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Over the Easter Holiday, we held an activity called ‘Through the Keyhole’ at St Fagans. The idea is for members of the Learning Department to be out in the historic buildings interpreting and discussing the buildings or objects, drawing attention to its history or history closely associated with them. During the week there will be 3 blogs by 3 members of staff that took part in this event.

I left it a bit last minute to decide which Building to use. With this in mind, I decided to go for a building I already know a bit about, Gwalia Stores. I hold formal sessions (with school groups) here so have background knowledge and an idea of the kind of activities I could do, and a costume good to go!

I raided the photo archive and took copies of the building in its original location, and some fresh coffee and coffee beans to weigh and highlight the coffee grinder, but also to bring back some smells to the shop. When open originally, the smells would have hit you as you walked in; dried fruit, teas, tea, coffee, cheese, meats and all sorts of items for sale.

One of the photos that prompted the biggest reaction was the photo of Gorwyl House overlooking Ogmore Vale. It was the house William Llywelyn built for his family when they’d made enough from the shop to move out from above it. The contrast is quite striking between the ‘mansion’ as it was locally called and the rest of the valley’s terraced houses, and its position on the hill mirrors he high social status of the Llywelyn family at the height of Gwalia Stores’ success.

I enjoyed being in the shop and getting the chance to tell its absorbing history, which mirrors that of the Valleys themselves. It was great to talk and imagine how different an experience a weekly shop would have been 100 years ago, how much more social especially.

The staff would also have trained as apprentices for years and would have been a well-respected role, and the shops really were a centre point in the community. There was much reminiscing by visitors, and some even came from Ogmore Vale and remembered the shop in its original location. One lady commented on the gap that’s still there in Ogmore Vale opposite the railway station, after discussing and looking back on the history of the shop, losing these shops and the experience of going there has left gaps in communities all over Wales.

The next blog will be up soon, discussing the event in one of the other historic buildings.

One hundred schools across the UK are to be awarded Super Scientist Certificates on behalf of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales in recognition for their contribution to the Spring Bulbs - Climate Change Investigation.

Huge Congratulations to all these schools!

A big ‘thank you’ to every one of the 5,539 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 by mid-May.

 Many thanks to the Edina Trust for funding this project.

 

Super Scientist Winners 2015

Well done to our three winners for their consistent weather data entries! Each will receive a class trip of fun-packed nature activities.

St. Brigid's School - Wales

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School - England

Winton Primary School - Scotland

 

Runner's up:

Betws Primary School

Carnforth North Road Primary School

Corsehill Primary School

St. Laurence Primary School

St. Michael's Primary School

St. Paul's Primary School

Wormit Primary School

 

Highly commended schools:

Balcurvie Primary School

Carnegie Nursery

Coleg Meirion Dwyfor

Coleg Powys

Eastfield Primary School

Fairlie Primary School

Freuchie Nursery

Gibshill Children's Centre

Greenburn School

Howwood Primary School

Keir Hardie Memorial Primary School

Kilmory Primary School

Maes-y-Coed Primary

SS Philip and James CE Primary School

St. Ignatius Primary School

St. Peter's CE Primary School

Wildmill Youth Club

Ysgol Bro Eirwg

 

Schools with special recognition:

Bancyfelin

Bickerstaffe CE Primary School

Binnie Street Children's Centre

Brodick Primary School

Carstairs Primary School

Coppull Parish Primary School

Dallas Road Primary School

Dyffryn Banw

Euxton Church of England Primary School

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School

Guardbridge Primary School

Henllys CIW Primary

Kirkton Primary School

Llanharan Primary School

Morningside Primary School

Newport Primary School

Orchard Meadow Primary School

Pittenweem Primary School

Rhws Primary School

Rivington Foundation Primary School

Sacred Heart Primary and Nurseries

Skelmorlie Primary School

Stanford-in-the-Vale CE Primary School              

St Athan Primary

St Mellons Church in Wales Primary School

Trellech Primary School

Woodlands Primary School

Ynysddu Primary School

Ysgol Bryn Garth

Ysgol Deganwy

Ysgol Hiraddug

Ysgol Syr John Rhys

Ysgol Clocaenog

 

Schools to be awarded certificates:

Abbey Primary School

Albert Primary School

Arkholme CE Primary School

Baird Memorial Primary School

Balshaw Lane Community Primary School

Chapelgreen Primary School

Christ Church CP School

Chryston Primary School

Colinsburgh Primary School

Darran Park Primary

Fintry Primary School

Glencoats Primary School

Hafodwenog

Kilmacolm Primary School

Kings Oak Primary School

Llanishen Fach C.P School

Mossend Primary School

Our Lady of Peace Primary School

Preston Grange Primary School

Saint Anthony's Primary School

Silverdale St. John's CE School

St. Nicholas CE Primary School

St. Philip Evans RC Primary School

Swiss Valley CP School

Thorn Primary School

Tongwynlais Primary School

Torbain Nursery School

Townhill Primary School

Ysgol Bryn Coch

Ysgol Glan Conwy

Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn

Ysgol Nant Y Coed

Ysgol Pencae

Ysgol Rhys Prichard

Ysgol Tal y Bont

Ysgol Treferthyr

Ysgol Y Plas

Glyncollen Primary School

Rougemont Junior School

 

 

Thank you for all your hard work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

For much of March and April (and some of may) we have been lucky enough (with support from Arts Council of Wales and the Heritage Lottery Fund) to have four artists in residence in St Fagans. The artists we appointed are Melissa Appleton, James Parkinson, Claire Prosser and Bedwyr Williams.

