Amgueddfa Blog: Casgliadau ac Ymchwil

Nearing the four-month mark since I stepped into National Museum Wales for the first day of my Professional Training Year (PTY) placement from Cardiff University, my goal of achieving new experiences in the world of marine invertebrate research is definitely underway. This is now taking form in the way of the Magelonidae, the shovelhead worms, a family of polychaetes with many unanswered questions hovering around them in regards to their ecology, taxonomy and behaviour.

Through starting with live observations in the museum lab in July of Magelona alleni, a rather chunky species of magelonid, my project has developed into some exciting discoveries regarding not only the feeding of these amazing worms, but also how they poo, hence the title of the blog post! As boring as worm defecation sounds, this is not the case when you watch how these amazing animals decide to actually get rid of their dinner (there will be more about the details of this in my next blog post when we have finished working on this interesting behaviour).

These findings have led me down a road of using many new techniques to be able to present my work in a professional and scientific manner. This includes scientific drawing using a camera lucida attachment on a microscope, photography in the way of time-lapse captures, film and image stacking, image editing, reviewing relevant literature, statistical analysis, dissection and SEM (scanning electron microscopy) to name but a few.

In addition to these skills I have learnt much about day to day tasks the museum carries out, including learning methods of curation for an impressive collection of marine invertebrates, holding over 750,000 specimens and having the opportunity to partake in sampling trips to collect more animals for the further development of my project and other projects around the museum. I have also settled into the role of tank maintenance for not only the shovelhead worms, but also some of our resident anemones, hermit crabs, starfish, sea potatoes and prawns. I have even tried my hand at outreach on one of the museum’s stands during the evening event ‘After Dark at the Museum’ with Cardiff University, which saw nearly 2000 people (mainly families) enjoy a hands on experience.

One crucial advantage that I feel I have obtained over these last few months is that I am starting to enjoy a great appreciation for the diversity of life in our seas, from the very tiny, such as organisms like diatoms and foraminiferans to the impressively large, like the young humpback whale skeleton on display in the museum, which I get the pleasure of walking past most days. All in all, my experiences so far have been beyond valuable and who knows what the next few months of research here will bring.

Find out more about how I got on when I first started at the museum

Archibald H. Lee was the first Secretary appointed to National Museum Wales in 1909 and held the post for 44 years. His professional life began in 1899 when he entered the service of the Cardiff Corporation as a junior clerk in the old Town-hall on St Mary Street. During this time he would have worked on the City’s case for the establishment of a National Museum, so it must have been gratifying for him to join the fledgling staff of the new Museum.

After a few quietly productive years, the outbreak of WWI saw a large number of staff leave the museum for military service and Lee was no exception. He commanded a company of the 5th Welch Regiment and was awarded the Military Cross after the Battle of Gaza.

After the war, Lee resumed his position as Secretary and the Library holds a great number of photographs showing him at the forefront of important events and gatherings. In 1927 the new building at Cathays Park was officially opened by King George V and Queen Mary and Lee lead the Royal party up the steps to officially knock on the door with the ceremonial staff.

He established a life time bond with the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society when he joined in 1909, going on to hold the posts of Honourable Secretary, Council Member, President [1931-2] and finally Honourable Member in 1954. Some highlights during these years were helping to organize and celebrate the Society’s Diamond Jubilee, contributing an article titled Museums in Cardiff for the Society Transactions [1932] and being awarded the Honorary Degree of M.A. by the University of Wales [1937].

During WWII, he was an active member of the 16th Glamorgan Home Guard ‘National Museum Wales Section’. The Museum suffered some damage through enemy air raids on Cardiff and extensive precautions were implemented to protect the collections. These involved the transfer of important specimens to the basement strong room, sandbagging of sculptural and bulky exhibits, the protecting of all glass cases and windows with gummed strips, and night time ‘fire-watch’ duties, all of which  Lee would most likely have been involved in.

In 1953 Lee retired as Secretary with a civic luncheon held in his honour and the award of an O.B. E [Officer of the British Empire].

He passed away in 1970, aged 87 years.

