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National Waterfront Museum — Open to all

Swansea's National Waterfront Museum has won two major awards for the outstanding way it informs and involves the public.

The Interpret Britain and Ireland Awards were presented to Dr Richard Bevins, who was the Museum's Project Leader for the development, by TV personality and heritage campaigner Loyd Grossman in Bristol. (Nov 30)

The awards recognise the very best examples of interpretation – the art of sharing the stories and significance of natural and cultural heritage. Winners had to score high marks against a range of rigorous criteria including imagination and innovation, good interpretive planning and a clear commitment to accessibility, training and maintenance.

Since opening on October 17, 2005, the National Waterfront Museum – part of the Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales family – has welcomed around 280,000 people.

Visitors can explore the exciting human stories about innovation and industry in Wales over the last 300 years through a series of 15 themed exhibition areas.

There are 100 audio visual exhibits including 36 state of the art interactive displays, as well as some very large and now technologically obsolete objects from across Wales.

The quality of the museum building and the latest technology used to explain the collections have already won a number of awards from various bodies including the Civic Trust and RIBA, Royal Institute for British Architects. It was also one of five shortlisted for the Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award.

In last night's ceremony the Museum was given an award for its innovative use of technology and interpretation.

It was also given a special award in recognition of its aim to be inclusive and accessible to all. Judges said: “We applaud the museum's desire for total inclusivity and these aims seem to be met.” They also praised the language and type size for text panels along with the use of British Sign Language.

On making the presentations Mr Grossman said it was gratifying to see such excellent interpretive practice being put in place. “It is also exciting that so many people are working to encourage diversity by making their sites and interpretation accessible to everyone,” he added.

The awards scheme, now in its 22nd year, is run by the Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI), with support from English Heritage, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Countryside Council for Wales.

Dr Bevins said: “We are thrilled to receive these awards, which represent a most fitting climax to a lot of extremely hard work and dedication by the Museum's staff and the external Design Team in bringing to fruition a very ambitious and exciting Project'

Notes to Editor:

The £33.5M development was awarded an £11 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund – the largest grant ever awarded in Wales. It is a partnership between Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and the City and County of Swansea. It was designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects incorporating a Grade II listed warehouse, linked to a spectacular brand new glass and slate building. The Museum is situated in Swansea's new Maritime Quarter and forms part of the regeneration of the area. The remainder of the funding came from the Welsh Assembly Government, EU Objective One funding and other private donors and sponsors.

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales operates six other national museums across Wales. These are National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre and the National Slate Museum, Llanberis.

Entry to all Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales sites is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Date: 1 December 2006
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