World Octopus Day
Today is a very special day…it’s World Octopus Day! So, what better opportunity to celebrate the life of the eminent Cephalopod expert Dr William Evans Hoyle. Here at Amgueddfa Cymru Hoyle has a particularly special place in our hearts as he was our first Director and donated part of his Cephalopod collection to our museum containing some 463 jars of specimens.
So, who was this man…?
Born in Manchester in 1855, Hoyle followed a varied and interesting career but his passion was always for science and nature. From an Oxford degree in Natural History to a diploma in medicine; from writing Challenger Reports to being Keeper and Director of the Manchester Museum; whatever the challenge, Hoyle took it on with energy, enthusiasm and a great sense of humour.
The challenge of Challenger:
It was in 1882 that he was invited to be a naturalist on the editorial staff of the “Challenger” Expedition, under the supervision of Sir John Murray. This was to be the start of his life-long love for cephalopods. All of the cephalopods collected over the four years of the expedition (1872-1876) were passed through his hands. His skills in dissection and anatomy meant he was an excellent candidate to carry out their thorough examination. He produced diagnoses and descriptions of these creatures which were compiled into a preliminary report in 1885 and a final report in 1886.
His tenure with the Challenger team lasted six years but for the remainder of his life he studied and analysed cephalopods from all over the world and produced numerous publications. Examples of some of his studies are those collected by Herdman from Ceylon (1924); Stanley Gardiner from the Maldives and Laccadives (1905); those collected on the National Antarctic Exhibition (1907); and the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (1912). Hoyle was a meticulous worker and drew many of his own beautiful illustrations for these publications, some of which now reside in the archive at Amgueddfa Cymru. He quickly became recognised as a chief authority in the subject.
Director of the National Museum of Wales
After 20 years of working at the Manchester Museum, including a period as Director, Hoyle took his final career change in 1909 when he was appointed Director of the National Museum of Wales (now Amgueddfa Cymru). By this time he was already considered the most prominent science museum director in Great Britain. For Hoyle this was the perfect job and represented the fulfilment of a life long ambition. It allowed him to be involved in the development of a museum, both as a building and a concept, from the beginning. The museum was chartered in 1907 but Hoyle joined the team at a time when he could participate in the architectural discussions and was responsible for some major changes in the design of the building. As part of his research he visited many museums in both Europe and America so he could learn from their mistakes and find the best methods of development. He noted particularly that often not enough space was allocated for collections and their future growth.
A place for exploration and discovery
Hoyle applied great energy to his work and with his exceptional organisational skills and knowledge he pushed this museum forward. With such a strong scientific background, and experience of working with material from expeditions, he was a strong promoter of the museum as a science and research institute. He promoted it as an arena for exploration and discovery of the world. Hoyle also had good acquaintances with fellow natural historians, especially as a member of the Cardiff Naturalist Society, and so encouraged them to donate their collections. His years at NMW put this museum on the scientific map and made it a place where eminent scientists were proud to bequeath their collections.
As a concept Hoyle was a great believer that museums should be “Schools for learning” as well as store houses for interesting objects. He was very well known as a popular lecturer in a great many subjects and his sense of humour and enthusiasm brought his talks alive. He was also known to have a wonderful ability to interest children and pass this enthusiasm onto them.
He was Director through the First World War which proved a great difficulty at times and caused frustrating delays in the development of the building. Sadly, Hoyle retired due to ill health in 1924 and was never to see the completion of the museum as he died on 7th February 1926 in Porthcawl.
Are E-cigarettes harmful to museum collections?
Re-visiting no smoking policies to include non-tobacco replacement products.
AC-NMW has recently banned the use of e-cigarettes from its galleries. E-cigarettes are considered a less harmful version of conventional cigarettes – do they really need to be banned from museums?
What's the problem?
An electronic cigarette, also known as an e-cigarette, is an electronic inhaler that vaporizes a liquid solution into an aerosol mist, simulating the act of tobacco smoking. E-cigarettes use a rechargeable battery to power the vaporizer.
Many people use e-cigarettes as a way of quitting smoking and while this is deemed a positive development, the act of using an e-cigarette does look like smoking which is disconcerting to other people. Users of e-cigarettes should be sensitive to the impression that using the substitute may give to others. For example, there are questions surrounding the appropriateness of smoking e-cigarettes in public, especially around children.