 

Traddodiadau Calan Gaeaf

Mae noson Calan Gaeaf ar y gorwel ac mae’n siwr fod plant ledled Cymru yn ysu am gael hyd i’r wisg ddychrynllyd berffaith ar gyfer y noswaith, eu rhieni yn sicrhau bod digon o losin yn y tŷ ar gyfer ymwelwyr bach dieflig gwancus, a phwmpenni ar draws y wlad yn cael eu gwacáu a’u cerfio. Daw rhai o’r traddodiadau hyn oddi wrth ein ffrindiau dros ddyfroedd yr Atlantig, ond yn y blog hwn hoffwn gynnig blas o’r ffyrdd eraill y dathlwyd y dyddiad hwn yng Nghymru, a chofiwch achub ar cyfle i brofi holl hwyl yr ŵyl ar y 29ain, 30ain ac 31ain o Hydref yng Ngŵyl Calan Gaeaf Sain Ffagan

Diwedd y Cynhaeaf

Gyda chasglu’r cynhaeaf a dyfodiad Calan Gaeaf roedd y gwaith amaethyddol trwm yn dod i ben am y flwyddyn. Roedd diogelu’r cynnyrch yn barod at y gaeaf yn dynodi diwedd yr haf a dechrau’r gaeaf, sef diwedd  yr hen flwyddyn Geltaidd ar Noson Calan Gaeaf. I ddathlu’r achlysur pwysig hwn byddai llawer yn paratoi gwledd foethus yn llawn danteithion a cherddoriaeth er mwyn diolch i gymdogion am eu cymorth yn hel yn cnydau. Roedd hi hefyd yn arfer i ladd anifeiliaid fferm yn y cyfnod hwn er mwyn cadw’r cig at y gaeaf. 

Bwganod ar Bob Camfa

Ond, yn ôl pob sôn, gallai pethau rhyfedd iawn ddigwydd ar noswaith Calan Gaeaf. Roedd rhwydd hynt i ysbrydion grwydro’r wlad a chredid y byddai eneidiau’r meirwon i’w gweld ar bob camfa am hanner nos. Byddai i’r ysbrydion hyn nodweddion gwahanol o ardal i ardal ond dau o’r bwganod mwyaf cyffredin oedd y Ladi Wen, ac yn arbennig yn y gogledd, yr Hwch Ddu Gwta. Arferid cynnau coelcerthau wedi iddi dywyllu, ond wrth i’r fflamau farw ac wrth i’r tywyllwch ennill y nos, ofnid gweld yr Hwch Ddu Gwta. Rhaid oedd brysio adref heb oedi, ac wrth wneud hynny, byddai rhai yn adrodd: 

Adref, adref am y cynta’, Hwch Ddu Gwta a gipio’r ola’

neu

Hwch Ddu Gwta a Ladi Wen heb ddim pen

Hwch Ddu Gwta a gipio’r ola’

Hwch Ddu Gwta nos G’langaea

Lladron yn dwad tan weu sana.

ac hefyd

Hwch Ddu Gwta, yn brathu coesau’r hogia’ lleia’.

Stwnsh, Tair Powlen a 'Thwco ’Fale'

Roedd llawr o ofergolion yn gysylltiedig â’r adeg hon o’r flwyddyn, yn enwedig y rhai hynny a fyddai’n eich galluogi i ddarogan y dyfodol. Dau gwestiwn pwysig ar lawer tafod oedd pwy fyddai’n priodi a phwy fyddai’n cwrdd ag anffawd marwol. Er mae’r un oedd y cwestiynau, byddai y modd y’u hatebid yn amrywio o sir i sir. Yn Sir Drefaldwyn, byddid yn paratoi stwnsh o naw cynhwysyn (yn eu plith ceid tatws, moron, erfin, cennin, pupur a halen), wedi eu cymysgu gydag ychydig o laeth ac yn y canol, rhoddid modrwy briodas. Byddai pawb yn cymryd ei dro i brofi’r stwnsh hwn a’r sawl a fyddai’n dod o hyd i’r fodrwy yn siwr o briodi ymhen dim.  Gallwch weld yr arfer hwn ar waith yn Ffermdy Abernodwydd yn ystod Gŵyl Calan Gaeaf Sain Ffagan yr wythnos nesaf. 

