Amgueddfa Cymru

Hafan

Over the last few months Kate Congdon from Cardiff and the Vale College has been working on resources for ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) students. In a previous blog I discussed how these had developed and been trialled at the college. On Thursday 8th September we had around 300 students and 9 tutors come to St Fagans to try out the resources here on site. The resources that were trialled were for: Bryn Eryr Iron Age Roundhouses, Rhyd y Car, Gwalia Stores, St Teilo’s Church, and the Melin Bompren Corn Mill.

Shadowing some of the groups I was able to see how the students worked with the resources. All of the students were engaged with the resources and were keen to ask questions if they were unsure of the answer. By asking questions the resources were not only testing their reading ability but encouraging them to practice their spoken English. A big thank you goes to the front of house members of staff who were excellent at answering the questions in a simple and easy to understand manner.

As well as the printed versions of the resources we also trialled an iBook version of the Rhyd y Car resource which I adapted from Kate’s Rhyd y Car resource. The students that trialled this enjoyed the opportunity to use a different medium. The students appreciated that the iBook provided immediate feedback on the questions and used the iBook together with the printed version to check their answers. The only downside of the iBooks is that it is not compatible with android tablets which the college have. Therefore an alternative android version should be created to make the electronic resource more accessible.

The feedback from the students will be used to improve the resources and a finalised version will be completed in the coming months. Once they are completed we can then upload them to our website for future ESOL groups to use.

My artistic practice is multi-disciplinary and includes film, performance, design and engagement with communities. Using an investigative approach my work responds to journeys and geographical locations. Previous projects have included, an odyssey across Wales (Cerbyd), the life, death and afterlife of an elephant in Swansea and a hunt for the Beast of Bala.

From November 2015 to April 2016 I was chosen as artist in residence at Parc le Breos, Neolithic chambered tomb. During the residency I used engagement activities and film making to explore how the exposure and freedom to explore the Parc le Breos site through a host-guest scenario could give agency to the individuals involved.

Focusing on the themes of shelter, survival, hunting and rituals, I arranged a programme of regular activity for Community First groups to work with myself and local practitioners in the area sharing their expertise. Partners included Dryad, Forest Schools, Gower Unearthed and Guerrilla Archaeology who created experiences including shelter building, fire making and story telling. Over 1000 people took part in the project, many of whom had never visited Parc le Breos and the Gower before.

Amgueddfa Cymru provided a vital resource throughout - this included visiting the Museum stores with Jody Deacon, Curator: Prehistoric Archaeology (Collections and Access) to film material relating to Neolithic sites in Wales.

I was also given access to the taxidermy, scenes, models and soundtrack from the Natural History displays. This was particularly special for me; as a Cardiff boy I remember the mammoth from my school visits to the museum. The opportunity for me to return to this remarkable beast was not only nostalgic but added a sinister dimension to the project by questioning the unharmonious co-existence of the neolithic period, my own childhood memories and the present day.

A range of academics and specialists have given their time for audio interviews to be used within the film of the project including Professor Alasdair Whittle, Research Professor in Archaeology, Dr Jacqui Mulville, Reader in BioArchaeology and Roy Church, Manager of the Gower Heritage Centre. Audio was also gathered from story telling developed with the English and Maths Group based at Phoenix Centre in Townhill.

Since April I have been editing together footage and audio for my film The Chambered Cairn. The film itself opens up a variety of possibilities, suggesting that not everything is as it seems and highlighting the inevitability of change. It also hints at the hidden or unknown aspects of human development. For example, for approximately 2 million years prior to the advent of agriculture, gatherer-hunters enjoyed excellent health, social and sexual equality, very light workloads, plenty of leisure time and freedom from any form of government. The Chambered Cairn explores our evolution and migration to the British Isles and the impact of human development from hunter gathers to agriculture and domestication.

The launch of film will be on Saturday 17 September between 12.00 – 3.30pm at Gower Heritage Centre. The film will be screened in La Charrette, a 23 seated cinema, built by Gwyn Phillips, an electrician who fell in love with the movies in his youth while working as a projectionist, and began showing films in 1953 in his back garden in Gorseinon.

All are welcome.

