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October 2014

Biology Rocks! at National Museum Cardiff

Posted by Lucy McCobb on 20 October 2014

Some of our younger visitors getting to grips with our marine collections

Exploring seabed life

Botanist curator taking part in the pollination game

Our seabed mural being put together by museum visitors

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Biology rocked at National Museum Cardiff on Saturday 11th October, when over 3000 visitors joined scientists from Amgueddfa Cymru, Cardiff University and the Society of Biology to celebrate National Biology Week and Earth Science Week. 

Visitors got the opportunity to see some of the specimens from our collections that aren’t usually on display and to talk to Museum experts about their work.  Specimens from the Marine and Mollusca collections provided inspiration for a mural depicting life in the seas around Wales, which became more colourful and populated throughout the day!  

As part of the Geological Society’s ‘100 Great Geosites’ campaign, Museum geologists displayed rocks, fossils and minerals from our collections, as well as stunning images of some of the most beautiful and iconic landscapes in Wales.  Members of the public were invited to vote for their favourite site in Wales, with the dinosaur footprints from Bendricks Rocks, near Barry, emerging as the clear favourite on the day.

To mark the recent arrival of two hives on our roof, staff from the Entomology and Botany Sections gave visitors the opportunity to take a closer look at bee specimens from our collections and to experience a ‘bee’s eye view’ of the world by playing a pollination game, collecting ‘pollen’ and ‘nectar’ from various flowers.

Scientists from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences and School of Earth and Ocean Sciences put on a variety of displays and activities throughout the Museum.  Among the many activities on offer, visitors could try their hand at organ transplant using a life-size Operation game, race maggots, work out how big a dinosaur was from its footprint, discover first-hand how fungi get their spots, and learn the importance of reporting road kill with the Splatter Project.

I Spy...Nature Drawing Competition

Posted by Katie Mortimer-Jones on 6 October 2014

Winner in our I Spy...Nature drawing competition

Runner-up in our 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

September 2014

Beachwatch

Posted by Katie Mortimer-Jones on 25 September 2014

Museum curators getting ready for the family activites

Our 'Beach Gallery' 

Land art in our 'beach gallery'

More land art

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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.

Demonstrations from the Histioric Buildings Unit

Posted by Gareth Bonello on 17 September 2014
Hendre'r Ywydd Uchaf Farmhouse

Elan volunteers with the St Fagans Youth Forum and spent some time with the Museum's Historic Buildings Unit and has blogged about her experience below;

Demonstrations from the Histioric Buildings Unit

As part of the Historic Buildings Demonstrations at Sain Ffagan, I visited Hendre’r Ywydd Uchaf to see a carpenter at his work. When I arrived, he was busy working on a head of a door frame for the new Iron Age Village with wood that was sourced on site and freshly cut that morning. The work had to be done by hand without any aid from machines. He was more than happy to talk to us about his work and answer any of our questions. He talked about how he has done an NVQ in Historic Carpentry and that he has just finished his apprentiship after working at the museum for five years. His admiration towards the knowledge of the more experienced craftsmen was clear and he was aware that this knowledge came from experience not from qualifications.

He later explained how they brought buildings to the museum desribing the finished result as ‘flatpack buildings’ as they numbered the bricks around the sides before taking the building down and rebuilding it in Sain Ffagan using the Havorfordwest House and the Raglan Train Station as examples of this. The importance of conservation in this process was evident as he talked of only taking away what you needed whilst repairing historic buildings in order to keep their authenticity. He explained how the new developments happening in Sain Ffagan would lead to new work such as the Prince’s Palace from Anglesey where they would need to handle 480kg of timber! This was time well spent in order to understand how the building happens in Sain Ffagan.

blog gan Elan Llwyd

August 2014

summer art activities

Posted by Sian Lile-Pastore on 14 August 2014

As I am now working in St Fagans National Museum and National Museum Cardiff, I can share loads more works of art and design! It also means that I've had a lot of help preparing and delivering the art workshops, so thank you to Heloise,Liz, Sally, Ellie, the two Catrin's, Marged, Marsli, Tracey, Angharad and Hywel!

