Amgueddfa Blog: Cyffredinol

This is a community project led by volunteers from Drefach Felindre Gardening Club in conjunction with the National Wool Museum and involving the local primary school’s Eco group. The main aim is to provide a sustainable attractive garden using plants that traditionally have been used for their natural dyes. The plant materials are harvested and used in the end of season workshops.

Early in 2019, the Natural Dye Garden Group was approached by Dr. Nicol, of the Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University, regarding the Economic Botany Collection. This is held in the National Museum Cardiff.

Dr. Nicol had met with the group some time previously to help explore how this collection of 3,500 specimens might support the public’s understanding and valuing of biodiversity. These specimens were wide ranging but only included one specimen of dye plant material from the UK.

The National Museum asked if the Natural Dye Garden Group could provide a contribution to the Economic Botany Collection to expand the range of dye plants held. We were delighted to be able to help.

Every year plant materials from the Natural Dye Garden are harvested and stored for use in the natural dye workshops. From this resource it was possible to provide 13 specimens, labelled and boxed for the Economic Botany Collection.

Additionally, another box was prepared of corresponding dyed samples of wool fibre. In all, 20 colours were included, as examples of colour modifications were added such as yellow from weld overdyed with blue from woad to make green.

These boxes have significantly expanded the natural dye plant selection of the Economic Botany Collection and have all been grown on the National Wool Museum site here in West Wales.

Dewch i ailddarganfod trysor Rhufeinig ddaeth i’r fei yng Nghaerllion ym 1926!

Defnyddiwch yr Ap i archwilio'r Amffitheatr a'r Barics yng Nghaerllion. Dilynwch gliwiau a chwrdd â chymeriadau hanesyddol i helpu chi i ddarganfod trysorau'r Amgueddfa - lle cawsant eu darganfod un wreiddiol. Os dewch o hyd iddynt i gyd byddwch yn agor rhith-Amgueddfa Lleng Rufeinig Cymru. Mae'r Ap hwn yn brosiect partneriaeth rhwng Amgueddfa Cymru a Cadw. Mae'n cysylltu trysorau amgueddfeydd â'r lleoedd lle cawsant eu darganfod yn y safleoedd hanesyddol a gynhelir gan Cadw yng Nghaerleon.


Sut i chwarae:

    • Defnyddiwch eich dyfais a'r map trysor i ganfod y chwe chliw cudd yn yr amffitheatr a'r barics.
    • Rhaid i chi gerdded i bob un o'r chwe chliw llun yn y grid.
    • Pan fyddwch chi'n agosáu at y man iawn bydd ceiniog yn ymddangos ar eich dyfais. 
    • Pwyswch y geiniog i weld y cliw a chasglu pob ateb i ganfod yr allwedd sy'n agor yr Amgueddfa Lleng Rufeinig Rithwir.


    Cwestiynau Cyffredin

    • Mae'r ap yn gweithio orau ar Android 4.3 a'r iOS 9.1 neu yn hwyrach. Ni fydd yr ap yn gweithio ar rai ffonau android syml.
    • Mae'r ap yn defnyddio data yn ystod y profiad
    • Os ydych yn cael trafferth lawrlwytho'r ap, sicrhewch fod gennych gysylltiad gwe da a digon o le ar eich ffôn.


    Addasrwydd: Teuluoedd

    Hud: 30-50muned

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    Hi all, I’m Pip Diment from the Exhibitions team, and I'm one of a group of museum staff volunteering to care for the six live snakes we are housing as part of the 'Snakes’ exhibition at National Museum Cardiff.

    Our exhibition is now open and runs to the 15th September 2019. I was part of the team who cared for the snakes for the second two weeks of the exhibition run. We were trained by Guy Tansley from Bugsnstuff and he showed a group of us volunteers how to check on the snakes safely and provide basic care.

    We are not required to feed the snakes – we have Dr. Rhys Jones generously helping us with that. Our tasks are to change the water daily, remove any poo, ureic acid crystals (wee!) and calcium plugs, also to remove any shed skin and to check the snakes are not too cold or hot and that they are ok. These checks are all done daily by a team of two or three volunteers.

    On my first day volunteering I worked with Melissa Hinkin (from Artes Mundi, who is a snake enthusiast) and Vic le Poidevin (from our Events team). There was great excitement the first morning as Prestwick, the Jungle Carpet Python had shed her skin and had an enormous poo!  She’s a fairly large snake so it shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was huge! Like a large dogs! The skin itself came off in two parts and is now being used as part of the handling collections (not too much handling as it is fragile!). Underneath all that shed skin Prestwick has now emerged even more beautiful with her skin a stunning iridescent effect. And this was still only day one.

    On day two I worked with Christian Baars (from Conservation) and Robin Maggs (from Photography). Once again, much excitement as Keith, the Royal Python shed his skin overnight. Much smaller poo – smaller snake, so made sense! He also looked much more beautiful after shedding his skin.

    Days three and four were not as eventful – only water changing and general checks required. Everyone seems very healthy and happy, and we are following their care instructions meticulously to ensure they stay that way. 

    I admit I have an unhealthy interest in snake poo – and for the end of my first week we’ve had another poo! This time, again, from Keith. I am not the only one now excited by snake poos – see Robin and Christian admiring Keith’s offering (look closely it has substrate on it which makes it looks like it has eyes!)