The Chambered Cairn
La Charrette, Gower Heritage Centre
Sat 17 Sept 12-3.30pm

This project was funded and supported by Cadw, The Gower Landscape Partnership, Arts Council for Wales, Welsh Government, Heritage Lottery Fund, National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, City and County of Swansea, Cardiff University’s Guerrilla Archaeology, Amgueddfa Cymru and Gower Heritage Centre.

 

Ar 16 Medi, 616 o flynyddoedd yn ôl cyhoeddwyd Owain Glyndŵr yn Dywysog Cymru gan ei ddilynwyr yn ei lys yn Glyndyfrdwy. Pahaodd ei frwydr yn erbyn grym Lloegr rhwng 1400 ag 1409. Roedd ei gartref, Sycharth, yn gastell mwnt a beili Normanaidd yn Llansilin, Sir Ddinbych. Cyn y gwrthryfel, honnai y bardd Iolo Goch fod naw neuadd yn y llys, a bod to o lechi ar bob un. Ysgrifennodd ‘Mae’i lys ef i nef yn nes’. Ar y stad roedd llyn pysgod, perllan, gwinllan, ceffylau, ceirw, peunod, a dim ond y cwrw lleol gorau fyddai ei weithwyr yn yfed. Wedi darganfod Sycharth yn wag fe losgwyd y lle i’r llawr gan Harri o Fynwy (a goronwyd wedyn yn Harri V). Wedi hynny fe losgodd Glyndyfrdwy.

Yn 1927 cysylltodd Yr Aldramon Edward Hughes o Wrecsam â Syr Cyril Fox, pennaeth Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru, a oedd newydd agor i’r cyhoedd. Yn ei lythyr honodd fod trawst mawr derw wedi cael ei ddarganfod 30 mlynedd ynghynt tra’n gwagio ffos Sycharth I’r perchennog, Syr Watkin Williams-Wynn. Symudwyd y trawst yn ofalus i Neuadd Llangedwyn gan y Foneddiges Williams-Wynn. Yn 1924 gofynnodd Y Aldramon Hughes os gallai ddefnyddio’r trawst yn Neuadd Goffa newydd Llansilin. Roedd y trawst yn rhy hir i’r pwrpas, felly fe lifiwyd darn o un pen, gwaith anodd iawn yn ôl y son. Rhoddwyd y darn a oedd ar ôl i’r Amgueddfa.

Glanhawyd y trawst yn ddiweddar fel y gellid tynnu lluniau ohono ac ei arddangos yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol y Fenni. Doedd dim golwg o losg arno fel y disgwylid, ond fe all fod yn ddarn o’r bont dros y ffos na losgwyd i’r un raddfa. Mae yn 50cm o uchder, a 27cm x 36cm o drwch (20” x 11” x 14”). Mae y mortis sylweddol sydd i’w weld yn un ochr yn 27cm x 14cm (11” x 6”).

Achosodd yr arddangosfa gryn diddordeb, ac fe gysylltodd Richard Suggett o Gomisiwn Brenhinol Henebion Cymru i gynnig mwy o wybodaeth. Rhai blynyddoedd ar ôl codi Neuadd Llansilin, tynnwyd trawst Sycharth o’r adeilad oherwydd pydredd, a rhoddwyd mewn sgip. Achubwyd y trawst gan Mr. Dick Hughes, perchennog garej lleol, a’i rhoi yn ôl i’r Neuadd rhai blynyddoedd wedyn. Mae gweddillion y trawst yn awr mewn cas gwydr, a bellach ond yn 75cm o hyd.

Mae gwaith cloddio archaeolegol yn Sycharth wedi darganfod neuadd 18 medr o hyd (43’), ond nid y naw a honnai Iolo Goch. Er mwyn cefnogi yr honiad taw darn o Sycharth yw’r trawst mae angen ceisio dyddio y pren. Wedi dweud hyn, nid yw pob darn o bren yn addas i’r dechneg o ddyddio drwy dendrocronoleg, ac ar ôl i’r lluniau gael ei archwilio, ymddengys efallai na fydd yr un o’r darnau yn addas at eu dyddio drwy’r dull hwn.  

 

Museums are outgoing institutions. Our doors are open to anyone, regardless of age, level of ability, ethnicity, and so on. We are happy to welcome everyone and will do our best to accommodate people’s needs and interests. Many museums are free because we do not want low income to be a barrier for visiting. AC-NMW’s Conservation Department has recently stepped up its outreach programme. We organise regular Open Days (the next one is on 25th October), talks, behind-the-scenes tours, schools activities etc – preservation of the museum’s objects is an important part of what the museum does and quite rightly forms part of the museum’s public offer. So much for museums.

