Amgueddfa Blog: Cyfryngau Newydd

Towards the end of last year, staff members from the Amgueddfa Cymru took part in a research ‘Roadshow event’ held at Swansea University.   The event gave a chance to meet academics with shared research interests and discuss potential collaborations between our two institutions, and already the event seems to have nurtured some promising links.

At the event Teresa Darbyshire, our Senior Marine Invertebrate Curator, made contact with Dr. Rich Johnston who is co-director of Swansea University's brand new Advanced Imaging of Materials Centre (AIM), a £9M EPSRC/Welsh Government funded integrated scientific imaging facility for Wales. Following this contact, the opportunity arose for myself, Teresa and Dr. Jana Horak (Head of Mineralogy & Petrology) to visit the centre and see the facilities first hand.

To say we were a little overwhelmed by the centre would be quite an understatement. The centre offers state-of-the-art advanced imaging facilities including including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Ion beam nanofabrication, X-ray Diffraction (XRD), X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS), and micro and nano X-ray computed tomography (microCT). Not to mention a full suite of optical imaging and teaching microscopes.

AIM is primarily focused towards engineering and material science, and you may be wondering why they would be keen to collaborate with the Natural Sciences department here at the Museum. Well, part of their research is looking at the structures of biomaterials to learn how naturally occurring materials are formed, and with over 3 million specimens in our Natural Science collections we offer a huge reference library of material, along with the specialist knowledge of our curatorial staff, right on their doorstep. In return, we can benefit from access to their facilities to help us investigate our collections further for our own research and outreach needs, perhaps helping us to discover new species or identify historic conservation work that may have been undertaken on our specimens.

In fact, we are already utilising their MicroCT scanner to digitise a Whelk shell in order to produce a 3D printed replica in transparent material so that we may see how hermit crabs and a species of marine worm co-habit in these shells.  As you can see below, we’ve already digitally scanned the external of the shell here at the museum, but AIM’s MicroCT Scanner will enable us capture all the internal structures as well. We'll post the results when we get the scan back.



Whilst there, we also had the chance to visit the Virtual Reality (VR) lab to see how digital models produced by microCT or our own 3D scanning facilities could be developed for outreach and learning in a virtual environment. We had the chance to "visit" a virtual museum and see digitised objects in this environment. Although a little disconcerting to start with, once we got familiar with the VR world it really did offer a unique way to visualise objects that otherwise may not be possible. In the future, this technology really could open up new ways for the public engage with our collections.


To celebrate Pride Cymru coming to Cardiff this weekend, our homepage has had a little touch of colour applied to it. If you use Safari on the Mac, you may notice another special feature - your browser's toolbar itself is emblazoned with rainbow colours.

Hafan yr Amgueddfa

If you use Safari regularly, you'll be familiar with the visual effect that sees page colours slip behind the browser toolbar as you scroll. It's a neat effect but I hadn't heard of a site actively utilising it before and I wondered if, with a bit of HTML, CSS & JavaScript, we could fix a set of colours there. The vibrant rainbow colours of Pride seemed like the perfect fit. In this blog entry, I'll describe in tedious/fascinating* (*delete as appropriate) technical detail how we achieved it.

The Technique

At first I tried setting the margin of my element to a negative value to push it into the toolbar area. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't work - it's simply not displayed. The actual solution was almost as simple itself and we were pretty pleased with the result.

To start off, all we need are two divs.

    <div id="toolbar-colours">…</div>
    <div id="content-frame">…</div>

The first div will contain the colours we want to show in our toolbar. We give this a fixed height, 150px in this example.

