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David Anderson

Blog David Anderson

End of an era

Postiwyd gan Heledd Fychan ar 23 Mai 2011

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.


Fun, but an important insight

Postiwyd gan Heledd Fychan ar 17 Mai 2011

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.


Ym mhobman

Postiwyd gan Heledd Fychan ar 28 Chwefror 2011

Diwedd wythnos diwethaf, bum yn Nulyn. Roedd hi'n gyfnod prysur yno a hwythau yng nghanol etholiad. Er nad oedd y canlyniad yn wybyddus pryd hynny, roedd yn amlwg fod yna chwant am newid. Ymysg y bobl y gwnes i gyfarfod oedd Raymond Keaveney o Oriel Celf Genedlaethol Iwerddon a Pat Wallace of Amugeddfa Genedlaethol Iwerddon. Roedd yn amlwg o'r yn a glywais fod y sector amgueddfaol wedi dioddef yn arw oherwydd y sefyllfa economaidd gyda toriadau staff ynghyd a rhewi ar gyflogi staff. Fodd bynnag, roedd yna newyddion da hefyd a cawsom sgyrsiau difyr ynglyn a chydweithio yn y dyfodol ynghyd a chyfnewidiadau staff. Cafwyd dipyn o hwyl ynglyn a'r rygbi, gyda gem Cymru v Iwerddon cyn hir. Wrth lwc, mae fy nghydweithwyr yn hapus imi barhau i gefnogi Iwerddon!

Nol yng Nghymru, bum am y tro cyntaf i weld opera yng Nghanolfan y Mileniwm. Roedd y lleoliad ynghyd a'r perfformiad o safon uchel tu hwnt. Rydym yn ffodus iawn i gael theatr o'r fath safon yng Nghaerdydd.

Mae gennyf hefyd ychydig o newyddion da - cefais fy ethol fel aelod o fwrdd y Museums Association. Rwyf yn hynod ddiolchgar o'r gefnogaeth a dderbyniais ac yn edrych ymlaen at y sialens. Mae cryn waith o'n blaenau ac edrychaf ymlaen i chwarae rhan flaenllaw o fewn y Bwrdd fel ein bod yn arwain y sector yn dilyn diddymiad yr MLA.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Postiwyd gan Heledd Fychan ar 3 Chwefror 2011

An article by me, published on the website Waleshome today:

Connecting Cultures

TODAY is the Chinese New Year, and we enter the year of the Rabbit.

Although we have been celebrating the Chinese New Year for a number of years at Amgueddfa Cymru –National Museum Wales, this year is extra special for us as it coincides with the unique exhibition that we are currently hosting at National Museum Cardiff – From Steep Hillsides: Ancient Rock Carvings from Dazu, China. This exhibition has been a coup, not only for Amgueddfa Cymru but also for Wales as these sculptures have never before been seen outside of China. We feel very privileged to have been chosen as the first ever venue to host them outside of their homeland and I’m confident that this free exhibition will be popular with our visitors.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to visit the exhibition, then it is difficult to convey in words just how magical they are. The carvings originate from the steep hillsides of the Dazu World Heritage site near Chongqing, which contain an exceptional series of rock carvings dating from the middle of the 7th century and developed between the 9th and the 13th centuries. The carvings comprise some 50,000 figures in total, and are remarkable for their aesthetic quality, their rich diversity of subject matter, both secular and religious, and the light that they shed on everyday life in China during this period. By a happy coincidence, a few years ago I was lucky enough to visit Dazu and see them for myself. It was an unique experience, and I remember being blown away by them. Obviously, we couldn’t bring all 50,000 figures to Wales, but this exhibition contains superb examples that have become detached from their original setting, along with accurate replicas of some of the most important sculptures still in situ and dramatic large-scale images, to give some idea of what it is like to visit these spectacular places.

Dazu is a real treasure house of Chinese art history and an important expression of Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism, as well as a fascinating insight into Chinese daily life. I cannot overemphasise how remarkable these carvings are, and certainly, this exhibition would not be out of place at any world-class museum. A question that I have been asked since the exhibition opened has been why was Wales selected as a venue for this stunning exhibition rather than somewhere like the British Museum or the Victoria and Albert? The answer lies in the blossoming relationship between Wales and the Chongqing region in China, which has been led by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The origin of the relationship was a recommendation from Premier Wan Jiabao during his visit to Wales in 2000, which resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding between the Chongqing Municipal Government and the Welsh Assembly Government, agreeing to collaboration and co-operation in a number of areas, which was signed during First Minister for Wales Rhodri Morgan’s visit to Chongqing in March 2006. Since then Wales has welcomed a number of visitors from Chongqing and delegations from Wales have visited Chongqing. The Welsh Assembly Government also funds a schools project, managed by British Council, which links more than 50 Welsh schools with schools in Chongqing. There have been several exchange visits by the schools to Chongqing and to Wales.

This relationship has also extended into culture, and National Museum Wales has established a relationship with several cultural organisations in Chongqing. It is hoped that this exhibition is the first of many such exchanges, which will in future include sending some of our own collections to China. Not only will we be able to continue to showcase Chinese culture in Wales but we will also be able to showcase Wales to the world. Both countries are steeped in history and culture, and it is a fantastic opportunity for us to share our national stories.