    I’m so glad I agreed to volunteer. I’ve held snakes before, but never spent so much time with them. I love that they all have great names and their own characters:






    Thanks for reading. You can read some of our other snake blogs here, here and here.

    The exhibition runs till 15th September 2019, entry charges do apply, and all your contributions go towards bringing you even bigger and better exhibitions in the future.

    Please note that there is no live handling of the snakes within the exhibition. In August we’ll be having snake handling sessions for the public – see here for details of booking.

    Also, make sure you come and visit us this saturday (10th August) for our Venom Open Day!

    One of the best reasons for housing heritage collections inside buildings is that the building keeps the weather out. Paintings, fossils, books and skeletons are best kept dry, and walls and roofs protect our collections (as well as staff and visitors) from the elements.

    In addition, many of the objects in our collections also need specific temperature and humidity ranges to prevent them from suffering damage. Too high a humidity can cause swelling of wood, for example, initiating cracks in objects, or, if humidity gets even higher, mould growth. Therefore, National Museum Cardiff has a complicated air conditioning system. This system is more than 40 years old and has been maintenance-intensive and inefficient for some time.

    We are happy to report that, after several years of planning, we have just completed the installation of new chillers and humidifiers at National Museum Cardiff. The purpose of chillers in the museum is to provide cold water – for lowering the temperature of galleries and stores in the summer, and for dehumidifying stores and galleries if there is too much moisture in the air. Humidifiers achieve the opposite effect: they increase humidity in stores and galleries if it is too low. Low humidity is usually a problem during the winter months – you may have experienced your skin drying out at home when you have the heating on in winter. To prevent our collections drying out we cannot apply skin cream; instead, we maintain a minimum level of humidity in stores and galleries.

    The chillers and humidifiers have been commissioned now, and are working well. They have already proved that the control of our indoor environments is better than it was before. A very positive side effect of the new technologies is that they are much more efficient than the old equipment. In fact, they are so efficient that we are anticipating to shave almost 50% off our annual electricity bill for National Museum Cardiff, saving the planet more than 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year. That is the equivalent of taking 100 cars off the road, or the average energy a family home uses in 38 years.

    By investing in such new technologies, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales continues to ensure the safe storage and display of the nation’s heritage collections, whilst at the same time making a massive contribution towards the National Assembly’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (Environment Wales Act 2016).

    Find out more about Care of Collections at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales here and follow us on Twitter. Follow the progress of the maintenance works during the coming months in 2019 on Twitter using the hashtag #museumcare.



    I went with a friend to a CC Skills open day for the Cardiff sector. I didn’t know anything about it and I wasn’t interested in it because the venues didn’t interest me. I spoke to Jo Esposti about other venues and she mentioned that the Newport sector would include Big Pit as a host venue and I was instantly interested. I have always had a very big interest in Big Pit from a young age because of my grandfather telling me stories and taking me to Big Pit as a child.

    Once I thought there would be a chance that I would get to work there I took the opportunity. Even though not completely feeling 100%, I couldn’t leave the opportunity there so I applied. I got through and had an interview and I didn’t shut up about Big Pit through my whole interview because I was so nervous about doing it.

    When I heard I got the job I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait to start. Within a week of working at Big Pit I had a lot more confidence and could easily talk more to the public and other members of staff.

    Since I started my placement 6 months ago I have worked in all areas of Big Pit. When I first started I worked a lot in the Pit Head Baths and the King Coal: Mining Galleries Exhibition where I was interacting with visitors and meeting and greeting. I learnt a lot of facts about the pit that visitors often asked and wanted to know.

    Then I started assisting with the educational workshop  ‘Servants of the Empire’  which is a lesson for key stage 2/3 pupils to have them learn about what it would have been like to work underground in the 1800’s, they have to find out about the girl that worked as a drammer girl underground. I was supervising the students in the second part of the activity where they have to draw a dram and feel coal, while the facilitator would be with half of the class showing them the clothes they would have worn, food they would have taken underground and the weight of the drams. I was helping them get the positions right for pulling the dram whilst making sure the children did not hurt themselves and help them answer the questions on their worksheets.

    I have also worked in the office with Kathryn the Marketing and Communications Officer learning how Big Pit promotes itself and offers events and activities to the public to encourage visitors to come through the door. I have also worked in the reception, meeting and greeting people as they come into the museum, booking people in and telling visitors about the site and anything they want to know about the facilities.

    I found working in all these different areas of the museum gave me a really goood idea of how the museum works and what goes on behind the scenes to make the museum run as it does and how the different departments work to keep the museum efficient and open to the public as expected.

    Since working at Big Pit I have grown in confidence and, as a person from suffering anxiety and depression for 3 years, coming into an environment where everyone onsite is friendly and encouraging has helped me become a better version of myself.

    I have really enjoyed my time working at Big Pit and I am very grateful to everyone who works there for their time and everything they have done for me. I am also very grateful to Paul Green, Deputy Mine Manager, who has been my mentor and who has been great and very supportive since I started.  I am glad that this was the first placement I had as it has given me the confidence to go to my other placements and feel at ease there.