In St Fagans this summer we've been asking visitors to design a new play area for us (we will be building a new play area in the near future as part of the redevelopments) and we have had the most amazing designs and ideas. I think my favourite are the fireman's pole shaped like a worm and a tree house that explodes with sweets every five seconds. Lots of people want tree houses, zip wires and monkey bars!

At National Museum Cardiff we have two sessions running this summer, one is based on the new Richard Wilson exhibition and the other is based on the Wales Visitation exhibition. For the Richard Wilson art activity we are asking visitors to look closely at the paintings and to create their own landscape based on them, things we are asking them to look out for are the way that Wilson uses colours in the foreground, middle ground and background; his use of 'framing trees' and the way that he often has people taking part in activities in the foreground. The landscapes the visitors make can then be all joined together to create one long beautiful Wilsonesque landscape! Here are a few images of what's been happening so far...

For the workshop based on the Wales Visitation exhibition we are taking families to look at some of the paintings and objects on display and asking them to create a landscape using image and text. They can use any words they want, but we have also been providing them with quotes from the Allen Ginsberg poem (from which the exhibition gets it's title) as there are such gorgeous and visual parts to the poem, such as:

"Valleys breathe, heaven and earth move together,

daisies push inches of yellow air, vegetables tremble,

grass shimmers green

sheep speckle the mountainside, revolving their jaws with empty eyes,

horses dance in the warm rain"

(Art activities continue throughout August, for more details about the workshops and activities, please visit our 'What's on' pages)

July 2014

Welsh Super Scientists

Posted by Catalena Angele on 8 July 2014

Welsh Super Scientists from Ysgol Clocaenog at the National Slate Museum

‘Little birds’ in the nest they built

Mini-beast hunting

Ysgol Clocaenog in Denbighshire was awarded first place out of sixty nine Welsh schools taking part in the Museum's Spring Bulbs for Schools investigation this year.

The Super Scientists won a fun-packed trip to the National Slate Museum where they learnt about the Story of Slate, looked for mini-beasts and built giant nests in the quarry!

Professor Plant: “Ysgol Clogaenog did really well in the Spring Bulbs investigation and sent in the most weather data out of all the schools in Wales! This really was an achievement as schools are getting better and better at recording and sending their data. It was lovely to meet the Super Scientists from Ysgol Clocaenog, we had lots of fun building nests and pretending to be little birds! We also learnt lots about Slate and I especially enjoyed watching the slate splitting!”

If you would like to take part in this project next term please complete the on-line application form:

Spring Bulbs for Schools - Application form

May 2014

Flower Drawing Competition 2014

Posted by Catalena Angele on 30 May 2014

1st - Abbey, Coppull Parish Church School

2nd - Louise, SS Philip and James CE Primary School (Pink 3)

3rd - Amelie, Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School

Congratulation to the winners of the Flower Drawing Competition 2014! Here are their excellent botanical illustrations.

  • 1st: Abbey – Coppull Parish Church School
  • 2nd: Louise – SS Philip and James CE Primary School (Pink 3)
  • 3rd: Amelie – Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School

In this competition I was looking for botanical illustrations – these are pictures of plants drawn in a scientific way. This means I was looking for beautiful pictures but they also needed clear labels to show the different parts of the flower.

All of the drawing sent in were really fantastic, so I have put them all on our website for you to see! Well done to all of you.

Click here to view all the drawings.

Many thanks,

Prof P

Spring Bulb for Schools: Results 2005-2014

Posted by Catalena Angele on 27 May 2014

The ‘Spring Bulbs for Schools’ project allows 1000s of schools scientists to work with Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales to investigate and understand climate change.

Since October 2005, school scientists have been keeping weather records and noting when their flowers open, as part of a long-term study looking at the effects of temperature on spring bulbs.