Establishing strong links between Wales and China is obviously of great importance to the Welsh Assembly Government, and it was widely commented upon that Wales had been excluded from the itinerary of a recent Chinese trade delegation that visited the UK. But those critics should not despair. I believe that the Welsh Assembly Government is laying the foundations for a successful long term friendship between the two countries, not just a relationship based on business and economics. This exhibition is a small but not insignificant part of that burgeoning friendship which will hopefully evolve over time.

Wythnos wych

Postiwyd gan Heledd Fychan ar 28 Ionawr 2011

Mae'r wythnos hon wedi bod yn wych. Dydd Mawrth, roedd agoriad swyddogol ein harddangosfa Dazu ac rwyf yn eithriadol o hapus gyda'r cyfan. Mae'r arddangosfa yn hynod o drawiadol, ac mae'n fraint eu bod yma'n Nghymru y tro cyntaf iddyn nhw fod tu allan i Tsieina. Anrhydedd fawr i ni ac i Gymru! Mae'r holl sylw yn y wasg wedi adlewyrchu pwysigrwydd yr arddangosfa ac mae'n wych gweld cymaint o bobl yn dod i'r amgueddfa i'w gweld. Drwy gyd-ddigwyddiad, fe fûm i'n ddigon lwcus i ymweld â Dazu flynyddoedd yn ôl a'u gweld gyda fy llygaid fy hunan. Roedd yn safle anhygoel, ac rwyf yn falch ein bod yn medru rhoi cyfle i bobl Cymru gael blas ohonyn nhw gyda'r arddangosfa yma.

Heblaw am hynny, rwyf wedi bod yn brysur yn cyfarfod gyda phartneriaid gwahanol megis y Fed - Ffederasiwn o Amgueddfeydd ac Orielau Celf Cymru. Er ein bod eisoes yn gweithio'n agos gyda'n gilydd, credaf y gellid cryfhau'r berthynas a chefais drafodaeth fuddiol gyda'u Llywydd yngl?n â'r posibiliadau ar gyfer y dyfodol. Mae'n bwysig ein bod yn cefnogi'n gilydd sêl sector, er mwyn sicrhau sector amgueddfaol cryf yma'n Nghymru.

Bûm yn siarad mewn cynhadledd Dehongli Cymru, a hefyd bum yn Wakefield yn sgil fy rôl fel un o Ymddiriedolwyr yr Amgueddfa Cloddio Glo Cenedlaethol yno. Roeddwn yn falch iawn o fedru bod yn symud o gwmpas wythnos yma ar ôl gorfod cymryd tridiau i ffwrdd o'r gwaith yr wythnos ddiwethaf ar ôl imi frifo fy mhen glin. Er ei fod yn boenus, rwyf yn medru cerdded yn awr ond bydd angen physio i gryfhau'r cyhyrau. Ond dyna ni, fel yna mae bywyd weithiau!

Mae hi wedi bod yn brysur ers imi ddechrau yma ond rwyf yn mwynhau. Mae'r staff wedi bod yn eithriadol o groesawgar, ac rwyf yn llawn cyffro yngl?n â'n cynlluniau ar gyfer y dyfodol yn arbennig felly prosiect ail-ddatblygu Sain Ffagan. Does dim amser i fod wedi fy niflasu ac rwyf yn falch o fod yn rhan o sefydliad sydd yn llawn bywyd.

Eira a'r Alban

Postiwyd gan Chris Owen ar 2 Rhagfyr 2010

Penwythnos diwethaf, fe ymwelodd fy ngwraig Josie, fy merch Isobel a fy mab Desmond a Chaerdydd. Rydym yn dal i chwilio am gartef parhaol i'r teulu yma felly roeddwn eisiau cymeryd y cyfle i ddangos Caerdydd iddyn nhw. Prynhawn Sadwrn, fe aethom i Sain Ffagan. Deuthom ar draw staff oedd wedi bod yn gweithio'n eithriadol o galed i glirio'r eira fel bod y safle yn medru agor i ymwelwyr ar y dydd Sul. Roedd yn parhau i fod yn rhy beryglus i ni fedru fynd o'i gwmpas, ond wrth lwc, roedd digon i'w weld yn Oriel 1. Roedd yn gyfle gwych i ni dreulio amser yn yr orielau ac i mi weld beth sydd yn digwydd i'r safle pan mae eira'n disgyn!

Yna dydd Llun, fe es i fyny i'r Alban ar gyfer nifer o gyfarfodydd. Roedd Caeredin yn edrych yn eithaf llwm ond hefyd yn eithaf rhamantus yn yr eira, er doedd hi ddim yn hawdd teithio o gwmpas oherwydd y tywydd. Roeddwn i fod i gyfrafod Gordon Rintoul, Cyfarwyddwr Amgueddfeydd Cenedlaethol yr Alban, ond yn anffodus roedd o'n sal gyda'r ffliw. Serch hynny, fe wnes i gyfarfod nifer o'i staff a chael trafodaethau difyr ynglyn ag addysg, ymgysulltu ac ymgynghori a'r cyhoedd a'r ffordd y mae casgliadau yn cael eu trefnu, ynghyd a hefyd y bygythiad gan lywodraeth San Steffan o ran cyllid y 'portable antiquities scheme'. Rwyf yn fawr obeithio y bydd trafodaethau pellach yn medru sicrhau ein bod yn achub y cynllun pwysig hwn.

