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Amgueddfa Cymru appoints new Director of Collections and Research

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Peter Wakelin as the organisation’s new Director of Collections and Research. Peter Wakelin joined Amgueddfa Cymru this month and will be responsible for the departments of Art, History & Archaeology, Natural Sciences and Collections Services.

Dr Wakelin takes over the role from John Williams-Davies who retired last year after forty years at Amgueddfa Cymru.

At Amgueddfa Cymru Dr Wakelin will be responsible for the team of staff who care for over 5 million objects in Amgueddfa Cymru’s collections, spread across eight sites and covering everything from miners’ lamps to Monets and arrowheads to aeronautics.

Dr Wakelin brings to Amgueddfa Cymru a wealth of experience having worked in the heritage sector in Wales for over 20 years.  Until his appointment, Dr Wakelin was Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, the national research body and archive for the historic environment. At the Commission he helped to enhance online public access to the archive, create a centre of excellence in 3-d reconstruction and develop the BBC television series Hidden Histories, which followed the work of the Commission’s investigators.

Prior to that he was Head of the Regeneration Unit in the Communities Directorate of the Welsh Assembly Government and before that, for 12 years an Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings at Cadw, where he was a key player in the inscription of Blaenavon as a World Heritage Site in 2000.

He has written many books and articles on aspects of Welsh heritage and art history, including the Blaenavon World Heritage Site guidebook, Hidden Histories: Discovering the Heritage of Wales and Worktown, which showcases drawings by Falcon Hildred of threatened buildings. He has curated exhibitions of Welsh art and art for children at both National Museum Cardiff and the Tabernacl, Machynlleth.

Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru, David Anderson, said:

“I am delighted that Peter is joining Amgueddfa Cymru and I know that we will benefit from his wide experience and enthusiasm for the heritage sector. I have no doubt that Peter’s contribution will positively influence the work of the Museum and help build on our profile as an internationally recognised body in terms of collections and research.”

Peter Wakelin said:

“I have been visiting National Museum Cardiff since I was a small child growing up in Swansea, and in all that time it has never failed to inspire me and inform me. Amgueddfa Cymru’s collections are among the jewels of Welsh life, enabling us to better understand ourselves and the world around us and drawing in many hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

“The expertise and commitment of staff in developing and interpreting the collections has made this one of the best museum bodies in the world. With continuing support from the public and the Welsh Government there are huge opportunities to go on deepening the contributions it makes to education, tourism, culture, science and the creative industries, all of which are vital to our future as a nation. I’m very excited to be part of that.”

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales: National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.  

Entry to all Amgueddfa Cymru museums is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. 

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Date: 23 January 2014
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