Smoking ordinary cigarettes violates established museum policies and therefore, for the sake of consistency, the use of e-cigarettes has been prohibited at AC-NMW on health and safety grounds (and in line with existing legislation covering smoking in public places) since May 2014.
In addition, there are good conservation reasons against ‘vaping’ in museums. Electronic cigarettes work in a similar way (with a chemical carrier, such as propylene glycol, nicotine and a cocktail of flavouring chemicals) to scent and smoke machines that historic houses and museums have rejected in the past to protect collections from damage.
What is the effect on museum collections?
What does the science say about the effects of e-cigarettes? A summary report recently reviewed 29 studies on the chemistry of e-cigarettes and found that refill solutions and aerosols contain nicotine, tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), aldehydes, metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), flavours, solvent carriers and tobacco alkaloids (Cheng 2014). However, not all of those chemicals are necessarily emitted by a user exhaling vapour from an e-cigarette. In fact, the average nicotine concentration in e-cigarette vapour is considerably lower than the amount found in tobacco smoke (Czogala et al. 2013).
In addition, e-cigarette vapour does not appear to contain some of the other toxic products found in cigarette smoke. VOCs, including acetone and formaldehyde, are seemingly not emitted at all (Czogala et al. 2013), or at levels considerably lower than from conventional cigarettes (Schripp et al. 2013) – the slightly different results depend on the analytical methods used. Crucially, acetic acid is emitted by e-cigarettes (Schripp et al. 2013).
Acetic acid is very problematic in museum galleries and collections stores. Airborne acetic acid leads to destructive corrosion of metals and minerals, including calcitic bivalve shells and fossils. And while the levels emitted by each individual e-cigarette may be small, many museum conservators and curators have first-hand experience at dealing with damage caused by airborne indoor pollutants.
Pre-cautionary principle applies in museums
We have a duty to maintain our fantastic heritage, and to care for the collections of Wales to ensure their continued and future preservation. It is best to put the objects first and limit the chemical and aerosol exposure of museum collections by prohibiting the use of both conventional and e-cigarettes in museums.
Cheng, T. 2014. Chemical evaluation of electronic cigarettes. Tobacco Control 23: ii11-ii17.
Czogala, J., Goniewicz, M.L., Fidelus, B., Zielinska-Danch, W., Travers, M.J., Sobczak, A. 2013. Secondhand exposure to vapors from electronic cigarettes. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, doi:10.1093/ntr/ntt203.
Schripp, T., Markewitz, D., Uhde, E., Salthammer, T. 2013. Does e-cigarette consumption cause passive vaping? Indoor Air 23: 25-31.
Wel, mae'r wythnos wedi cyrraedd. Ar ôl misoedd o gynllunio a thrafod, yn hwyrach yr wythnos hon, bydd y #fflachamgueddfa yn cael ei wireddu. Er bod gennym eisoes rhai straeon yn barod i rannu fel rhan o'r #fflachamgueddfa a rhai gwrthrychau o’r amgueddfa i arddangos, fel Billy y Morlo, y gwir yw, nid oes gennym unrhyw syniad beth fydd ffurf derfynol yr amgueddfa hon gan ei fod yn llwyr ddibynnol ar bobl sy'n dod i Ganolfan y Mileniwm ar ddydd Iau a dydd Gwener (9 a 10 Hydref) gyda'u straeon a / neu wrthrychau sy'n ymwneud â, neu ‘n eu hatgoffa o Gaerdydd.
Dyma sut y bydd yn gweithio. Bydd y #fflachamgueddfa yng nghyntedd Canolfan y Mileniwm, a bydd rhywun yno o 9:00-17:30 ar y ddau ddiwrnod. Gallwch naill ai roi gwrthrych a'i adael gyda ni, gyda disgrifiad ysgrifenedig neu sain ohono, neu gallwch gael eich llun wedi'i dynnu gyda'r gwrthrych. Os byddwch yn dewis gadael unrhyw beth gyda ni, bydd yn cael ei dychwelyd atoch ar ôl i’r #fflachamgueddfa ddod i ben! Fel arall, os oes gennych stori, gallwch naill ai ei hysgrifennu i lawr neu gael eich ffilmio yn adrodd yr hanes ni, a bydd yn cael ei ddangos fel rhan o'r #fflachamgueddfa.
