is the naive and whimsical wording of the ailments themselves that are so interesting to us now [Remedies for weak men and nervous women, Poverty of nerve force and That don't care sort of feeling spring to mind] and this naivity is illustrated further with the Disney-like wizard and his bubbling cauldron on the cover.
I have done a little research but, apart from a few scanned newspaper advertisements, have found no other information on Trimnell except for one of his old medicine bottles that sold recently on Ebay for £1.99 [see photograph below].
Glamorgan Archives hold some limited information on Trimnell but no actual documentation.
All photographs [except the Ebay one above] in this post taken by the author.
Y Fforymau Cyfranogi
Fforwm Dylunio’r Defnyddwyr
Dyma grŵp sy’n pontio’r cenedlaethau ac sy’n cynnwys oedolion ifanc o Fforwm Ieuenctid Caerffili, eu harweinwyr Ieuenctid a phedwar athro o ysgolion uwchradd de Cymru. Mae’r grŵp wedi bod yn cyfarfod ers dros ddwy flynedd ac wedi gweithio’n agos gyda’r penseiri ar ddyluniad yr adeilad newydd (y Gweithdy) a datblygu’r Prif Adeilad. Maent hefyd wedi bod yn cyfarfod â’r dylunwyr arddangosfa (Event) i roi adborth am y syniadau ar gyfer y gofodau oriel. Eu cyfraniad diweddaraf oedd mynychu gweithdai dehongli lle cawsant gyfle i ymateb yn uniongyrchol i wrthrychau a thrafod dulliau o gyflwyno a dehongli gyda’r curaduron perthnasol.
Dyma luniau o’r grŵp ar daith feincnodi i M Shed ym Mryste (gofod arddangos a ddyluniwyd gan Event) a’r gweithdy dehongli ym mis Gorffennaf.
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Y Fforymau Cyfranogi
Helo, a chroeso i gofnod cyntaf ein cylchlythyr rheolaidd am ddatblygiad Fforymau Cyfranogi Sain Ffagan Amgueddfa Werin Cymru. Fel rhan o’r project ailddatblygu cyffrous (diolch i grantgan Gronfa Dreftadaeth y Loteri), mae’r Amgueddfa wedi bod yn datblygu dulliau o ymgysylltu â’r cyhoedd a thrafod â chynrychiolwyr sefydliadau’r trydydd sector ac unigolion o Fôn i Fynwy. Mae'r grwpiau yn nodweddiadol am eu bod yn rhan o'n ffordd newydd o weithio, ac yn gam sylweddol tuag at ein nod o fod yn amgueddfa sy'n wirioneddol gyfranogol.
Bydd trin a thrafod yn thema amlwg yn yr orielau newydd. Mae’r curaduron yn gweithio gyda’r tîm dylunio, Event, i ddatblygu dulliau o gofnodi barn ac ymateb y cyhoedd i wrthrychau. Ar hyn o bryd, y bwriad yw parhau â’r drafodaeth ar-lein trwy greu fforwm fydd yn lle i bobl ymateb i’r orielau a’i gilydd gan greu llwyfan drafod ac ysbrydoli gweddill datblygiad yr Amgueddfa.
Mae nifer o faterion y bydd yn rhaid i ni fynd i’r afael â nhw er mwyn sicrhau bod yr Amgueddfa yn cynrychioli Cymru gyfan, gan gynnwys:
- creu cysylltiadau â grwpiau cymunedol clos sydd o bosib o’r farn nad yw’r Amgueddfa yn cynrychioli eu hanes
- mynd i’r afael â rhwystr tlodi er mwyn sicrhau bod yr Amgueddfa’n hygyrch i bawb
- sicrhau ein bod yn darparu ar gyfer pobl o bob oed, gallu a chefndir.
Y prif nod yw sicrhau ein bod yn cynrychioli Cymru heddiw ac ein bod yn cyrraedd pob cwr o’r genedl. O adrodd a thrafod ein hanturiaethau, gallwn ddatrys y materion hyn. Gallwn ni gynrychioli pawb yng Nghymru ben baladr trwy sicrhau y gall unrhywun weld ein datblygiadau a chymryd rhan yn y drafodaeth.