Certificates have now been sent out to all the 4,075 pupils that completed the project this year.

See Professor Plant's reports or download the spreadsheet to study the trends for yourself!

  • Make graphs & frequency charts or calculate the mean.
  • See if the flowers opened late in schools that recorded cold weather.
  • See how temperature, sunshine and rainfall affect the average flowering dates.
  • Look for trends between different locations.
     
Many Thanks

Professor Plant

www.museumwales.ac.uk/scan/bulbs

Twitter http://twitter.com/Professor_Plant

Give and Gain Day 2014

Posted by Hywel Couch on 19 May 2014

Sharpening the posts

Sledge Hammer!

Building the hedge

The Volunteers!

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Last week, as part of Give and Gain Day 2014, we had 50 volunteers from the Lloyds Banking Group helping with a number of projects here at St Fagans. Some helped with the Gardening Department, some helped the Historic Buildings Unit while some assisted with a project alongside the Alzheimer’s Society. Myself and Bernice had the help of 11 volunteers to build a dead hedge in the woodlands near the bird hide.

We had been planning on building a dead hedge in near the bird hide for a while, for a number of reasons. A dead hedge would act as a screen for approaching the bird hide, meaning that birds on the feeders would be less likely to be scared by the approaching visitors. A dead hedge also acts as a wildlife corridor, giving cover to a wide variety of wildlife as they move through the woodlands. Visitors had also begun cutting through the woodland, and one section of the dead hedge was to act as a deterrent meaning visitors would be more likely to stick to the paths.

The first task of the day was the sharpening of the fence posts. The posts are needed for structure and need to be driven firmly into the ground. Creating the sharp end obviously makes this much easier. After creating pilot holes, the poles were then driven into the ground using a sledge hammer. Once the posts were in place, we could then begin to assemble the dead hedge.

A dead hedge is built up of dead woodland material. Over the past couple of weeks I have been asking the gardeners and farmers here to help by collecting any trimmings and off cuts and delivering these to the bird hide for use in this project. Everyone was incredibly helpful, and we ended up with a vast pile of material… or so I thought. Dead hedging takes a lot of material, so along with some of the volunteers I headed into the woods to do a bit of clearing to gain more material.

After lunch, we headed up into the woods near the site of Bryn Eryr, the Iron Age farmstead currently being built. This area has previously been cleared so there was a lot of cut material for us to collect. This was loaded into a trailer and taken over to the bird hide. The afternoon finished with us using this material to finish the dead hedge. As an artistic final touch, we used some lime cuttings to add extra height and a certain je ne sais quois to the finished hedge.

As these pictures show, the day was a huge success! The weather could not have been better and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. The 2 sections of dead hedge we wanted to build got done, and I’ve already earmarked some projects for future volunteers! The amount of work done in a day was incredible, it would have taken me and Bernice a lot longer to do without the help of the volunteers. A huge thank you to everyone who helped us and the other projects too!

April 2014

Super Scientist Awards 2014

Posted by Catalena Angele on 28 April 2014
Professor Plant

Daffodil drawing at SS Philip and James CE Primary School, England

Flowers at Ysgol Y Plas, Wales

Ninety five schools across the UK will be awarded Super Scientist Certificates from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales this year, in recognition of their contribution to the Spring Bulbs – Climate Change Investigation.

Huge Congratulations to all these schools! They are listed below, is your school listed?

Thank you to every one of the 4200 pupils who helped this year! Thank you for working so hard planting, observing, measuring and recording - you really are Super Scientists! Each one of you will receive a certificate and Super Scientist pencil, these will be sent to your school around the middle of May.

Many thanks to the Edina Trust for funding this project and helping to make this all happen!

 

Winners 2014

Well done to our three winners for sending in the most weather data! Each will receive a class trip of fun-packed nature activities.