Dal i fod gyda mi? Da iawn...
Bydd popeth yn wych os yw pobl yn troi fyny. Felly, dyma pam mae angen eich cymorth chi arnom. Wnewch chi os gwelwch yn dda ledaenu'r neges, drwy siarad am y prosiect gyda ffrindiau a theulu a’n helpu i hyrwyddo trwy gyfryngau cymdeithasol. Nid oes rhaid i wrthrychau fod yn rai gwerthfawr neu'n nodweddiadol o amgueddfa. Gall fod yn ddoniol, od, rhyfedd, difrifol, syfrdanol- yn wir, unrhyw beth dan haul cyn belled â bod ganddo stori ynglÅ·n â Chaerdydd. Gall olygu rhywbeth i chi yn bersonol neu gall fod yn rhan o'r stori sefydliad neu gwmni yng Nghaerdydd. Dyma eich cyfle i greu math gwahanol o amgueddfa.
Am ragor o wybodaeth, e-bostiwch firstname.lastname@example.org neu @heleddfychan
I Spy...Nature Drawing Competition
Visitors to our I Spy….Nature pop-up museum at the Capitol Shopping center over the summer were given the opportunity to enter a drawing competition, using our museum specimens as inspiration for their artwork. Nine winners were chosen in three age groups, winning Natural History prizes from the museum shop. As part of the prize, all winners were offered the opportunity to have a special tour behind the scenes at the museum. Several of the prizewinners have already been to visit us and the rest will be visiting us over the next few weeks. All of the winning entries can be viewed here.
The National Waterfront Museum Youth Forum join the fun on Roald Dahl Day
The 13th September 2014 was not your average day at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. There was childlike music playing, story-time in front of the caravan exhibition and a strange fellow walking around who seemed to have lost his famous Chocolate Factory. The Youth Forum was also there, collecting stories and memories of caravanning holidays from visitors to the Museum to feature alongside the main exhibit of the family caravan.
Roald Dahl day certainly attracted a lot of families to the Museum, and many of them were more than happy to share their own personal stories of caravanning. We even managed to film a few people, including one person who could only remember the bad weather – this is Wales after all! The weather was a constant theme in the recollections, but happily many people enjoyed caravanning and camping despite the rain. My favourite memory would have to be the person who towed a 2-berth caravan with their Harley-Davidson motorbike, although I wouldn’t want to be stuck behind them in traffic! People young and old were sharing their memories and stories of caravanning with their family and friends, showing that caravan holidays are still a popular choice for many people in the age of package holidays.
All in all it was a nice day for the children and families, and we were able to collect lots of memories to travel alongside the caravan when it moves to St Fagans National History Museum as a key display in one of the new galleries.
Daisy Binks Youth Forum Member
A Window into the Industry Collections
Amongst the new collections we have received in September is this unusual miniature miner’s dial. This is a compass-like instrument used underground for the surveying of passages and seams. The engraved plate on the lid of the box of this example shows that it was presented to Mr. W. Meredith by the workmen of Tylecoch Colliery on Sept. 12th 1881. The manufacturer is unknown.
We have been donated two twist boxes this month. These twist boxes were used by miners to carry their chewing tobacco. They were not allowed to smoke underground due to the risk of explosions. The one on the left even contains some original tobacco! Both examples belonged to ancestors of the donor and were both used in south Wales collieries. Twist boxes are fairly common mining related objects. An excellent display can be seen in our galleries in the old pit head baths at Big Pit: National Mining Museum.
This photograph was donated along with the two twist boxes and is a souvenir of the stay in strike at Parc Colliery. The donor’s grandfather is one of the men in the photograph.
Finally the certificate below was issued by the Monmouthshire Education Authority to Abraham Evans in 1945.
Curator: Industry & Transport
Follow us on Twitter - @IndustryACNMW
Last Saturday 20th September we ran our annual Beachwatch event at Ogmore Beach in the Vale of Glamorgan. This was part of the national campaign run by the Marine Conservation Society encouraging communities to get out and about to care for their local shorelines. This is the 10th year that museum staff have been organising a Great British Beach Clean at this beach.