Felly beth am agor y drafodaeth? Thema’r oriel gyntaf fydd ‘Dyma yw Cymru’. Bydd yn trafod y syniadau ystrydebol am Gymreictod ac yn rhoi cyfle i drafod ystyr Cymru i eraill, a datblygiad Cymru trwy hanes. Felly, beth yw Cymru i chi? Rydyn ni’n datblygu Cwmwl Geiriau anferth o ymatebion. Defnyddiwch y ddolen isod i anfon pum gair atom sydd, yn eich barn chi, yn crynhoi Cymru. Byddwn yn eu hychwanegu at ein Cwmwl Geiriau ac yn dangos y canlyniadau yma!
Nawr, beth am eich cyflwyno i’r Grwpiau Fforwm a rhoi’r newyddion diweddaraf i chi am sut maen nhw’n helpu’r Amgueddfa i gyrraedd y nod…
Things I've been doing part two...
So part one of my epic sharing of photos with you looked at our summer art and craft activities. Part two is all about the food festival and a couple of craftivist sessions.
On a lovely sunny day up in the Italian gardens we had a picnic and took part in the Craftivist Collective project all about fashion. The project is all about how we love fashion and hate sweatshops, and as part of our event we talked about where we buy our clothes and what we can do to help the situation. It definitely made us all think more about ethical fashion and sustainability!
Another Craftivist project we've been a part of this year is the #imapiece jigsaw project. Earlier in the year we had a session where we made fabric jigsaw pieces embroidered with messages about global hunger and sent them to the craftivist collective to be a part of a huge installation. Just a couple of weeks ago we got a part of the installation back (300 pieces out of a whopping 700 or so) and exhibited it in St Fagans: National History Museum. We have also been adding to the installation ourselves, it will be up for a few days yet, so come and see it and let me know if you would like to add your own message.
For the food festival this year, myself and genius gardener Bernice made herbal teabags! Bernice picked and dried mint, lemon balm, fennel seeds and Elderflower from the gardens here in the museum and then we bought some teabags to fill and made little envelopes to put the teabags in for safe keeping, or as a sweet gift. We also made sure we had a pot of tea on the go all day and almost everyone liked our blend!
The last thing I wanted to tell you about is the Wedding Fayre that was held here a couple of weeks ago. You probably already know that you can get married here in St Fagans, either in the castle or in Oakdale. Well, now you can also have a hen afternoon tea party as well! as part of this tea party you can learn to dance, have hair and make-up done (vintage style), or get all crafy with me! The photos show what kind of things we could make... tissue pom-poms, name places, bunting... it will be lovely and I can't wait to take part!
That's all for today, but I do have some knit and sew group photos to share next time, and look out for half term halloween arts and crafts and quilt club on the 2nd and november. Happy Autumn!
Things I've been doing part one....
I've been taking photographs of all the activities I've been a part of, but keep forgetting to update the blog with them. Therefore this is going to have to be a two-parter as I have so much stuff to update you all with.
Ok. Let's go:
Our summer art cart activities included the super successful Iron Age shield making workshop. Ian (the celtic guy) and I spent two days running the workshop and we were really lucky to have volunteers on hand too as with all the glue, paint and celtic pattern designing it was pretty crazy. As you can see from the pictures, the finished results were just beautiful. I love the one that looks like maybe Chagall had a hand in it.
Artist Tracey Williams made the most wonderful house out of cardboard with visitors over the summer, inspired by our buildings on site. It was a lovely community project which I stupidly don't have any photos of!
I spent the rest of august doing a variety of art and craft workshops - we did some sketching of nature in the bird hide, made dragonflies out of wooden pegs and did gorgeous drawings and collages of the lily pads in the Italian Gardens with a bit of inspiration from Monet. We also did some sewing and made felt flower badges which were really popular.
If you took part in any of these activities, do you have any photographs you could share? and what did you think of our locations this year? was it fun going to the Italian gardens (I know I enjoyed it) or was it too far away from the main entrance? let me know!