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David Anderson's Blog

December 2010

Snow and Scotland

Posted by Chris Owen on 2 December 2010

Last weekend, my wife Josie along with my daughter Isobel and son Desmond came to visit me in Cardiff. We are still looking for a permanent base here for the family so I wanted to take the opportunity to showcase Cardiff to them. On Saturday afternoon, we went to St Fagans. We came across some very hardworking staff who had spent 4 or 5 hours clearing snow from the site so it would be safe for visitors on the Sunday. The site was deemed too dangerous for visitors that so we were restricted to the galleries, but everyone was still impressed. There’s plenty to see in Oriel 1 and it was also a great opportunity for me to see what happens to the site when it does snow!

On Monday, I then went up to Scotland for a number of meetings. Edinburgh looked romantically bleak in the snow, and wasn’t the easiest place to navigate around because of the weather. I had been due to meet Gordon Rintoul the Director of National Museums Scotland, but he was unfortunately ill with the flu. However, I did still manage to have a number of productive meetings with other staff members looking at issues around education, public engagement and the organisation of collections, as well as the threat to the operation of the portable antiquities with the Westminster Government’s proposed cuts to the scheme. I truly hope that discussions will ensure that we can save the operation of this scheme as it is of a huge importance.

I also met with John Leighton, Director General of National Galleries of Scotland. He explained how at the Dean Gallery they have been experimenting with new interpretations through temporary exhibitions. They have been able to rely far less on overseas loans whilst still attracting a broad audience.

From my visit, my overall impression was a positive one that would suggest greater collaboration in the future between ourselves and the National Museums in Scotland and Northern Ireland. I think I will have to check the weather forecasts before my next visit though. My plane back was stranded and I instead travelled back by train. But, despite the weather, it certainly was a worthwhile and interesting visit.