As the residencies are quite short we were interested more in the artists' process rather than the finished product, and therefore weren't expecting the aritsts to come up wiht an exhibition or any finished pieces of work at the end of it. The artists have all been up to lots of different things - researching, working with staff, looking through the sound and film archive, filming and 3d scanning the site.  There's also been lots of meetings and discussions with staff, and generally getting involved with day to day life in the museum.

Claire Prosser has been keeping a blog about her work, which you can read right here and I'll keep you up to date about what everyone else has been up to in my next blog.

Hello Bulb Buddies!

Today is the last day of weather data collection and the deadline for entering all of your data onto the National Museum Wales website! If you are having any trouble then please email me or leave comments when entering your data and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

If you have entered all of your weather data and the first flowering dates for your school then you will be awarded Super Scientist certificates from National Museum Wales and the Edina Trust. These are awarded in recognition of the skills you have developed in completion of the Spring Bulbs for Schools project. I would like to thank you all for taking part.

Well I am sad that this year’s project is coming to an end I am excited to start digging into the data to see if there are any patterns and trends and to compare this year’s results to previous years! I will send my findings to your school and post the report online by mid-May!

I hope that you have all enjoyed the project. Now that your data capture is complete you can analyse your records and compare your findings to those of other schools using the Map section of the website. You can then compare this to previous years by looking at last year’s report. I wonder if you will be able to predict the findings of this year’s report?

Remember, there are plenty of ways to develop your science skills. If you have enjoyed this project you could continue keeping weather records and share your findings on the Met Office WOW website. There are also plenty of science experiments to be found on education sites like the MET Office and BBC Bitesize.

If your plants haven’t flowered yet then you will still need to enter your flowering date on the National Museum Wales website. If your plant hasn’t flowered by the end of term then you could take it home for the holidays and log the date online when it does flower. Be sure to take your user name and password home with you too so that you can access the website!

Some of you reported that your flowers didn’t grow. I’m sorry to hear this because I know it is disappointing when an experiment doesn’t go as planned. This doesn’t mean that the experiment wasn’t a success! It is just as important and interesting to document when things don’t happen as when they do. For this reason it is important that you still log your findings on the NMW website. To do this log onto the ‘flower records’ section of the website and select ‘did not flower’ from the menu.

Watch this space for announcements on which schools are awarded Super Scientist certificates and which win a class Nature Trip!!

Thank you for all your hard work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

Comments and responses:

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: We made a bar chart of how high the crocus plants they are growing. Well they are tall. From F to professor plant. Prof P: Fantastic! Can you send me a picture of your graph? Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies.

Stanford in the Vale Gardening Club: Another week of recordings, we have had a mixture of sunny, cold and windy weather here, but still little rain! We became true scientists today watching the solar eclipse using buckets of water as a reflection. Our grounds are looking beautiful with the daffodils all in flower, swaying in the wind, and bright yellow in colour with the sun shining down on them! Pof P: What a lovely picture you paint of the daffodils! And what a fantastic way to have studied the eclipse! I didn’t think of using water, we were using a reflection method but with colanders and paper at the Museum. Keep up the good work Super Scientists.

Tongwynlais Primary School: My daffodil has still not grown. I think it has died Prof P: I’m sorry to hear that your plant hasn’t grown. Thank you for logging the information on the website, it is very important to the investigation. You really are a Super Scientist.

Coleg Powys: Sorry I sent the first measurement incorrectly. I thought it was in cm. The second measurement I have submitted is the correct one. Prof P: Thank you for spotting the mistake and rectifying it. I will delete the first entry. You are not the only one to make this mistake and we will add measurement information to the data entry page for next year!

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: All the crocus flowers opened this week except for mine! We have been busy measuring them. I hope mine will open soon, it is still quite small. Prof P: I’m glad to hear your plants have flowered and don’t worry I’m sure the last one won’t be long now!

Rivington Foundation Primary School: It was the highest its been on Wednesday and Thursday and on Friday we were on a school trip. Prof P: Wow Rivington Primary, your temperatures were high for Wednesday and Thursday! 30°c! Your thermometer must have been in direct sunlight and it must have been a very nice day! I hope you enjoyed the weather and your school trip.

Ysgol Clocaenog: Wedi cynhesu yma wythnos yma. Prof P: Helo Ysgol Clocaenog. Rwyf yn hapus i glywed bod y tywydd yn gwella!

