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Since September 2015 I have been working with Kate Congdon, Lecturer of ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) at Cardiff and the Vale College. Together we have been working with ESOL students from the college to create learning resources to be used at St Fagans National History Museum as part of the colleges ESOL programme. The resources will provide ESOL students with the opportunity to practice their English abilities whilst learning about the history of Wales.

In September 2015, 200 ESOL students visited St Fagans. The students’ abilities ranged from beginners to those who were nearly fluent. Kate created a questionnaire for the students to choose their top 3 buildings at the Museum. The results of these were split into two groups to reflect the different learners’ levels, lower level and higher level.

Lower Level:

Higher Level:

In December 2015, a small group of students from the lower or entry level visited St Fagans again to act as a focus group for the project. They worked with Kate and I to choose the aspects of the buildings they found most interesting.

More recently, Kate, with information and images provided by the Museum, has designed and developed 2 draft resources for the students to trial, an entry level resource focusing on the St Fagans Castle and a higher level resource focusing on the Rhyd-y-Car Cottages. These were then proof read by myself and members of the curatorial staff team.

On the 17th March I travelled to Cardiff and the Vale College to help Kate trial the resources with her lower level class and one of the higher level groups. I was really impressed with how engaged students from both groups were with the resources. They not only enjoyed the opportunity to learn new words and phrases, but were also fascinated by the histories of the buildings and the people of Wales. From my perspective, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I picked up a few new teaching tips from the ESOL lecturers. I especially liked the use of a mini Welsh rugby ball which was passed around the class as a way for students to know it was their turn to answer questions. The feedback on the resources from the students was very positive and many of them enjoyed the opportunity to discover more about the country they have chosen to call their home.

Kate will be returning to St Fagans in April to meet with myself and Mared McAleavey, Principal Curator: Historic Interiors. We will be discussing the history of the remainder of the buildings that the students chose and the learning activities that can be designed. I am really looking forward to trialling the next set of resources with the students and I’ll be posting updates here in the future. In the mean time you can keep up to date with the work of the Learning, Participation and Interpretation Department by following us on Twitter @StFagans_Learn.

Exhibition review by Museum's Youth Forum.

As youth forum members we were able to help input our opinions into the design of the temporary exhibition and have been able to see it develop from a drawing on paper to a physical form. Today we have examined the exhibition and have evaluated the information and items displayed.

 

The National Museum Wales have been tasked with commemorating the WW1 centenary. Personally, we believe that the exhibition is very interesting as it gives an insight into the medicinal history starting from Ancient Greece right up to the 21st century. We enjoyed the exhibition overall. The video grabbed our attention the most and we were able to see a visual aspect of medicinal practice with a humorous touch.

 

The exhibition has a number of different displays which hold valuable information about medicine and the different tools used to carry out medical procedures such as amputations. It contains a silent video in both Welsh and English that shows a few medical procedures from the Roman times. There are some replicas of medical items in the display case that have been used such as a Face Mask used in World War One to disguise facial wounds. 

 

There is also a small game on an iPad that tests your knowledge of the information in the exhibition. This together with the video has proved to be a success with the general public. Some reviews say that they liked “the doctor video” and a young person enjoyed it when the doctor was “cutting the leg off”.

 

By Joel Powell, Emma Jones and Hannah Sweetapple.

It’s been another busy lambing season down at Llwyn yr Eos – we really hope you’ve enjoyed watching all the action via #lambcam.  This year, as well as welcoming lots of excited visitors to the farm to see our mums and babies, there’s been a couple of new additions to the programme. We ran our first ever Lambing Experience Day Courses and were really pleased to get great feedback that included 'a once in a lifetime experience'! They're something we hope to build on in 2017 - so watch this space!. Our Learning Team also organised lambing tours for schools, with over 600 children visiting (some of whom were lucky enough to witness births happening!).

The lamb-o-meter clocked up 186 at close of play – there’s a few stragglers left to deliver, but we’re on course for a total of 204 births. For those of you who like some stats, here goes…

  • Lambing 204 from 114 ewes gives a lambing percentage of 178% (which is good).
  • The vast majority of those are happy, healthy and with their mothers.
  • But we’ve also lost a few along the way…
    • One set of twins were a late miscarriage.
    • One lamb too premature to survive.
    • 2 failed to thrive and died at a few days old.
    • 2 stillborn.
    • 1 accidentallly smothered by its mother.
  • So far we have ended up with two lambs being bottle fed:
    • One was born very poorly and had to be hand reared from the start.
    • The other was from a set of twins where the mother had mastitis and only had enough milk for one lamb.
    • Both of them are bouncing around happily now.
  • There’s also been a couple of bonuses – two ewes that we thought were carrying singles delivered twins!

So here’s a few of this year’s cutest pictures to keep you going till next year……

Dwi’n siŵr eich bod, fel finna yn dotio gweld yr ŵyn bach adeg hyn o'r flwyddyn, ac wedi bod yn cadw llygaid ar y diweddaraf o'r Sgrinwyna sy'n cofnodi'r genedigaethau ar fferm Llwyn-yr-eos, yma yn Sain Ffagan.

