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The Museum at Work

Come and take a look at some of the stories our collections tell.

At the core of Amgueddfa Cymru is its collections. Researching these collections strengthens our contribution to a world-wide appreciation of Wales, and of the heritage and culture of the Welsh people. Keeping and caring for these collections enable us to continue as a living museum, and as the definitive treasury for Wales of objects from the past and present.

Take a look at some of the stories that our collections tell...

August 2007

Oriel 1

Posted by Anna Gruffudd on 2 August 2007

Iawn te! Bywyd yn Oriel 1!

Dyma fi yn fy swydd newydd fel dehonglydd Oriel 1, oriel newydd Sain Ffagan yn sgwennu blog am y tro cynta! Fe fydd, fel yr Oriel yn un arbrofol felly! (Ac fel Owain...nes i sgwennu hwn unwaith a cholli'r cwbl...ti'n meddwl sa'n well i ni gael gwersi?!!) Yn anffodus, ar hyn o bryd rwy'n eistedd wrth ddesg yn syllu ar olygfa ddigon llwyd drwy'r ffenest.

Mae ambell sied wedi eu ffensio ag arwydd 'keep out' a 'Site Canteen' i'w gweld ac adeilad mawr siedaidd yn gefndir. O wel, er mwyn cyfleu ychydig o naws y lle bydd rhaid i fi ddychmygu felly fy mod i'n eistedd yng nghanol yr Oriel. O fy mlaen i, mae superted a'i gefn tuag ata i a'i ben e'n pwyso ar hen arwydd y pentref a fu unwaith, 'CAPEL CELYN'.

Uwch ei ben, mae Sgrabble yn Gymraeg a rhes o oleuade bach gwyn yn goleuo'r casyn gwydr y mae'n eistedd ynddo.

Yn nes ata i mae dros gant o recordie saith modfedd o'r 60au a'r 70au yn garped lliwgar lliwgar ar y wal, ac yn treiddio drwy'r awyr mae cerddoriaeth hudolus hamddenol.

Ar y wal y tu ol i mi mae lluniau gan blant yn dawnsio ar y wal ar ffilm. O gyfeiriad arall mae swn gwahanol, clychau a baban yn crio, ac yn y pellder swn torf yn dathlu ym mharc yr arfau. Wrth droi o gwmpas rwy'n gweld drychau mawr ar y wal ac yn hongian o'u hamgylch mae dillad sy'n eich gwahodd i'w teimlo a'u gwisgo.

Ddoe, roedd criw o blant yn dawnsio o amgylch y 'juke box' ac ymwelwyr yn rhyfeddu ar wydr lliw a wnaed gan SMYLe, grwp o fwslemiaid ifanc o Abertawe. Roedd plant bach yn gwneud llwyau caru papur gydag un o'r artisiaid fydd yn gweithio yn yr Oriel bob dydd ym mis Awst gyda'r Cert Celf. Roedd merched yn eu harddegau yn gigls i gyd yn cael tro'n cario'r ddol mewn siol yn y dull Cymreig a thatcu yn rhyfeddu ar ei wyrion bach yn gwrando'n astud ar glustffonau arbennig ar straeon ac atgofion o gasgliadau'r archif. Mae cymaint wedi digwydd yn yr Oriel, dawnsio o dros y byd, artistiaid yn perfformio a darlithiau a sgyrsiau o bob math.

Ond well i fi fynd nawr i wneud ychydig o waith paratoi ar gyfer y gweithdau a'r gweithgareddau fydd yn yr Oriel. Mwy o hanesion am gymeriadau a bywyd Oriel 1 i ddod!

July 2007

A month is a long time...

Posted by Owain Rhys on 11 July 2007
Now this entry is going to be concise. I had just finished an extended version of the last month, in English and Welsh, pressed publish, and everything disappeared. So, I'm sulking. In brief, this is how last month went:

June 18 - Meeting with National Library of Wales. Discussed collecting websites, TV programmes and records, amongst other things (ephemera, how to record Youtube etc) Very interesting, and a big thanks to all at the Library for the welcome.

June 19 and 20 - Digital Storytelling workshop with the BBC. A technique which is very useful to record contemporary life. Visit website at

June 21 - Digital Storytelling Conference missed due to illness

June 23 - Family wedding

June 24 to July 1 - Holiday in Caernarfon

July 6 and 7 - Oral History conference in London. Again, a technique which is very useful to record contemporary life.

July 12 (tomorrow) - Meeting with Johnstown History Group to discuss curating for the Community Dresser.

If anybody is interested in learning more about these things, then please contact me. In the original Blog, I managed to mention, Glyn Wise off Big Brother, setting up a virtual museum in Second Life, a Welsh name for Facebook and numerous other fascinating things. But there we go, such is the ficklelessness of the ether.

June 2007

Collecting the contemporary

Posted by Chris Owen on 14 June 2007

Well, I've taken the plunge, after years of resisting and cynically refusing to believe the hype regarding blogs. Read by millions? Scarcely believe. Change the world? In your dreams. Truth be known, I've just been appointed Curator of Contemporary Life at the National History Museum here at St Fagans, Cardiff, and my job application advocated that all curators should take advantage of new technologies. For example, I stated cockily, they should keep blogs so that the public could have "access" (spot the museum buzz-words) to aspects which will explain the collections.

So when this opportunity came along, I thought that I would show the way, although now that I'm actually writing this, I feel quite scared.

So, contemporary collecting - what exactly is that? Well, I've decided to split the job in two.

The first part will be to work with curators from other fields to fill the gaps in the collections since 1950. We are quite strong on artefacts and oral histories from rural, Welsh speaking, agricultural backgrounds before 1950, but less so on urban, non-Welsh, industrial evidence after 1950, although the building of the Rhyd-y-car cottages, Gwalia Stores and Oakdale Workmen's Institute has begun to rectify that.

We will have to be very selective while filling these gaps - the storerooms are bursting at the seams. So the idea is to pick and choose certain items e.g. a super 8 camera, and to weave histories and exhibitions around them.

The second part is more problematic. What to collect? We can't collect everything that is produced by this wasteful society of ours, so we have decided to deal with communities, projects, initiatives and themes. This will narrow down the criteria quite nicely, but will also let us focus on certain objects or stories which will encapsulate the age.

For example, every six months, a different community will curate objects to be displayed in our Community Dresser. The first group was Penyrenglyn Youth group, who displayed objects such as a Nintendo Gameboy, a signed football and a comfort blanket. The next group will be Johnstown History Group.

Another method might be Digital Story telling, which involves capturing pictures on your mobile phone and producing a little film with the result. I'm off to a workshop and conference on this in Aberystwyth next week. I'll let you know how it went.

My first big exhibition (hopefully), will be about Welsh Pop Music. I hope to include objects such as instruments, stage props and fanzines, show videos, play sound recordings, and hold rap and recording workshops.

Watch this space...

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