Bickerstaffe CE Primary School: Daffodils in the pots have been a little later than the ones planted in the ground. We were surprised by this! We are going to select 2 pots that are at a similar stage and take one of them inside to see if it speeds up. We won't be able to keep the watering the same though - have you any suggestions? We thought about putting an 'umbrella' over the outdoor pot and not watering the one indoors? Professor P: Ooo this sounds like an exciting experiment Bickerstaffe Primary! Let me know how you get on and what your findings are! As for watering the plants, you really are thinking like Super Scientists by trying to keep all variables the same except for the one you are monitoring. This is very important to maintaining fair experiments. In this case, I wouldn’t worry about watering them exactly the same. You can keep them roughly the same by looking at how moist or dry the soil is in each pot and watering them accordingly. I think you will see a difference in the plants very quickly if your classroom is nice and warm!  

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: At last, my crocus finally flowered. It was the last one. From E. Prof P: I’m glad to hear all of your plants have flowered! Thank you for logging your flowering dates and heights.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Another dry week, since doing this very important investigation, we have noticed we have had very little rain this year. We would like to "Thank You" for allowing us to take part in this study, and we have really enjoyed finding out about the rain fall and taking daily temperature recordings, we spent a lovely afternoon eating ice-cream and drawing our daffodils ready to be judged! This week we have experienced sunshine, especially in the mornings, with winds picking up around lunch time! Stanford would like to wish you all a happy Easter. And we hope to take part in this investigation next year, as we are becoming experts in this field! Prof P: Hello Stanford in the Vale Primary, I should be thanking you for taking part in the project and for all your hard work! I’m glad to hear that you have enjoyed the project and that you will be applying for next year. I look forward to seeing your pictures if you are able to send them in, but the competition itself is not running this year! I will still post any pictures I receive on Twitter and on the Museum Blog. Happy Easter!

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: Nearly all our daffodils have flowered now. There is just one bud showing but 2 do not seem to have buds. The mystery plants are growing really well. I think they are daffodils but they are smaller than our daffodils. A and F. Prof P: Hello Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary. I’m glad to hear the mystery bulbs are growing, you are right, they are a different variety of daffodil! It’s strange that two of your daffodils don’t have buds. Could you send pictures to me? If these plants don’t flower then you can still log the details and height on the NMW website. But I’d wait a bit, they might surprise you!

Rivington Foundation Primary School: We had our first 2 flowers flower today one in the ground and one in the pot but we still have a lot more to go though. We think it took such a long time to flower because we have so many trees blocking out some of the sunlight. Prof P: Hi Rivington Foundation Primary, if your plants haven’t flowered before the holidays please take them home with you and log their flowering dates on the NMW website. If the trees were shading your plants from the sun this will have had an effect on their growth. Well done for thinking about what effects the environment is having on your plants - you really are Super Scientists.  

Ysgol Bro Eirwg: Bylbiau cudd! Rydyn ni'n credu mae cannin pedr bach sydd gennym ni! Prof P: Dda iawn Ysgol Eirwg. Maent yn amrywiaeth wahanol o gennin Pedr!

Coppull Parish Primary School: Yesterday we had strong winds. Unfortunately a wooden pallet blew onto our daffodil plot and damaged some of them before they flowered. Prof P: Hello Coppull Parish Primary. I’m sorry to hear that your plants have been damaged. If they don’t look like they will flower you can still log their heights on the Museum website and select ‘did not flower’ from the menu.

Ysgol Tal y Bont: At the end of the project we found 2 bulbs did not produce any flowers and 1 bulb produced a double flower. Prof P: Hi Ysgol Tal Y Bont. It’s interesting that some of your plants didn’t flower and exciting that one produced a double flower! Would you be able in send in pictures?

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: Thank you for letting us take the temperature and rainfall readings. We are going to miss doing it. Prof P: Hello Our Lady of the Peace Primary School. You can always apply to take part next year and continue developing the skills you have learnt from the project. You could also continue to take weather records and share them on the MET Office WOW website. Thank you for taking part and for all your hard work.

Last year Staff from the Departments of Natural Sciences, and Learning, Participation and Interpretation took their I Spy…Nature themed pop-up museum out into the community. This year we have been delivering I Spy…Nature related workshops throughout March as part of the I Spy…Nature Exhibition outreach programme. Workshops at National Museum Cardiff allowed members of the public to carry out fieldwork within the museum, bringing the outside in! Visitors were able to explore the miniature world of British Slugs and Snails, go pond dipping, explore a rocky shore (utilising our brand new portable 3D Rocky shore) and go worm charming with our OPAL Community Science officer. During the middle part of March, staff ran a series of school workshops both at National Museum Cardiff and within a local primary school, where pupils could explore the seafloor, Fossils and Minerals before trying their hand at scientific illustration with a local artist.  The aim of these sessions was to inspire children to explore their natural environment and also to give them a chance to experience the work that museum scientists do. For British Science and Engineering Week, staff held an I Spy…Nature Open day in the main Hall at National Museum Cardiff, with a plethora of specimens from our collections and even a giant lobster, fly and squirrel!

 For more information on the I Spy…Nature activities see our Storify Story.