The second div will contain our content. We give this a fixed width and height of 100vw and 100vh. This means it will neatly and seamless fill the browser viewport area.

	background-color: #b20034;
	height: 2px;
	display: flex; /* We actually use Sass includes for cross-browser flex-box support */
	width: 100%;
	padding: 0;
	margin: 0;

	height: 150px;

#rainbow_toolbar .colour_block
	flex: 1;
	height: 4px;
	padding: 0;
	margin: 0;

#rainbow_toolbar.safari_trick .colour_block
	height: 130px;

#rainbow_toolbar .colour_block.violet { background-color: #9400d3; }
#rainbow_toolbar .colour_block.indigo { background-color: #4b0082; }
#rainbow_toolbar { background-color: #0000ff; }
#rainbow_toolbar { background-color: #00ff00; }
#rainbow_toolbar .colour_block.yellow { background-color: #ffff00; }
#rainbow_toolbar { background-color: #ff7f00; }
#rainbow_toolbar { background-color: #ff0000; }

Using a little JavaScript, we can make sure that we're always scrolled past the first div, making it colour the browser toolbar.

$(window).scroll(function() {

    if ($(window).scrollTop() < 150) {

The only thing remaining is to sort out our scrollbars which are giving the game away. We hide the main browser scrollbar and give our content-frame a standard-looking scrollbar instead.

    visibility: hidden; 
    display: none;
	background-color: #e4e4e4;
	height: 100vh;
	width: 100vw;
	padding: 0;
	border: 0;
	overflow-y: scroll;
	display: initial;
	visibility: visible;
	background: #f4f4f4;
	color: #ffffff;
	background-color: #f4f4f4;
	border-radius: 8px;
	width: 4px;
	border-radius: 8px;
	background-color: #b4b4b4;
	border: 3px #f4f4f4 solid;

There are few more JavaScript tricks we can use to tidy up our implementation. This includes managing the up arrow and page-up keys which create a visual glitch:

// disable page up and arrow up when at top of content
window.addEventListener('keydown', function(e) {
	if( $('#content-frame').scrollTop() <= 0 && [33, 38].indexOf(e.keyCode) > -1 ) {
}, false);

The Caveats

It's a neat little trick but also somewhat of a hack. Putting your content in a scrolling div carries a small but noticeable performance penalty when scrolling and when using a touchpad to scroll you may get an occasional visual glitch. Finally, it is only available to Mac-based Safari users. No other combination of OS and browser has the translucent toolbar effect for us to take advantage of. For this reason, it's not something I'd want to use for a lengthy period of time. But for one weekend only, here it is.

Visual Audio Display Units (VADUs) still exist in the National Museum Cardiff galleries. We know, because with almost every finger touch on the touchscreen, it sends a little signal to the web server that includes a piece of information describing the last interaction (i.e. ‘please play the video’, ‘please display the menu list’). We record all those messages, firstly to make sure the kiosk is actually working day-to-day and secondly to find out which aspects are popular or not popular, knowledge that is useful to guide future kiosk development. 

Each message is sent as an AJAX call (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) from the kiosk, which is usually a standalone bundle of files running through a web browser (HTML, CSS & Javascript files). The main bulk of the kiosk development is carried out through our in-house web CMS (called Amgueddfa CMS) on a computer that mirrors the public web server, it’s only before the launch that all the necessary files are copied over to the computer in the exhibition space (wrapped up as an ‘App’), where it remains like a satellite away from its mothership (the web server). Beep beep, beep beep.

Patterns of Frequency

A single recorded kiosk command is not particularly exciting by itself but when there are greater numbers, patterns emerge. For instance, if we record each time a video is started on the kiosk we get a round number to how many people were interested in the subject matter of the video (information gathered before they had seen the video). If we also record when people stop playing the video we can start to distinguish patterns in their viewing behaviour. Judging by the average video length played the majority of the visitors saw less than 39% of the total video length, with the longest average being three minutes 17 seconds. Of course, there were also lots of visitors who watch the videos until the end; as you can tell by the 'happy-tail' patterns formed by visitors reaching the film credits at the end of the film (figure 2).  

Overview of the Numbers

I signed-off my last blog with a promise of data relating to the Wi-Fi audio tour during the Chalkie Davies exhibition last year, which I’m including below. To placing the Wi-Fi statistics within the gallery space, I’ve also gathered data from the four large screen kiosks in the exhibition against the monthly visitor figures.