In the morning families took part in workshops with museum curators finding out about different types of seaweeds and animals in the strandline and in rock pools. There were fossil hunts where people discovered lots of fossilised bivalve shells and sily lilies (crinoids) in the rocks. Families also helped create our ‘Beach Museum’ making Landart, inspired by the works of artists like Richard Long.
After lunch the serious work began, museum staff and families scoured a 150m stretch of beach near to the slipway searching for rubbish. Sadly this wasn’t a challenge, we collected over 35kg of litter in an hour! Each piece of rubbish found was logged and all this data will be sent on to the Marine Conservation Society who will use it to find out where beach litter comes from and contribute to marine conservation. Over the last 10 years we have seen a change in the rubbish that we have collected on this beach. During initial cleans one of the greatest problems encountered were cotton bud sticks, however these have declined over the years. Sadly one of the greatest problems encountered this year was dog poo in plastic bags and hypodermic needles. Over 65 people took part in the day’s activities and we look forward to taking part in Beachwatch the same time next year.
#fflachamgueddfa - Y stori hyd yma
Dyma ddiweddariad am ein prosiect fflach amgueddfa.
Rydym yn creu fflach Amgueddfa ynglyn a Chaerdydd, gyda Amgueddfa Stori Caerdydd, gyda cefnogaeth Cronfa Dreftadaeth y Loteri, ar gyfer Cynhadledd Cymdeithas yr Amgueddfeydd yng Nghaolfan y Mileniwm, Caerdydd, ar 9-10 Hydref. Cyn i ni ei greu, rydym wedi gofyn i bobl Caerdydd a thu hwnt i’n helpu i gasglu straeon a gwrthrychau.
Cyn belled, rydym wedi cynnal 3 gweithdy yn Amgueddfa Stori Caerdydd. Rydym wedi casglu dros 30 o straeon Caerdydd ar ffilm a chardiau stori a wedi gweld gwrthrychau gwych a gwahanol sydd i gyda a rhywbeth i’w ddweud am Gaerdydd yn eu ffordd unigryw eu hunain. Mae’r broses wedi dod a phobl ynghyd i drafod a rhannu eu straeon am Gaerdydd.
Cynhaliwyd y gweithdy diweddaraf yn Amgueddfa Stori Caerdydd rhwng 6-8yh ar 11 o Fedi. Roedd caws, gwin a diodydd ysgafn ar gael i ychwanegu at awyrgylch gymdeithasol y noson. Erbyn diwedd y sesiwn, roedd 20 o bobl wedi picio i mewn a rhannu eu straeon. Fe aethom a camera fideo allan ar y stryd a ffilmio 20 voxpop gan grwp amrywiol o bobl! Roedd rhai yn hynod o ddigri, a byddent yn cael eu dangos yn ystod y fflach Amgueddfa yng Nghaolfan y Mileniwm.
Y Gwrthrych Cyntaf
Corgi polystyren oedd y gwrthrych cyntaf i ni ei dderbyn. Roedd wedi cael ei adael allan gyda'r sbwriel ar stryd yn y Rhath - ond cafodd ei achub, ei olchi, ac mae bellach yn byw yn hapus gyda ei berchnogion newydd mewn ystafell fyw yng Nghaerdydd.
Cynllunio’r fflach amgueddfa
Fel mae’r nifer o storiau a gwrthrychau Caerdydd yn tyfu, tyfu hefyd mae’r angen i ni feddwl ynglyn a sut mae arddangos yr hyn sydd weid ei gasglu. Bydd y Fflach Amgueddfa yn symud i Ganolfan y Mileniwm ar y 9-10 Hydref ar gyfer Cynhadledd Cymdeithas yr Amgueddfeydd felly bydd yn rhaid iddo fod yn hyblyg ac yn hawdd i’w greu.
Rydym wedi dechrau mynd drwy storfa Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd am gasus, silffoedd, seddi, unrhywbeth! Dyma gasgliad o beth rydym wedi ei ddarganfod:
- Bwrdd mawr lle gall pobl eistedd a trafod eu straon. Un syniad o ran arddangos yw rhoddi bocsus clir ar y bwrdd, a’u rhoddi ar ben ei gilydd fel bod yn arddangosfa yn tyfu dros ddeuddydd.