Fe wnes i gyfarfod hefyd gyda John Leighton, Cyfarwyddwr Cyffredinol Orielau Cenedlaethol yr Alban. Fe eglurodd sut mae Oriel Dean wedi bod yn arbrofi gyda ffyrdd newydd o ddehongli gyda arddangosfeydd dros-dro. Eglurodd hefyd sut mae nhw wedi medru bod yn llai dibynnol ar fenthyciadau o dramor ond drwy hefyd dal i lwyddo i ddennu cynulleidfaoedd eang.
Roedd yr argraff a gefais o fy ymweliad yn un cadarnhaol oedd yn awrgymu y gellid gweithio'n agosach gyda'r Amgueddfeydd Cenedlaethol yn yr Alban a Gogledd iwerddon yn y dyfodol. Fe fydd yn rhaid imi edrych ar yr adroddiadau tywydd cyn trefnu trip arall! Cafodd fy hediad ei ohurio felly bu'n rhaid imi ddal y tren yn ol. Ond, er gwaetha'r tywydd, bu'n drip buddiol a gwerth chweil.

Yn y Swydd

Postiwyd gan Chris Owen ar 27 Hydref 2010
David Anderson yn Sain Ffagan
David Anderson, Cyfarwyddwr Cyffredinol

Ychydig dros bythefnos yn ôl, fe ddechreuais yn fy swydd yma yn Amgueddfa Cymru. Mae wedi bod yn gychwyn digon prysur wrth i mi fynd ati i gwrdd â staff ym mhob un o'n safleoedd ni, yn ogystal â mynychu dathliadau pen-blwydd Amgueddfa'r Glannau yn bump oed. Mae pawb wedi bod yn arbennig o groesawgar, ac rydw i'n falch iawn o gael y cyfle i arwain sefydliad sydd mor uchel ei barch.

Rydw i wedi ymuno ag Amgueddfa Cymru ar adeg gyffrous iawn. Mae datblygiadau ar droed i greu Amgueddfa Hanes yn Sain Ffagan ac i droi llawr cyntaf Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd yn Amgueddfa Gelf Genedlaethol i Gymru - disgwylir y bydd y gwaith yma wedi'i gwblhau ym mis Gorffennaf 2011. Dros y misoedd nesaf, byddaf i'n cefnogi cynnydd y projectau yma yn ogystal ag yn cadarnhau'r neges bod Amgueddfa Cymru yn adnodd modern ar gyfer Cymru. Swyddogaeth yr Amgueddfeydd Cenedlaethol yw gwasanaethu pobl Cymru, ac un ffordd o lwyddo i roi'r weledigaeth yma ar waith yw ffurfio partneriaethau diwylliannol. O ystyried sefyllfa ariannol y wlad ar hyn o bryd, mae'r dull yma yn bwysicach fyth.

Wythnos diwethaf, lansiwyd ein dogfen Ysbrydoli Cymru yn y Senedd. Mae dysgu wrth wraidd popeth a wna Amgueddfa Cymru ac mae'r papur yma'n dathlu'r gwaith yma, a'n gweledigaeth ni o fod yn amgueddfa ddysg o safon ryngwladol. Mae'r llyfryn yn dangos sut mae ein gwaith o ddehongli a chyfathrebu ein casgliadau i bobl Cymru, a'i hymwelwyr, yr un mor bwysig â bod yn geidwaid i gasgliadau'r genedl.

Mae Amgueddfa Cymru yn unigryw ymysg amgueddfeydd cenedlaethol yr Ynysoedd Prydeinig oherwydd ei amrywiaeth o safleoedd a hefyd eu cysylltiad clos gyda'r cymunedau a'r rhanbarthau y maent yn rhan ohonynt. All yr un amgueddfa genedlaethol yn Llundain ddod yn agos at gyflawni hyn.

Mae'r casgliadau hefyd yn anhygoel o amrywiol yn eu hystod eang o ddisgyblaethau - o hanes cymdeithasol i gelf, o wyddoniaeth natur i hanes diwydiannol. Mae hyn yn galluogi'r amgueddfa i apelio i gynulleidfa eang, gyda chydbwysedd rhwng y rhywiau - sydd eto'n wahanol i rai amgueddfeydd yn Llundain!

Mae'r cyfle i weithio yn un o'r prif amgueddfeydd Celtaidd yn apelio'n fawr imi. A minnau wedi fy ngeni ym Melffast, ac wedi astudio Archaeoleg a Hanes Iwerddon yn yr Alban, rwyf yn falch o gael y cyfle nawr i ddysgu mwy about am ddiwylliant a hanes Cymru.