Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales

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Yma yn Sain Ffagan, mae’r prosiect ail-ddatblygu (Creu Hanes) yn mynd yn ei flaen ar garlam. Tra bo’r cadwraethwyr yn asesu cyflwr y casgliadau a’r curaduron eraill yn cydlynu gyda’r dylunwyr, un o fy nhasgau i dros y flwyddyn nesaf fydd gweithio ar gyfres o brosiectau cymunedol ar gyfer yr orielau newydd. Yn y byd amgueddfaol, mae ’na enw ar gyfer y math yma o waith – cyd-guradu, neu cyd-greu.

Wrth gwrs, dyw gweithio gyda chymunedau ddim yn beth newydd i ni fel sefydliad. Dyma oedd hanfod dull Iorwerth Peate o guradu a sylfaen datblygu casgliadau’r Amgueddfa Werin yn y lle cyntaf. Yn 1937 – bron i ddegawd cyn agor giatiau Castell Sain Ffagan i bobl Cymru – aeth Peate ati i lunio holiadur a yrwyd at unigolion a sefydliadau ym mhob plwyf yng Nghymru yn gofyn am arferion a thraddodiadau eu milltir sgwâr. Dyma ddyfyniad ohono:

… rhaid i’r Amgueddfa wrth wybodaeth a gwrthrychau o bob plwyf yng Nghymru; rhaid iddi ddibynnu hefyd i raddau helaeth iawn ar gydweithrediad y Cymry mewn fferm a bwthyn, tref a phentref.

Mae’r ymatebion a ddaeth i law bellach yn rhan o archif lawysgrifau’r Amgueddfa, ynghyd â llythyron a llyfrau ateb – dau ddull arall a ddefnyddwyd gan Peate i gasglu gwybodaeth. Yn ei gyfnod, does dim dwywaith nad oedd yn arloesi mewn tir newydd.

Heddiw, mae rhaglen gymunedol yr Amgueddfa yn barhâd o’r etifeddiaeth hon, ond rydym yn gweithio mewn ffordd dra wahanol. Yn y cyfnod cynnar, pan fyddai gwybodaeth a chasgliadau yn cyrraedd yr Amgueddfa, llais y curadur fyddai'n dehongli a chyflwyno’r deunydd hwnnw. Er mor werthfawr yw’r cynnyrch a gasglwyd, perthynas un-ochrog i raddau oedd rhwng yr Amgueddfa a’i hysbyswyr cymunedol.

Bron i wythdeg mlynedd yn ddiweddarach, mae’r pwyslais wedi newid ac fe welir hyn yn glir yn y gwaith sy’n digwydd yma fel rhan o brosiect Creu Hanes. O fewn yr orielau newydd, bydd gofodau wedi eu curadu gan gymunedau ledled Cymru – eu lleisiau a’u gwrthrychau nhw fydd hanfod yr arddangosfeydd hyn. Yn ogystal, mae fforymau cyfranogol y prosiect – pwyllgorau yw’r rhain sy’n cynrychioli cynulleidfaoedd amrywiol yr Amgueddfa – wedi chwarae rhan bwysig yn y broses o ddewis a dethol gwrthrychau a themâu yr orielau newydd o’r cychwyn cyntaf. Yn syml, ein nod yw creu hanes gyda, yn hytrach nag ar gyfer, pobl Cymru.

Gyda hyn mewn golwg, wythnos yn ôl mi roeddwn i gyda’r gymuned yn Awyrlu’r Fali yn cynnal ail gyfarfod am eu mewnbwn nhw i’r rhaglen cyd-guradu. Mae’r gymuned yn y Fali yn unigryw gan fod yno gymysgedd o dros fil o weithwyr milwrol a sifilaidd. Dyma un o gyflogwyr mwyaf Ynys Môn. Rydym wedi rhoi camerau fideo i ddetholiad o staff yr orsaf i recordio diwrnod arferol yn eu bywyd gwaith. Hyd yn hyn, mae wyth adran yn cymryd rhan, gan gynnwys y frigâd dân, peilotiaid Sgwadron 208 a’r gwasanaeth arlwyo. Mi fydd eu ffilmiau ‘pry-ar-y-wal’ yn cael eu dangos am gyfnod yn un o’r orielau newydd, ynghyd â gwrthrychau o'u dewis nhw. Bydd y cyfan wedyn yn cael ei archifo a’i roi ar gof a chadw yn yr Amgueddfa, a'r gofod arddangos yn cael ei drosglwyddo i gymuned waith wahanol.

I glywed mwy am ein prosiectau cyd-guradu, cadwch lygad ar y blog dros y flwyddyn nesaf. Gallwch hefyd gadw ar y blaen gyda'r datblygiadau drwy ddilyn fy nghyfrif  Twitter @StFagansTextile a’r hashnod #CreuHanes. Cofiwch hefyd am fy nghyd-weithwyr sy'n trydar: @CuradurFflur, @archifsfarchive, @SF_Politics, @SF_Ystafelloedd, @SF_adeiladau, @WelshFurniture@CollectionsSF a @SF_Dogfennaeth. Rhwng pawb, fe gewch chi’r diweddaraf am y prosiect ail-ddatblygu a chipolwg ar weithgarwch amyrwiol un adran sy’n rhan o’r gymuned waith yma yn Sain Ffagan. 