It is immediately clear that the four large kiosks were very popular - they contained a great deal of curated content which included a composite NME magazine, Chalkie Davies film, Youth Forum audio interviews, a comments section and What’s On calendar. I can imagine the relative attraction and easy access of the kiosks goes a long way to explain the comparatively lower figures of the Wi-Fi audio tour, but let us not be downbeat - the feedback received from the visitor survey about the Wi-Fi was positive. 

  • 93% of survey monkey results either felt they ‘learnt a lot about the exhibition’ or ‘it improved their experience as a visitor’ - it must be noted that the number of people who filled in the survey and used the Wi-Fi audio tour was extremely low compared to the overall gallery visitor figures (12 / 42,000), but the survey morsel is still very positive.    

However, I would be cautious in suggesting an Wi-Fi audio tour for short-run exhibitions, mainly due to the diminished numbers compared to the insitu kiosks - the Wi-Fi audio tour could gain popularity following a less exhibition-specific avenue (e.g. providing audio descriptions for the top ten popular objects), which would allow the audio catalog to be built gradually and remain available all year around throughout the museum.

Future Beeps

To conclude, we have been collecting kiosk statistics since 2011. The storage method may change, we could additionally store the data on Google servers via Google Analytics, but however the beeps are stored the way visitor interact with museum kiosks will continue to guide the future kiosk development. 


Table showing all the touchscreen events for the Chalkie Davies exhibition with visitor figures for the gallery:

Large touch screen x 4



7 May


June 2015

July 2015

Aug 2015

7 Sept


Video (film plays)








Chalkie Interview








Chalkie Interview








NME magazine








NME magazine








NME Next Page








NME Previous Page








NME Zoom Photograph








Music Memories








Music Memories








Music Audio (track plays)
























Comments submitted








What's On








What's On

















Wi-Fi Audio Tour

Using their own mobile devices



7 May


June 2015

July 2015

Aug 2015

7 Sept


Audio (plays)








Audio (plays)

















Number Gallery Visitors


7 May


June 2015

July 2015

Aug 2015

7 Sept












Dyma flog i werthfawrogi gwagle.

Dydyn ni ddim yn cael llawer o gyfle i fyfyrio am ein gwaith, achos ma' wastad mwy ohono i'w wneud. Felly, cyn i mi fynd i'r afael ag ail-wampio'n tudalennau llogi preifat; gorffen paratoi ar gyfer cynhadledd Archif Menywod Cymru a dechre helpu efo tudalennau 'cynnig syniad am ddigwyddiad', dewch i ni eistedd am eiliad a syllu 'mewn i'r gagendor mawr tawel, ac anadlu.

Min y Môr

Neis, ond'yw e? [The Sea's Edge, Arthur Giardelli]

Gan fod 'cadw'n brysur' yn un o'n chwaraeon cenedlaethol, dyw hyn ddim at ddant pawb - ond dwi'n licio'r syniad o bwyso a mesur, aros yn llonydd am ennyd, a gwrando. Mi ddoiff na alwad bob tro: ebost sydd di syrthio lawr cefn y mewnflwch; llyfr 'dych chi wedi bod yn meddwl ei ddarllen ers sbel; neu bydd cyd-weithiwr liciech chi dreulio mwy o amser yn dysgu ganddynt yn taro'u pen trwy'r drws i weld a ydych chi ffansi paned.

Gwerthuso ac Archwilio

Rydym ni'n newid fel adran ar hyn o bryd - bydd dau aelod newydd yn ymuno â'r tîm yr wythnos hon - a rydym ni i gyd wedi bod yn gweithio ffwl-sbîd, os braidd ar wahan, ar brosiectau gwahanol ar y we, mewn orielau, y cyfryngau cymeithasol, rheolaethol, ymchwil a chynllunio.

Mae Graham, sy'n arwain y tîm cynnwys, wedi bod yn cymryd rhan mewn prosiect sector-gyfan sy'n edrych ar fodelau gwerthuso, pwyso a mesur, o'r enw Let's Get Real. Yr wythnos ddiwetha, mi fuodd gerbron y 'Crit Room' ym Mrighton, yn cyflwyno'n gwaith ar gyfer ei archwilio a'i feirniadu. Diddorol a brawychus.