Erbyn heddiw ystyrir cig oen fel ein danteithfwyd cenedlaethol, a dwi’n siŵr y bydd amryw ohonoch yn mwynhau gwledda ar gig oen wedi ei rostio dros Sul y Pasg. Be sy’n syndod yw mai tan yn gymharol ddiweddar, ni fwytawyd llawer o gig oen yma yng Nghymru. Cedwid defaid ar gyfer eu gwlân a’u llefrith, nid ar gyfer eu cig. Dim ond ar achlysuron arbennig y bwytawyd cig oen, gan ei fod yn fwy proffidiol i gneifio a gwerthu gwlân y ddafad.

Wrth chwilota trwy’r archif, prin iawn yw’r ryseitiau sy’n cynnwys cig oen. Ond yr hyn sydd yn rhan o’n traddodiad, ac sy’n profi dadeni ar hyn o bryd yw cig dafad – sef cig o anifail a gedwid rhwng tair a phum mlynedd. Tan y 1940au, roedd cig dafad yn ffefryn ar draws Prydain a’r consensws oedd bod ei flas a’i ansawdd yn rhagori ar gig oen. Wrth deithio o amgylch Cymru ym 1862, fe brofodd George Borrow gig dafad am y tro cyntaf, a bu’n canu ei glodydd:

The leg of mutton of Wales beats the leg of mutton of any other country, and I had never tasted a Welsh leg of mutton before. Certainly I shall never forget that first Welsh leg of mutton which I tasted, rich but delicate, replete with juices derived from the aromatic herbs of the noble Berwyn, cooked to a turn, and weighing just four pounds ... Let anyone who wishes to eat leg of mutton in perfection go to Wales.

           George Burrow Wild Wales: Its People, Language and Scenery, 1862

Felly pam fod cig dafad wedi mwy neu lai diflannu o’n basgedi siopa a’n bwydlenni? Gyda gostyngiad ym mhris gwlân yn ystod degawdau cyntaf y 1900au, roedd yn talu i ffermwyr werthu ŵyn gwrywaidd ar gyfer cig, yn hytrach na’u cadw i roi gwlân. Rhaid cofio hefyd fod cig dafad yn cymryd tipyn yn hirach i'w goginio, felly nid yw'n syndod iddo gael ei ddisodli gan gig oen sy'n yn cymryd chwarter yr amser.

Dros y degawd diwethaf, fodd bynnag, mae cig dafad wedi cynyddu yn ei boblogrwydd unwaith eto, gyda mwy o fwytai, ffermydd, siopau cig a chogyddion enwog yn gwerthu a hyrwyddo'r cig arbennig yma. Er ei fod ar gael drwy’r flwyddyn, mae ar ei orau rhwng mis Hydref a Mawrth. Felly tymor cig oen yw hi ar hyn o bryd, ond erbyn yr Hydref, cofiwch edrych allan am gig dafad yn ei siop cig lleol.

Dyma rysáit o’r archif, mae’r dull o goginio’r pryd hwn yn amrywio, ond dyma fersiwn teulu o Garnfadrun, Llŷn:

         Tatws Popty

          darn o gig dafad

          tatws

          nionyn

          dŵr

Llenwi gwaelod y tun cig â thatws a nionod, a’u gorchuddio â dŵr.  Rhoi darn mawr o gig eidion neu gig dafad ar wyneb y tatws a rhostio’r cwbl yn y popty.

              

 

A century ago, on 22 March 1916, a hospital was opened in the grounds of St Fagans Castle – one of the hundreds of auxiliary hospitals set up by the Red Cross during the First World War.

Before the war the Red Cross had joined with the Order of St John’s to establish the Voluntary Aid Detachment Scheme (VAD). The aim of the scheme was to provide training for volunteers to assist the military hospitals in the event of war. Here, at St Fagans in 1909 the first detachment (VAD) in Wales was established with many others following soon after.

The Countess of Plymouth from St Fagans Castle was the President of the Glamorgan branch of the Red Cross and was instrumental in the progress of the society in the county. It was the Countess and her husband, the Earl of Plymouth, who offered the Castle gardens and grounds for hosting the VAD recruitment and training days. They later gave the Banqueting Hall over to the Red Cross to be used as an auxiliary hospital. The Hall had been originally built to host social and family celebrations but the large building with its extensive gardens was suitable for housing a small hospital.

It was the Plymouth’s who contributed to the majority of the necessary refurbishment. The hospital opened with 30 beds but within a few weeks another 10 beds were added. A year later, in 1917, the hospital had 70 beds including a new extension and sanitary wing.

Most of the nurses in the auxiliary hospitals were volunteers and members of the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment. Each hospital had some professional staff too; a Commandant, a Quartermaster and a Sister-in-Charge. At St Fagans Hospital, most of the women were local, some of whom were in the service of the Plymouth family at the Castle.

Auxiliary hospitals assisted the larger hospitals and didn’t have the facilities to nurse severely injured soldiers. Many of the patients at St Fagans were transferred from the 3rd General Western Hospital in Cardiff, others were sent directly from the front line. We can’t begin to imagine how the soldiers had suffered before coming here to St Fagans. A century on, it brings comfort that this hospital would have once been a haven for many to begin to heal the physical and mental scars of war.

Twitter: #Hospital100 #Ysbyty100