  • Ysgol Clocaenog in Wales
  • Abronhill Primary School in Scotland
  • Dallas Road Community Primary School in England

 

Runners Up

Each school will receive a gift voucher to purchase lovely things for your gardening projects.

  • Ysgol Gynradd Cross Hands in Wales
  • Wormit Primary School in Scotland
  • The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School in England

 

Highly commended

Each school will receive certificates, pencils, flower seeds and herb seeds.

  • Abergwili VC Primary
  • Archbishop Hutton's Primary School
  • Arkholme CE Primary School
  • Balshaw Lane Community Primary School
  • Bleasdale CE Primary School
  • Burscough Bridge Methodist School
  • Carnforth North Road Primary School
  • Christchurch CP School
  • Combe Primary School
  • Coppull Parish Church School
  • Cutteslowe Primary School
  • Darran Park Primary
  • Freuchie Primary School
  • Gladestry C. in W. Primary
  • Glyncollen Primary
  • Kilmaron School
  • Raglan VC Primary
  • SS Philip and James CE Primary School
  • St Athan Primary School
  • St Blanes Primary School
  • St Ignatius Primary School
  • St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Leyland
  • St Mellons Church in Wales Primary School
  • St Michael's CE (Aided) Primary School
  • St Nicholas Primary School
  • St Patrick's Primary School
  • Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School
  • Ysgol Bro Eirwg
  • Ysgol Deganwy

 

Schools with special recognition

Each school will receive, certificates, pencils and flower seeds.

  • Auchengray Primary School
  • Britannia Community Primary School
  • Cawthorne's Endowed Primary School
  • Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor
  • Culross Primary School
  • Greyfriars RC Primary School
  • Holy Trinity CE Primary School
  • John Cross CE Primary School
  • Llanishen Fach Primary School
  • Red Marsh School
  • St Anne's Catholic Primary School
  • St Laurence CE Primary School
  • Woodplumpton St. Anne's Primary School
  • Ysgol Gynradd Dolgellau
  • Ysgol Terrig
  • Ysgol Y Plas

 

Schools to be awarded certificates

Each school will receive Super Scientist Certificates and pencils.

  • All Saints' CE Primary School
  • Balcurvie Primary School
  • Ballerup Nursery
  • Blenheim Road Community Primary School
  • Brockholes Wood Community Primary School
  • Brynhyfryd Junior School
  • Catforth Primary School
  • Chatelherault Primary School
  • Cleddau Reach VC Primary School
  • Cobbs Brow Primary School
  • Coed-y-Lan Primary School
  • Flakefleet Primary School
  • Glencairn Primary School
  • Golden Hill School
  • Henllys C/W Primary
  • Hillside Specialist School
  • Ladywell Primary School
  • Lakeside Primary
  • Lea Community School
  • Manor Road Primary School
  • Manor School
  • Milford Haven Junior School
  • Newport Primary School
  • Pinfold Primary School
  • RAF Benson Primary School
  • Rogiet Primary School
  • Rougemont Junior School
  • Scotforth St Paul's CE Primary School
  • St Bernadette's Primary School
  • St Gregory's Catholic Primary School
  • St John's CE Primary School
  • St Nicholas C/W primary school
  • Trellech Primary School
  • Tynewater Primary School
  • Woodstock CE Primary School
  • Ysgol Bro Tawe
  • Ysgol Glan Cleddau
  • Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn
  • Ysgol Nant y Coed
  • Ysgol Rhys Prichard
  • Ysgol Santes Tudful
  • Ysgol Sychdyn
  • Ysgol Y Berllan Deg
  • Ysgol Y Faenol

 

Daffodil Drawing Competition 2014

Congratulations to the following pupils who produced some excellent botanical drawings! Winners will receive Bird watching kits with mini binoculars.

  • 1st: Abbey – Coppull Parish Church School
  • 2nd: Louise – SS Philip and James CE Primary School (Pink 3)
  • 3rd: Amelie – Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School

 

Well done, you have all done an AMAZING job.

Professor Plant