Mae canlyniad y 'crit' wedi bod yn galonogol iawn - roeddwn i wedi bod yn poeni braidd am faint ein rhwydwaith twitter, am fod cost amser hyfforddi pawb yn tyfu drwy'r amser i fi. Ond, cawsom adborth fod hyn yn arwydd da ein bod yn ffynnu ar-lein, ac i boeni llai amdano.

Dwi'n ceisio dilyn eu cyngor nhw, go iawn.

Adborth y Stafell Feirniadu

Tafod allan-o'm-boch, dwi'n hapus efo sut 'dyn ni'n gweithio fel rhwydwaith dyddie 'ma, ac yn falch iawn pan dwi'n gweld pobl yn llamu 'mlaen yn defnyddio'u sgiliau newydd ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasol. Wrth dynnu rhifau at ei gilydd ar gyfer adroddiad arall, fe sylwais ein bod wedi cyrraedd carreg filltir bwysig iawn yn y misoedd diwetha: dros y rhwydwaith, mae gennym dros 125,000 o ddilynwyr. Dwi'n gwbod mai nid o rifau'n unig yr adeiladir llwyddiant ar-lein, ond, dwnim, mae 'na rywbeth tawel, boddhaol am weld rhes o '000'au gwag, cegagored.

Mi gafodd Chris, sy'n gyfrifol am adeiladu seiliau ail-ddatblygiad y wefan (a llawer mwy), a gweddill y tîm, hwb gan y Stafell Feirniadu, hefyd - yn benodol, fod ein harlwy ar-lein yn 'werthfawr iawn, yn gyfoethog ac yn foddhaol'. Alla i ddim peidio â meddwl am goffi pan dwi'n darllen y geiriau yna. Amser i stopio blogio am stopio a dechre stopio am baned.

Casgliad Radical

Creadur archifol ydw i wrth reddf - dwi'n hapus iawn fy myd yn pori trwy hen recordiau, lluniau neu ddogfennau. Mae lloffa trwy 'stwff' yn bleser anghyffredin 'nawr 'mod i'n gweithio yn yr adran ddigidol - yn ddibapur, bron.

Dwi wrth fy modd; boed yn gasgliad feinyl, yn gatalog gerdiau, neu'n bentwr o hen lythyrau a thocynnau o'r ganrif ddiwetha (mae'n scary gallu gweud hynna: "fues i i gig Levellers yn y ganrif diwetha". Ych.).

Anwylaf ymysg yr archifau ma Archif Sgrîn a Sain y Llyfrgell Genedlaethol (sef ble bu Dad yn gweithio tan ei ymddeoliad) ac Archif Sain Ffagan. Yn Sain Ffagan, mae hanes y casglu radical, y synau cefndir, y tafodiaethau a'r lleisiau wedi fy hudo ers bron i ddegawd.

Mae'n gasgliad cytbwys iawn hefyd, sy'n nodi gwerth hanes menywod ac yn rhoi lle i ni ddweud ein hanes yn eu geiriau ein hunain, i rannu'n caneuon a'u coelion. Dyw hanes-ar-bapur ddim yn gyfystyr rywsut, ein gwasgu i'r marjin neu'r troed-nodyn caiff ein lleisiau yn aml iawn. Rhaid nodi nad yw'n gasgliad hollol gynrychioladol, ond mae'r tîm wedi ymdrechu'n ddiweddar i wirio hyn, trwy gasglu hanesion llafar pobl LGBT, er enghraifft.

Darganfod Llais fy Nain

Wnai fyth anghofio dod o hyd i llais fy Nain yn eu plith. Bu Nain farw pan oeddwn i'n ifanc iawn, felly does dim cof gen i ohoni tu hwnt i luniau ohoni a'i barddoniaeth.