Now for the visitors. Why do people visit museums? Because they have travelled here and are trying to get a sense of place. Because they want to spend some quality time with friends/family. Because they have a specific interest. There are many reasons, most of which indicate that visiting museums is a leisure activity that reflects what people are interested in and how they like to spend their spare time, just like reading, cycling or watching box sets on TV. Jehra Patrick summarised in her blog some of the motivational identities of museum visitors compiled by John H. Falk. She also suggested that to get people in the doors, museums should stop telling them why they should come and start asking them why they do

Last year we asked visitors whether they would like conservators to be more visible in public spaces. The feedback was a resounding and emphatic ‘YES!’ by 90% of our visitors. We heard the shout and started scheduling more of our regular maintenance work during public opening hours both at St Fagans and in the city centre. Again we checked with the visitors and, low and behold, they said they would like to see conservation in action even more often. Visitors are insatiable, one might conclude. Or are we really that good? Either way, it was all good news, the new way of working was a success, we congratulated ourselves, lots of shoulder padding going on etc.

Now a dear friend asked recently: ‘do visitors like to talk to museum staff about Conservation, or do they just like to talk to staff?’ Jaw drops. Had we not asked visitors whether they would like to speak to conservators? And had they not told us that they did? Well, yeah – but what we didn’t ask was whether it mattered that they spoke to conservators. Or anyone else.

It is certainly clear from experience (I am now straying from hard data into anecdotal evidence) that many museums visitors like to talk. When we work in the galleries or historic houses there are endless opportunities for chatting. We, as staff and volunteers, make it as obvious as possible that we are approachable and happy to talk. Many visitors use the opportunity to do just that: ask questions about our work, about the objects on display, or tell us about a moth infestation they once had in a carpet. The latter does not tend to happen randomly – pest management is one aspect of our work.

However, there is certainly a difference between being a member of museum staff (visitor perception) and being a highly skilled individual with years of experience who is fully subscribed to the museum’s policy of inclusivity, enthusiastically raring to inform visitors about the museum’s efforts in heritage preservation (conservator perception). It is interesting to note that, when working in the galleries, conservation is not the only thing we talk about. We also find ourselves giving directions, answering questions about objects on display, telling people about other cultural venues in South Wales. And – for reasons of liability – avoiding giving advice on moth infestations in domestic carpets.

Does it need a conservator to answer general enquiries? Of course not, and the museum already has additional staff for just that sort of thing. Should a conservator therefore refuse to answer such questions? Again, of course they should not – courtesy and politeness alone should be reason enough to attempt to answer any question.

Visitors cannot be expected to distinguish between different members of museum staff or volunteers. I, as a conservator, have to be aware of this and be prepared to answer any question asked of me as best I can to create experiences that fulfil visitor needs. It is also clear that visitors have expectations of their museum experience that often differ from what staff believe the offer is. The route to success for me, as member of staff, is therefore to be flexible and acknowledge the visitor’s diverse interests and needs. And to ask the right questions.

Find out more about care of collections and Preventive Conservation at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales here

 

 

Os ydych yn un o ddilynwyr selog @DyddiadurKate, ’da chi’n siŵr o fod wedi sylwi nad oedd Mrs Rowlands mor gyson â’i chofnodion yn 1946. Pam? Gallwn ond ddyfalu. Gofynion teuluol, dim awydd … pwy a ŵyr. Gan fod mis o dawelwch o’n blaenau  — does dim cofnod tan 10 Hydref! — dyma gyfle i ni lenwi’r bwlch gyda rhagor o hanes Kate Rowlands y Sarnau.

Yn gynharach eleni, daeth pecyn drwy’r post i ni yma yn Sain Ffagan gan Eilir Rowlands, un o wyrion Kate. Ynddo roedd toriadau papur newydd, hen luniau, coeden deulu a llythyr yn llawn atgofion amdani. Felly, dyma i chi grynodeb o'r llythyr arbennig hwnnw yng ngeiriau Eilir Rowlands: 

Fy ofynwyd be fyddai fy nain yn feddwl o hyn i gyd – syndod mawr mi dybiaf, gyda’r ebychiad lleol ‘brenshiach y bratie!’ Ond dw i’n siwr y byddai yn hynod falch bod ardal cefn gwlad y Sarnau a Chefnddwysarn yn cael gymaint o sylw yn genedlaethol ac yn fyd eang, a bod y pwyslais ar gymdogaeth glos gyda gwaith dyddiol yn cael y sylw haeddiannol.

