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Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales

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counting sheep

Bernice Parker, 15 January 2015


In between Christmas and New Year our girls came in from the fields for pregnancy scans.

 

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The St Fagans flock


And the scores on the doors are……

 

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scan results for St fagans ewes


We have three breeds of sheep at St Fagans and they’re all on the Rare Breeds List:

 

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A Hill Radnor ewe

Hill Radnor

 

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Llanwenog ewe


Llanwenog

[image: a group of mixed ewes on a frosty morning]

sheep at St Fagans


and Black Welsh Mountain.


We’re expecting our babies to start arriving in March,
so keep an eye on the website for more details nearer the time.

Make an Aria

Sioned Williams, 27 October 2014

What is an aria? That was the question posed by Music Theatre Wales Director, Michael McCarthy to kick-off this very exciting collaborative project. The Make an Aria scheme is a partnership between Music Theatre Wales (MTW) and the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama (RWCMD) giving young composers an opportunity to have-a-go at opera. This time, they are using St Fagans Castle and the Museum’s collections as their inspiration. A group of composers from RWCMD teamed with creative writers will ‘make an aria’ from scratch.

So where do you start? A speed-dating session was a good way to establish the best creative match for composer and writer. When everyone was paired-up, curator Elen Phillips gave an introduction to the material for the arias – the story of St Fagans Castle during the Great War.

The Windsor-Clive family of St Fagans Castle were at the centre of events during these turbulent years; Lord Windsor as chairman of the Welsh Army Corps and Lady Windsor as President of the Red Cross Society in Glamorgan. Grief-stricken by the loss of their youngest son, Archer, who was killed in action, they opened the Castle grounds to set-up a hospital run by volunteer nurses or VADs.

The stories were brought alive by looking at objects from the Museum’s collections; a nurses’ uniform from the hospital, a delicate necklace made by one of the wounded soldiers and a field-communion set used on the battlefield. At this point we were joined by members of the Armed Forces community, the 203 Welsh Field Hospital Medics who gave us a completely new take on some of these objects and stories. It just proves that working collaboratively can bring some unexpected and rewarding results. We will continue to work with the Armed Forces in co-curating some of the exhibits in the new galleries at St Fagans but that’s another blog for another day.

We then led the composers and writers on a tour of the Castle and grounds; the old site of the WW1 hospital, the Italian garden where the soldiers recuperated and the greenhouses where the land girls may have worked. Any of these locations could be the setting to perform the arias in the summer of 2015. I think that everyone left with their heads bubbling with ideas. All we can do now is wait.

[image: Speed-dating session with composers and writers]

Speed-dating session with composers and writers

[image: Looking at objects from Museum’s collection]

Looking at objects from Museum’s collection

[image: Necklace made at St Fagans by convalescing soldier, Walter Stinson]

Necklace made at St Fagans by convalescing soldier, Walter Stinson

[image: The Italian garden, a possible location for an aria?]

The Italian garden, a possible location for an aria?

[image: Soldiers and nurses in the Italian garden, St Fagans, during First World War]

Soldiers and nurses in the Italian garden, St Fagans, during First World War

More I Spy Competition Winners

Katie Mortimer-Jones, 14 October 2014

We were joined this Saturday by two more of our I Spy…Nature drawing competition winners and their families. The winners were shown around the mollusc (shell), marine invertebrate and vertebrate collections as part of their special behind the scenes tour by museum curators Katie Mortimer-Jones and Jennifer Gallichan. The visitors were able to select draws from the mollusc collections to look in and saw a Giant Clam and a cone shell known as Glory of the Seas (Conus gloriamaris), a once sort after shell found in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, to name but a few. Next onto the fluid store, where we keep our fluid preserved specimens such as marine bristleworms, starfish, crabs, lobsters and fish specimens. Lastly the tour finished up in the Vertebrate store where we keep some of the Museum’s taxidermy and skeleton specimens. After the tour, the winners were given their prizes of natural history goodies from the Museum Shop.

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Winner in the under 6 age category receiving her prize

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Winner in the 10-13 age category receiving her prize

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The winners and their families after the special behind the scenes tour of the Natural Science Collections

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Behind the scenes in the shell (mollusc) collections

Demonstrations from the Histioric Buildings Unit

Gareth Bonello, 17 September 2014

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Hendre'r Ywydd Uchaf Farmhouse

Elan volunteers with the St Fagans Youth Forum and spent some time with the Museum's Historic Buildings Unit and has blogged about her experience below;

Demonstrations from the Histioric Buildings Unit

As part of the Historic Buildings Demonstrations at Sain Ffagan, I visited Hendre’r Ywydd Uchaf to see a carpenter at his work. When I arrived, he was busy working on a head of a door frame for the new Iron Age Village with wood that was sourced on site and freshly cut that morning. The work had to be done by hand without any aid from machines. He was more than happy to talk to us about his work and answer any of our questions. He talked about how he has done an NVQ in Historic Carpentry and that he has just finished his apprentiship after working at the museum for five years. His admiration towards the knowledge of the more experienced craftsmen was clear and he was aware that this knowledge came from experience not from qualifications.

He later explained how they brought buildings to the museum desribing the finished result as ‘flatpack buildings’ as they numbered the bricks around the sides before taking the building down and rebuilding it in Sain Ffagan using the Havorfordwest House and the Raglan Train Station as examples of this. The importance of conservation in this process was evident as he talked of only taking away what you needed whilst repairing historic buildings in order to keep their authenticity. He explained how the new developments happening in Sain Ffagan would lead to new work such as the Prince’s Palace from Anglesey where they would need to handle 480kg of timber! This was time well spent in order to understand how the building happens in Sain Ffagan.

blog gan Elan Llwyd

I Spy...Nature Competition Winners

Katie Mortimer-Jones, 12 September 2014

We ran an ‘I Spy…Nature’ drawing competition across the summer to celebrate our natural sciences pop-up museum and launch of a new exhibition at National Museum Cardiff. Our young visitors used some of the specimens from the museum collections as inspiration for their drawings. We had some fantastic entries and it was extremely difficult to choose the best nine drawings. However, after much deliberation we have chosen first, second and third places in 3 age categories (under 6, 6-9 and 10-13). The winners will be receiving natural history goodies from the museum shop. Many thanks to everyone who took part, we have really enjoyed seeing all of your wonderful drawings.

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1st place, under 6 category - Starfish drawn by Ella aged 4

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2nd place, under 6 category - Trilobite drawn by Rohan aged 5

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3rd place, under 6 category - Fossil plant drawn by Megan aged 5

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1st place, 6-9 category - Amethyst crystal drawn by Jack aged 7

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2nd place, 6-9 category - Plant fossil drawn by Dylan aged 7

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3rd place, 6-9 category - Beetle drawn by Sam aged 8

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1st place, 10-13 category - Fossil coral drawn by Alana aged 11

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2nd place, 10-13 category drawn by Nooralhuda aged 11

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3rd place, 10-13 category - Insects drawn by Cassie aged 12