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National Wool Museum Reaches 30,000 Visitors for the First Time

For the first time ever theNationalWoolMuseumat Dre-fach Felindre has reached an annual visitor figure of over thirty thousand. Latest figures show that from April 2011 to March this year 30,378 people visited the Museum, up nearly 10% on the previous year, according to Museum figures.

The Museum saw 27,776 people through its doors over this period in the previous year, compared with 12,576 ten years ago after the introduction of free entry to the museums ofWales, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. .

The redevelopment of the National Wool Museum, which took place between 2002 to 2004, has contributed to the increase in the popularity of the museum, providing good access to all areas of the museum, a textile gallery showcasing the products of the welsh woollen industry and improved visitor facilities, such as the shop and cafe. The introduction of free entry in 2001 also plays a critical part in the increased visitor figure.

This trend is also true of the Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum of Wales as a whole, with the seven national museums ofWalesaltogether receiving 1.69 million visits in 2011-12, the highest total recorded since free entry was introduced in April 2001.

David Anderson, Director General, Amgueddfa Cymru speaks of the successes of the seven national museums inWales:

“Our recent visitor figures have been excellent. Thanks to the vision and continued financial support of the Welsh Government, I'm delighted thatWaleswas the first country in theUKto remove a major barrier to museum attendance.

“Amgueddfa Cymru has spent a lot of time and energy on ensuring that its Communications and Marketing is based on the formulation and implementation of effective Audience Development Action Plans at each of the seven individual museums.  

“Striking the right balance between meeting the needs and expectations of existing loyal visitors and attracting new audiences has been critical both in terms of increasing the volume and also, within that total, increasing the number of visitors from the C2, D and E socio-economic categories.

“In 2000-01 fewer than 250,000 of visits were made by people from these less affluent groups. Over the years, the figure has increased to over 500,000 – one in every three visits.

“Free entry is only one of the ways that Amgueddfa Cymru contributes to the social and economic life ofWales. We also play a leading role in culture and heritage provision, education, skills and tourism.

"Amgueddfa Cymru is the biggest provider of formal learning outside the classroom inWales, bringing learning alive for over 230,000 pupils and students each year. We inspire people of all ages and communities, whatever their background, through our collections, a variety of exhibitions and events. Our work is also seen outside the museum buildings, as we work in partnership with groups all overWalesand beyond on a range of community projects."

Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage added:

"I congratulate Amgueddfa Cymru on such an impressive achievement. The free entry policy has of course proved popular with traditional museum visitors – but what really pleases me is the fact that it has also attracted completely new, harder to reach, audiences through addressing barriers to access such as poverty and social exclusion as well as encouraging tourists to visit Wales.”

Ann Whittall, Manager of theNationalWoolMuseumsaid:  We are delighted that more and more visitors are discovering our fascinating museum in the beautiful rural setting of theTeifiValley. We provide a welcoming place to visit to learn about the welsh woollen industry, through demonstrations of our working machinery and guided tours by our knowledgeable staff. As well as offering hands on opportunities for children, trails around the museum and the local area and home cooked food in our cafe.

She added: “Many factors contribute to the success of the Museum including the support we receive from the local community, our partnerships with local organisations and colleges and attracting tourist visiting the area. Over the past few years we have  developed a temporary exhibition programme and a wide range of events to appeal to a diverse audience.. The challenge for us now is to maintain a high standard of visitor experience, continue to appeal to a new audience whilst welcoming back our repeat visitors with new developments and activities.    

Ends

For further information, please contactHeledd Gwyndaf, Communications Officer

Tel: 01559 370929  Email: heledd.gwyndaf@amgueddfacymru.ac.uk.

Date: 5 April 2012
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