Fe sonir am y dyddiadur mewn sgyrsiau yn yr ardal a mae’r enw KATE yn ddiarth i bawb. Fel KITTY TY HÊN y byddai pawb yn ei chyfarch a'i hadnabod… Ni wyddwn fy hun tan yn ddiweddar ei bod yn cael ei galw yn KATE pan yn ifanc!! KITTY ROWLANDS sydd ar ei charreg fedd yng Nghefnddwysarn gyda’r cwpled:

’Rhoes i eraill drysori

Ei chyngor a’i hiwmor hi

Mae'n amlwg oddi wrth dyddiadur 1946 fod cymaint o fynd a dod ag yn 1915 a'r gymdogaeth yr un mor glos. Y gwahaniaeth mwyaf mi dybiaf oedd fod ceir a bwsiau a'r ffordd o drafeilio wedi datblygu oedd yn golygu fod pobl yn mynd ymhellach i ymweld â'i gilydd. Hefyd roedd tripiau wedi dod yn ffasiynol yng nghefn gwlad.

Ganwyd fi yn 1950 felly cof plentyn sydd gennyf am nain a taid yn byw yn Ty Hên, ond yn cofio’n dda am ddiwrnod dyrnu, cneifio a hel gwair. Ty hynod fach oedd Ty Hên, ond clud a chysurus. Bob tro yr oeddwn yn cerdded y milltir o’r Hendre i Ty Hên roedd nain bron yn ddieithriad yn crosio sgwariau ar gyfer gwneud cwilt i hwn a llall. Llygaid eitha gwantan oedd gan nain erioed ond roedd pob sgwar bach yn berffaith. Wrth roi proc i'r tân glo hen ffasiwn ei dywediad fydde 'fyddai'n mynd â hwn efo fi sdi' gan chwerthin!

Roedd safle Ty Hên mewn lle hynod o brydferth. Mae'n edrych dros bentre Sarnau a mynydd y Berwyn yn y pellter. Mae'n cael haul peth cynta yn y bore. Ffordd ddifrifol o wael oedd i Ty Hên ers talwm, rhan ohoni ar hyd ffos lydan a elwid yn 'ffordd ddŵr' ac yn arwain i allt serth a chreigiog. Mi glywais nain yn dweud sawl tro am yr adegau y byddai fy nhaid wedi mynd i nôl nwyddau gyda cheffyl a throl ac yn dod adre i fyny'r allt byddai'n gweiddi ar fy nain (a oedd yn disgwyl amdano ac yn ei wylio wrth ddrws y tŷ) 'SGOTSHEN'. Beth oedd hyn yn ei feddwl oedd os oedd fy nhaid wedi gor-lwytho'r drol ac yn rhy drwm i'r ceffyl ei thynnu fyny'r allt a'r drol yn cychwyn ar yn ôl, byddai'n rhaid cael 'sgotshen' (wejen o bren) tu ôl i'r olwyn i arbed damwain a thamchwa. Byddai nain yn disgwyl am y waedd ac yn gorfod rhedeg yn syth gyda'r 'sgotshen' yn ei llaw a'i gosod tu ôl yr olwyn.

Mae Ty Hên erbyn heddiw yn hollol wahanol o ran edrychiad oherwydd fe unwyd y tŷ gyda’r beudy a’r stabl ac mae yn awr yn un tŷ hir. Perchnogion y tŷ yw par ifanc o Loegr sydd â chysylltiadau Cymreig ac maent wedi dysgu Cymraeg. Maent wedi addasu yr adeilad allanol ar gyfer beicwyr sy’n dod ar wyliau. Medraf glywed fy nain yn dweud ‘brenshach y bratie’ pe byddai yn gweld Ty Hên heddiw ac eto yn falch bod bwrlwm a bywyd yn dal yn yr hen gartre.

Gyda diolch i Eilir Rowlands, Cefnddwysarn.