Nancy Hughes Ffordd Deg Bach © R I Hughes
Fy Nain ym 1926 © R I Hughes

Roedd yn storïwraig o fri, a braint oedd cael copi ar CD ohoni yn adrodd rhai ohonyn nhw - a chlywed ei llais am y tro cynta fel oedolyn - nid yn unig am fod dawn dweud mor dda ganddi, ond am fod swn Taid i'w glywed yn y cefndir hefyd. Roedd ei lais llawer yn llai bas nag oeddwn i'n ei gofio o 'mhlentyndod, yn datgloi llond drôr o atgofion. 

Mi berswadiodd yr achlysur yma fi 'mhellach bod archifau yn llawn haeddu statws fel casgliadau ystyrlawn, a'u trin nid fel adnoddau cefnogol, ond fel casgliadau cyflawn sy'n haeddu cymaint o sylw mewn amgueddfa â gwrthrychau archaeolegol neu weithiau celf.

Yr Archif Heddiw

Dw i wedi bod yn gweithio efo'r tîm ers sbel - Richard (@archifSFarchive) sy'n rhan o dîm @DyddiadurKate, a 'nawr efo Lowri a Meinwen, sy'n gofalu am y llawysgrifau a'r archif sain. Mae'n nhw ar ben ffordd efo'r blogio, felly gobeithio y gwelwn ni fwy ar ochr honno'r casgliadau ar-lein yn fuan. 

O fewn yr adran ddigidol, rydym ni'n brysur yn gweithio ar ail-wampio ein tudalennau am draddodiadau Cymreig, a deunydd archif. Tra bod y gwaith hwnnw'n mynd rhagddo, dwi wedi bod yn edrych yn fanylach at botensial y cyfryngau cymdeithasol i rannu clipiau sain gyda chynulleidfa ehangach.

Rhannu Sain ar y Cyfryngau Cymdeithasol

Roedd y platfformau cymdeithasol sy'n rhedeg 'da ni - twitter, facebook a tumblr, yn rhy effemeral rywsut.

Mae trydar yn rhy fyr-eu-hoedl, yn enwedig gan fod cymaint o gyfrifon cyfochrog yn rhedeg yn Sain Ffagan; a dengys ein data bod ein ffans ar facebook yn ymddiddori mwy yn ein rhaglen weithgareddau na'n casgliadau. Gallai rhywbeth â ffocws fwy penodol, fel hanes llafar neu ganu gwerin, fynd ar goll yn hawdd neu fethu ei darged.

Felly, dyma ofyn i Gareth a Rhodri am eu profiad o rannu cerddoriaeth efo soundcloud, bandcamp ac ati. Penderfynais greu pecyn o recordiadau archifol oedd wedi'u paratoi'n barod yn defnyddio bandcamp, a rhyddhau y clipiau i gyd fel un grwp, yn hytrach na'u dosrannu fesul un ar y blog neu ar twitter. 

Rhinwedd bandcamp yw bod modd atodi mwy o wybodaeth, fel nodiant, geiriau a hanes y recordiad; a bod modd creu ffurff 'albwm'. Ro'n i hefyd yn awyddus i ddefnyddio'r ffwythiant 'tala os ti moyn' i weld a fyddai honno yn ffrwd roddion fechan y gallwn ni ei gwerthuso yn y dyfodol.

Lawrlwytho Albwm Arbrofol

Dyma hi te: O'r Archif: Caneuon Gwerin

Casglwyd y recordiadau yn bennaf gan Roy Saer, a threfnwyd y sain a'r nodiant gan Meinwen Ruddock-Jones yn yr archif. Ymchwilwyd y caneuon ymhellach gan Emma Lile. Mae'r clawr yn eiddo i'n casgliad celf, gwaith a briodolwyd i'r peintiwr teithiol W J Champan.

Mi ddefnyddiais Canva i gaboli'r hen sgans o nodiant, ac i ychwanegu rhyw damaid am hanes yr archif. Os oes camgymeriad yn y llyfryn, felly, arna i mai'r bai am hynny! Mwynhewch, rhannwch, canwch, rhowch ac arbrofwch - ac os oes adborth neu gwestiwn 'da chi, dodwch nhw yn y sylwadau!