On Saturday 10th October, scientists from the Museum’s Natural Sciences Department and Cardiff University came together to mark both National Biology Week and Earth Science Week, and to prove that biology (and geology) does indeed rock! Engaging displays and fun activities filled the Main Hall and were also scattered through the lower natural history galleries and Clore Learning Space. Visitors collected a stamping sheet at the door and could claim a stamp for every activity they completed. Everyone who collected ten stamps had the chance to colour in and make their own natural history badge to take home. Museum scientists wowed visitors with specimens from our collections behind the scenes, including the largest seeds in the world, glow-in-the-dark minerals and huge scarab beetles. Visitors could also explore sea creatures and seaweeds in a rock pool, and have a go at matching fossils to their correct place on a timeline of the Earth’s history. Fans of the game ‘Operation’ had the opportunity to try their hand with an actual size, adult dummy version, courtesy of biologists from Cardiff University, who also presented a range of other fascinating topics, including what we can learn from road kill, how healthy babies are made, how toadstools get their white spots and how to extract DNA from strawberries. Appropriately enough, the University’s team of geologists set up shop at the entrance to the Evolution of Wales gallery, and invited visitors to experiment with what makes an explosive volcano, try to bend rocks and have a go at stepping in the footsteps of dinosaurs. The day also featured several family-friendly events linked to the ‘Reading the Rocks: the remarkable maps of William Smith’ exhibition. Theatr na nÓg gave three performances of a one-man play exploring Smith’s work from the point of view of his young Welsh apprentice, and scientific historian Dr Leucha Veneer gave a family talk looking at early ideas about rocks and fossils.
We were joined this Saturday by three of our I Spy…Nature drawing competition winners and their families. The winners were shown around the shell, marine invertebrate and vertebrate collections as part of their special behind the scenes tour by museum curator Katie Mortimer-Jones. The tour started in the fluid store, where we keep our fluid preserved specimens such as marine bristleworms, starfish, crabs, lobsters and fish specimens. The competition winners saw some of our oldest fluid preserved specimens in the collections – Octopus, squid and cuttlefish specimens worked on by the very first director of the museum, William Evans Hoyle. Next on to the shell collections, one of the largest collections at the museum. Our visitors looked through draws of molluscs, spying Giant Clams, abalone shells and Giant African Land snails. Lastly the tour finished up in the Vertebrate store where we keep some of the Museum’s taxidermy and skeleton specimens. On display were several fox specimens, a crocodile, sheep and fish specimens that will be on display in a house next weekend as part of the ‘Made in Roath Festival’. After the tour, the winners were given their prizes of natural history goodies from the Museum Shop.
Ar 21 o Dachwedd, rydym yn cynnal cynhadledd undydd yma yn Sain Ffagan er cof am y diweddar Trefor M. Owen. Cynhelir y gynhadledd ar y cyd â Chymdeithas Cyn-Fyfyrwyr Prifysgol Cymru: Adran Ethnoleg ac Astudiaethau Gwerin.
Bu Trefor Owen yn Guradur yr Amgueddfa Werin o 1971 tan ei ymddeoliad yn 1987. Roedd yn awdurdod cydnabyddedig ar arferion gwerin Cymru, ac fe ystyrir ei gyfrol Welsh Folk Customs yn un o astudiaethau pwysicaf y maes. Fel ei ragflaenydd, Iorwerth C. Peate, astudiodd gyfuniad o ddaeryddiaeth ac anthropoleg ym Mhrifysgol Cymru, Aberystwyth. Un arall o raddedigion yr ysgol ddeallusol hon oedd Alwyn D. Rees. Mae eleni yn nodi 65 mlynedd ers cyhoeddi ei gyfrol arloesol Life in a Welsh Countryside – arolwg gymdeithasegol o bentref Llanfihangel yng Ngwynfa.