- Ambell i gas hyfryd sydd ar hyn o bryd yn yr orielau celf cyfoes yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd. Bydd hyn yn caniatau i ni arddangos gwrthrychau o Amgueddfa Stori Caerdydd a’r casgliadau cenedlaethol sydd yn dweud rhywbeth am Gaerdydd yng Nghanolfan y Mileniwm.
- Mwy o seddi! Rhai eithaf neis allan o ddefnydd llwyd.
- Ac yn olaf…Billy y Morlo!
Nid ydym yn siwr eto os fydd Billy’n cael dod gyda ni i Ganolfan y Mileniwm, ond rydym yn ceisio gweld os bydd yn bosibl. Mae ysgerbwd Billy wedi bod yn rhan o gasgliadau Amgueddfa Cymru er y 1940au. Daeth Billy i Gaerdydd yn 1912, pan ddarganfu pysgotwyr ef yn eu rhwydi. Cafodd yr enw Billy cyn canfod cartref newydd yn Llyn Parc Fictoria.
Yn ol y son, fe wnaeth Billy ddianc pan fu llifogydd a nofiodd lawr Cowbridge Road. Ar y ffordd, stopiodd mewn siop bysgod leol ac archebu ‘dim sglodion, dim ond pysgodyn os gwelwch yn dda’. Aeth yna i’r Admiral Napier am beint, hanner o ‘dark’, ond cafodd ei ddal a dychwelodd i’r llyn.
Wyddo ni ddim os yw hyn yn wir, ond mae nifer o drigolion lleol yn taeru eu bod.
Dilynwch y blog hwn i ganfod os caiff Billy ddianc eto!
Gweithdy nesaf y fflach Amgueddfa
27 Medi 11.00yb-1.00yh, Amgueddfa Stori Caerdydd
Am fwy o wybodaeth ynglyn a chreu fflach Amgueddfa dilynwch y linc yma (Saesneg yn unig):
Is Content still King?
Graham Davies, Digital Programmes Manager, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales
"Content is King". The phrase is strong, infallible, sitting proud on his pedestal, a little like the Queen Mother, or the National Health Service. Sacrosanct. But has the time come to question some of our long held adages in the world of digital content and web design? Is content actually 'King' anymore?
Fresh back from an energising few days with the fab team at Culture24 at the Let's Get Real workshops and conference, I am determined not to let the enthusiasm and momentum get buried by the squillions of things in my inbox that greet me now that I am not 'Out of Office' anymore.
The discussions of the last few days have left me pondering over our constantly evolving digital landscape.
Which direction, and how high do we have to throw our digital content ball to get it successfully into the constantly moving net of engagement?
Jessica Riches, in her talk on 'Learning from Brands' seemed very surprised that she was the first of the day to mention the phrase ‘Content is King’
This made me think. And think again. About the shift in focus to be more about platforms, the importance of audiences and what channels those audiences use and reside in.
So has the time come to update or even rewrite the rulebook?
1. Content is King?
Surely it's not just raw content that is king anymore. Who your content is intended for significantly alters how it should be written and where it should be published. What is the intent of those people reading it? (as apposed to the intentions of those writing it). So I give you rule rewrite number 1:
Content, Intent and Purpose are the new King, Queen and Jack
By thinking of it this way, you are reminded that content on its own doesn't stand any more. It's equally important to also think of why you are writing it and where the people are who want to read it?
2. Build it and They Will Come?
This fell off its pedestal a long time ago, but if we were to prop it back in place the stonemasons would need to re-carve the plinth to read:
Write it and take it to where they are. Or perhaps better still: Go pay them a visit and have a chat
This helps reinforce the idea that we can't be institutional broadcasters anymore, we should be working with our audience to help them answer what they want to know, rather than what we want to tell them.
To demonstrate this, Shelley Bernstein provided us with a superb keynote speech at the Let's Get Real conference on how the Brooklyn Museum are trusting the audience and developing a wholly user-centric approach to their new responsive museum.