Cefnogir y gwaith gydag Awyrlu'r Fali gan Gynllun Cyfamod Cymunedol y Lluoedd Arfog.

This follows on from Marsli Owen's blog.

When we decided to do an event called ‘Through the Keyhole’ I thought about the different things I could show people in the historic houses of St Fagans.  I wanted something that linked the past and present, so I chose tea drinking and based myself in the parlour of Kennixton farmhouse.

At Kennixton, the parlour is decorated in the style of the 1750s – you might recognise it as Captain Blamey’s house in the recent Poldark tv serial.  I decided to do the event in costume to help bring the house to life, and laid the table for tea as they would have done in the 18th century.   

Tea has a very exciting history, inspiring fashion, fortune, revolution, and crime.  It was brought to this country in 1657 by Catherine of Braganza, the Portuguese wife of Charles II.  A bit like the Kate-effect of today it swiftly caught on as a fashionable drink.

Like a lot of popular things, tea was taxed very highly by the government.  Some unscrupulous dealers would try and make tea go further by adulterating it with hawthorn leaves or even dried sheep poo!  To combat the high tax on tea, many people in Wales would have bought their tea from smugglers.  It’s possible the residents of Kennixton got their tea the same way.  It was originally built on the Gower coast so smuggled tea would have been easily available. 

It wasn’t just the Welsh who objected to paying the high tax on tea; the Americans didn’t see why they should pay it either.  They showed their feelings by throwing British tea into Boston harbour - the Boston Tea Party – which kick-started the American War of Independence in 1775.

I loved doing this event and it generated some really interesting conversations with visitors. Just doing some day-to-day activities in the house made it feel much more like a home. But I have to confess I was relieved to get out of the dress at the end of the day - the large skirts and tight sleeves were so restricting.  I finished the day wearing my comfy jeans and enjoying a mug of tea curled up on the sofa!

There will be one last blog next week to follow on by Heulwen, who will be talking about the Prefab.

We have created word clouds based on the most commonly used terms in the responses to two questions on display in the exhibition. Figure 1 shows the feedback to the question "Which object would you recommend to a friend?" and Figure 2 shows the terms used to the query "How do you feel surrounded by so many fragile objects?".

We hope to periodically produce these word clouds; they may show that the most frequently used terms change over time or that they remain the same. Interesting conclusions could be drawn from either. If they change it could be that people will appreciate certain works due to the time of year, the likelihood that they attended an event or changing fashions. If they remain unchanged the conclusion could be drawn that some works resonate strongly with the majority of visitors.

The questions are posed using two methods on the landing of the west wing galleries; as a comments section on the iPad's and a bulletin board with paper and pencils provided to write a response (Figure 3).

These questions were posed to combat the standard "What do you think of the exhibition?". Rather we wanted to create questions which would encourage key concepts of the exhibition: to stimulate curiosity and encourage debate. This (we hope!) will happen through visitors reading the questions and considering their own responses and by seeing the responses of others which are left on display in the space.

Excitingly we have found visitors have taken to this style of questioning; the responses to the question about recommending an object to a friend (on the "bulletin board") have been through text and images with some visitors expanding upon why they like certain works (Figure 4) . In the comments field on the iPad's which asks about personal experience in the exhibition we have been interested to seeing the varying reactions. Such as a visitor on the 5th May who responded: "Scared worried but its lovely" or from the 16th May "I really liked the pull between wanting to touch and not being able to touch. When i stepped into the first installation i was overwhelmed with a child like want to feel and discover for myself.".

Let us know If you have any comments on the exhibition, questions or if there's a subject you'd like to see a future blog post about. By Penelope Hines & Jennifer Dudley

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.

Our 13th century Royal hall is moving forward at quite a pace. At the minute work focusses on the window reveals of the smaller of the two structures, currently known as ‘Building B’. This building could have been the Royal bed chamber (for other contemporary examples feature a chamber and hall within close proximity to each other), but equally it could have been the kitchen, (which would also have been in close proximity to the hall, for who would want to feast on cold food?).

The window reveals are typically Romanesque in style. They are very narrow on the outside, but widen considerably on the inside, in order to maximise the light coming through. The reason for their narrowness is two-fold: small windows are more easily defended and hence were a common feature of more fortified structures such as castles; secondly, as glass for glazing was not always available their size was kept to a minimum in order to reduce the amount of cold air coming in. They will be capped by a level stone lintel, but likewise they could have been capped with an arch – as both methods were common at this time. Wooden shutters will be installed and closed at night, so that visiting schoolchildren will be warm when sleeping over.

Off-site work has begun on saw-milling oak boughs into timber for the roof trusses. Getting a long square-edged timber out of a log takes some considerable skill. The large band-saw can only cut straight lines, therefore the log has to be positioned correctly before every pass. It has to be adjusted up and down, as well as from side to side, because one cut at the wrong angle would negatively impact the following cuts, and render the timber unusable.