Dyma ragflas o raglen y gynhadledd:
10:30 – 11:30
Yr Athro Rhys Jones: Astudio cymunedau Cymreig mewn oes ôl-dirogaethol
11:30 – 12:30
Yr Athro M. Wynn Thomas: Cofio Alwyn D. Rees
2:15 – 3:00
Tecwyn Vaughan Jones: 'Prin ddau lle’r oedd gynnau gant’: Hanes Trefor M. Owen
3:15 – 4:15
Dr Eurwyn Wiliam: Trefor M. Owen: Curadur ac Ysgolhaig
Mae croeso cynnes i bawb fynychu’r gynhadledd yn rhad ac am ddim. Bydd cyfleusterau cyfieithu ar y pryd ar gael hefyd. I gofrestru neu am ragor o fanylion, cysylltwch â fi drwy ebost os gwelwch yn dda: email@example.com
Chalkie Davies: The NME Years
The exhibition has just come to an end and so it's finally time to award our prize winners. It was great to see so many people taking inspiration from Chalkie's work, and interacting with the show.
The man himself had a chance to judge all the entries and we're happy to announce our prizewinners with you!
@3gsdevtrust - Well done! A signed Chalkie print and swag bag is on its way to 3Gs Development Trust, who work with young people across Gurnos, Penydarren and Dowlais.
@fezzer64 posted this picture of a happy rebel and wins a Spillers Records voucher and swag bag:
A Seetickets voucher will be on its way to Aaron for this twisted and moody shot taken in Cathays Park
Chalkie also picked five runners up, who get a swag bag each: David Jones, @tflathers, @daniellestalbot, Paul Hurlow and @softfun. You can check out their entries, and more, on the #mychalkieimage storify.
Thanks to everyone who took part - and of course, to Chalkie for judging the photos for us. Have a look at everyone's entries on our #mychalkieimage storify. If you missed the show, learn a bit more about Chalkie and his iconic work below:
I’m back at my desk in St Fagans having just had one of those ‘I love my job’ kind of weeks. On Wednesday, I spent the day with an amazing group of Year 10 students from Ysgol Clywedog in Wrexham, gauging their opinions on devolution and its impact on Wales since 1997. Heavy-going stuff for 14 year olds? Think again!
With my colleagues Owain and Richard, I met the students at Wrexham County Borough Museum bright and early on Wednesday morning for an action-packed day of researching, questioning and debating. The aim of the day was to produce a film of the students discussing devolution and what it means to them as teenagers living in Wrexham today – a town which voted ‘no’ in 1997. We took a banner from the collection with us as a springboard for debate. This banner – made for the ‘yes’ campaign by the artist Mary Lloyd Jones – will be displayed in one of the redeveloped galleries here at St Fagans in the near future, along with contemporary voices from Ysgol Clywedog.
To kick-start the discussion, we asked the students to do a little background research. Some trawled the web using i-pads, while others accessed local newspapers stored on microfilm in the museum’s archive. Headlines and articles from the Wrexham Leader gave a snapshot of the debate at a local level – 44.3% of voters in Wrexham were in favour of devolution, while 55.7% were against. The Year 10 researchers were not surprised by the ‘no’ vote in Wrexham. This prompted a lengthy discussion about their identities as young people in north-east Wales, living so close to the border with England. Interestingly, eight out of the nine participants would have voted ‘yes’ in 1997 had they been eligible to vote.
We then moved on to analysing the banner. Without any prompts or contextual information, we asked the students to jot down their initial reactions and emotions on viewing it for the first time. Comments varied from questions about its design to its usage and meaning. In the afternoon, we filmed two group discussions, with the students directing questions to each other. This took on the feel of an informal Question Time, without the cheering and heckling! We were so impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the students, it’s going to be a real challenge to edit the finished product.
A huge thank you to Thomas, Jess, Edan, Pedro, Morgan, Elise, Matthew, Lucy and Harry from Ysgol Clywedog for taking part in the project. We can’t wait to see the film on display. Our thanks also to Wrexham Museum for hosting and supporting the workshop. Diolch yn fawr iawn i bawb.