3. Design Responsive Websites
Great, Yes, very good. Although a revision of this phrase can encompass web design by default whilst primarily focussing on content:
Optimise your content to be platform independent
4. Think Mobile First
Yes, we must, and we should make this behaviour ingrained. By turning this rule upside-down, our new banner proclaims (and by its very nature automatically assumes mobile first):
Remember to check the desktop
Think back to those good old days where everything had to be retrofitted to work in IE 6. Who now retrospectively checks that everything reads and works well on a desktop? Not many I'm guessing.
But beware. Herein lies the paradox: Remember, people looking to visit one of our venues are more likely to be looking us up through a mobile device. However, people looking at in-depth long-form curatorial and academic material are predominantly still using desktops.
This is where headline metrics can be misleading, if your website as a whole shows a rise in mobile, that doesn't mean that all the content on the site is being accessed through mobiles. This is why metric analysis is so crucial before we apply blanket statements based on overall trends.
This brings me onto to something bigger I have been mulling over recently...
"Can we put it on the website please"?
Quite frankly, I dislike the term "Website". I often ask what section or area people are actually referring to, for websites these days have come to contain many distinct areas and functions, serving completely separate and different audiences and requirements. Maybe this is the crux of the problem? At the moment we are all busy working on a 'one solution fits all approach'. Shouldn't we be thinking of applying separate templates and content strategies based on different audience requirements within our own websites?
Going back to our rewritten rule number one, and this should be applied within (and throughout) our own organisational websites too.
All this can help us ensure that we consistently put the users needs at the centre of our goals and ambitions. Just by thinking a little differently about our assumptions, we have the ability to take a quicker, more direct route to successful engagement.
Arddangosiadau Tîm Adeiladau Hanesyddol
Mae Elan yn gwirfoddoli gyda fforwm ieuenctid Sain Ffagan. Yn ddiweddar, treuliodd Elen amser gydag ein Uned Adeiladau Hanesyddol ac mae wedi ysgrifennu am ei phrofiad isod;
Arddangosiadau Tîm Adeiladau Hanesyddol
Fel rhan o’r arddangosiadau Tîm Adeiladau Hanesyddol yn Sain Ffagan, es i i Hendre’r Ywydd Uchag i weld saer coed wrth ei waith. Pan gyrhaeddais roedd yn brysur yn gweithio ar ffrâm ddrws ar gyfer y Pentref Oes Haearn newydd gyda phren a oedd o’r safle ac wedi cael ei dorri y bore hwnnw. Roedd rhaid i’r gwaith gael ei wneud gyda llaw heb unrhyw gymorth oddi wrth beiriannau. Roedd e’n fwy na hapus i siarad â ni ynglŷn â’i waith ac i ateb ein cwestiynau. Soniodd ynglŷn â’i hanes proffesiynol, ei fod wedi gwneud NVQ mewn gwaith saer hanesyddol a’i fod newydd orffen ei brentisiaeth ar ôl gweithio yn yr amgueddfa am bum mlynedd. Roedd ei edmygedd tuag at wybodaeth y crefftwyr mwy profiadol yn glir ac roedd yn ymwybodol fod y wybodaeth hon yn dod o brofiad ac nid ar sail cymwysterau.
Esboniodd wedyn sut daethant â’r adeiladau i’r amgueddfa gan ddisgrifio’r cynnyrch terfynol fel ‘flatpack buildings’ wrth iddynt rifo’r holl friciau o amgylch ochrau’r adeilad cyn ei dynnu i lawr a’i ailadeiladu. Defnyddiodd Dŷ Hwlffordd a Gorsaf Drenau Raglan fel esiamplau. Roedd pwysigrwydd cadwraeth yn y broses hon yn eglur wrth iddo sôn mai dim ond tynnu’r hyn sydd angen ei dynnu ffwrdd roedd rhaid gwneud wrth atgyweirio adeiladau. Esboniodd sut byddai datblygiadau newydd sydd ar droed yn Sain Ffagan yn arwain at waith newydd e.e. Palas y Tywysog o Ynys Môn lle bydd rhaid iddynt drin 480kg o bren! Dyma oedd amser gwerth ei dreulio er mwyn deall sut roedd yr adeiladu’n digwydd yn Sain Ffagan.
by Elan Llwyd