Traddodiad arall oedd plicio croen afal mewn un darn, a thaflu’r croen dros eich ysgwydd. Byddai siap y croen ar y llawr yn dynodi llythyren gyntaf eich darpar briod. 

Yn ardal Llandysul byddid yn llenwi tair powlen: un â phridd, un â dŵr â gwaddod ac un â dŵr clir. Wedi rhoi mwgwd am y llygaid, rhaid oedd estyn a chyffwrdd un o’r powlenni. Roedd gwahanol ystyr i’r dair. Byddai’r cyntaf yn darogan marw cyn priodi; yr ail yn darogan priodas gythryblus a’r drydedd yn dynodi priodas hapus. Arferid hefyd chwarae gemau megis 'twco ’fale', neu fersiwn braidd yn fwy peryglus, ceisio dal afal yn hongian o’r to ynghlwm wrth gannwyll, yn eich ceg!

Eitemau Brawychus ein Casgliadau

Gellir hefyd gael cipolwg ar eitemau llawer mwy dychrynllyd yn ein casgliadau ar nosweithiau ein Gŵyl Calan Gaeaf. Yn eu plith bydd dol o Wlad Belg a gasglwyd gan Edward Lovett (1852-1933). Roedd gan Lovett ddiddordeb mawr mewn swynion, boed yn rhai lwcus neu’n rhai anlwcus. Gwnaethpwyd y ddol hon o gwyr a gellid ei defnyddio i niwedio eraill trwy osod piniau neu unrhywbeth miniog ynddi, ac os am achosi marwolaeth araf boenus i elyn, gellid ei thoddi yn araf mewn simne. Byddwn hefyd yn arddangos potel gwrach gyda swyn wedi ei gosod ynddi. Mae’n debyg nad agorwyd y botel hon erioed. Gosodwyd poteli tebyg mewn waliau adeiladau i amddiffyn rhag ysbrydion drwg.

Straeon i Godi Gwallt Pen

Recordiwyd miloedd o siaradwyr gan Archif Sain Amgueddfa Werin Cymru dros y blynyddoedd. Ymysg ein recordiadau ceir toreth o straeon am brofiadau arswydus, am fwganod ac ofergoelion. Mae rhai o’r straeon yn perthyn i’r siaradwr ei hyn tra bod eraill yn rhai a drosglwyddwyd ar lafar o’r gorffennol o un cenhedlaeth i’r llall.

Dyma ambell i glip sain o’r Archif:

Ysbryd Pwll Glo McClaren 

https://www.casgliadywerin.cymru/items/606763

Hwch - Ddu Gwta

https://www.casgliadywerin.cymru/items/606778

Crinjar

https://www.casgliadywerin.cymru/items/606781

 

 

Local shops in the St.Fagans area are probably wondering why their stock of swedes have been running so low lately!  Before the pumpkin, made popular by the American love of the festival, we had the humble swede. Although smaller, with its gnarled appearance and hairy roots, it did the job well and was traditionally carved and used as a lantern just like a pumpkin today.

The flesh of a swede is harder than a pumpkin so a bit more effort had to be put into removing it. After a little experimentation, the kitchen utensil of choice turned out to be the apple corer.   A scary face could then be easily carved with a knife.

What to do with all that swede! Traditionally it would have been thrown into the cooking pot, but an alternative recipe comes from Poland.  A swede tastes like radish when eaten raw. Sliced very thinly, seasoned with salt and pepper then mixed with chopped spring onion, parsley and a drop of olive oil, it makes a very light and refreshing salad. A phrase I've never applied to a swede before!

A big thank you to our conservation volunteers who worked so hard to recreate our traditional Jack O’ Lanterns. 31 were made in all, so if you're coming along to our spooktacular Halloween festival this year, keep an eye out for them, they are likely to jump out and scare you at any time.

Happy Halloween everyone

Hi, it’s me Mike, volunteer curator with The Wallich working on a new exhibition called ‘Who Decides: Making Connections with Contemporary Art’. The old exhibition that was in the gallery has come down, it’s totally empty now.

 

So we are going to start this new exhibition; with new art, photos and films that you won’t have seen before. You can see some of my favourite pieces. I really hope you enjoy this new exhibition.

 ‘Who Decides: Making Connections with Contemporary Art’ opens on October 26th 2017. More information here and here