Amgueddfa Cymru


It’s a strange sensation, being guided across a street blindfolded. Time slows. Distance is distorted, directions skewed. You become acutely aware of changes in the surface under your feet; shadows; things unseen brushing past your arm or cheek.

Being the guide is less disorientating but can be just as strange. Knowing that you have complete responsibility for getting someone safely to their destination is unnerving. The street suddenly becomes your enemy. Cracks and kerbs, streetlamps, benches, bins become anxiety-inducing obstacles – and don’t get me started on the cars!

The training was delivered by our friends at Cardiff Institute for the Blind, who have been helping us pilot our audio description tours for blind and visually impaired visitors. We wanted to practice our guiding skills, but also to experience what it’s like to be guided without vision in an unfamiliar environment.

Our trainers, Michelle and Sian also gave us helpful insight into the day-to-day challenges of living with a visual impairment and the array of tools and technologies that are available to help. We were given a selection of simi-specs, which simulate the symptoms of common eye conditions, and asked to do everyday tasks like read, write and count out coins from a purse.

Sian gave us a valuable account of her experience living with a visual impairment, and the role of the lovely Arnie, not just a guide dog but a lifelong companion and friend.

Everyone agreed that the training was a positive experience on many levels, and although we realise that what we experiences is not directly comparable to the experience of people with sight loss, it felt that we all came away understanding a bit more. And after guiding our colleagues across a city centre street in the rain, the prospect of guiding people around the Museum safely is far less scary!

Our audio description tours run once every other month. For more information and future dates, please call 029 2057 3240.

Mae'r amser wedi dod i ddatgan pwy sydd wedi ennill ein cystadleuaeth 'sgrifennu creadigol...

Y gamp oedd i sgrifennu stori fer wedi ei hysbrydoli gan ein harddangosfa Trysorau: Anturiaethau Archaeolegol. Mi ysbrydolwyd ein hawduron gan Fymi Eifftaidd hynafol, yn ogystal â'r gwpan brydferth, Crial Dolgellau. Cewch weld rhain, a mwy, tan y 30ain o Hydref - felly brysiwch! Bachwch eich tocynnau fan hyn.

Llongyfarchiadau mawr i'r ennillwyr - cliciwch ar deitl y stori i'w lawrlwytho a dechre darllen!

Gwobr Gyntaf:

The Falcon's Curse, Eleanor Thorne

Ail Wobr:

The Chalice of Dolgellau, Theo Singh

Trydydd Wobr:

A Mummy at Night, Amy Wintle

Diolch i bawb a anfonodd stori atom ni, neu sydd wedi galw heibio i gymryd rhan yn ein gweithgareddau celf a chrefft. 'Dyn ni wedi mwynhau eich straeon a'ch darluniau yn arw.

Today we have launched our ESOL (English as Second or Other Language) resources on the museum website. The resources were created by Kate Congdon of Cardiff and the Vale College as part of the HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) redevelopment of St Fagans National History Museum. In my last blog I discussed how we had trialled the resources with around 300 students from Cardiff and the Vale College. As a result of the trial we had very positive feedback and some minor adjustments were able to be made. There are 6 different levels of resources starting with Lower Beginners up to Upper Intermediate. The 6 different levels focus on different buildings across the museum.

There's always a sense of achievement when finishing a project but on this ocassion there is also a feeling of sadness that I have finished working with Cardiff and the Vale college. Working with Kate and the ESOL students from the college has been a pleasure. I want to say a massive thanks to Kate and all the students that took part and I hope we can work together again on future projects.

The resources are freely available to anyone wishing to use them on a visit to St Fagans. The resources are currently PDF worksheets but in the coming months my aim will be to convert these resources into digitial worksheets such as on iBooks.

Helo Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn,

Mae'n bron diwrnod plannu! Ydych chi'n barod? Dyma rai adnoddau defnyddiol i'ch paratoi ar gyfer plannu eich bylbiau a gofalu amdanynt dros y misoedd nesaf! Mae'r rhain hefyd ar wefan Bylbiau'r Gwanwyn i Ysgolion:

Dylech ddarllen y dogfennau hyn:

• Llythyr oddi wrth Athro'r Ardd (cyflwyniad i'r prosiect)

• Mabwysiadu eich Bwlb (trosolwg o’r gofal fydd angen ar eich Bylbiau)

• Plannu eich bylbiau (canllawiau ar gyfer sicrhau arbrawf teg)

A chwblhewch y gweithgareddau hyn:

• Tystysgrif Mabwysiadu Bylbiau

• Creu Labelai Bylbiau

Mae'n bwysig eich bod yn darllen y rhain oherwydd maent yn cynnwys gwybodaeth bwysig! Er enghraifft, ydych chi'n gwybod pa mor ddwfn mae angen i chi blannu eich bylbiau? Neu sut i labelu fel mae’n glir lle mae'r Cennin Pedr a Chrocws wedi eu plannu?

Cofiwch dynnu lluniau o'ch diwrnod plannu i gystadlu yn y Gystadleuaeth Ffotograffydd Diwrnod Plannu!

Cadwch lygad ar dudalen Twitter Athro'r Ardd i weld lluniau o ysgolion eraill:

Pob lwc! Gadewch i ni wybod sut mae'n mynd!

Athro'r Ardd a Bwlb Bychan

This week’s Youth Forum again made me think about museums and what they can do, and how they should be, in a different way.

While looking at art from the First World War had at times been a sensory overload, this time we were trying to understand what it would be like to come to a museum without one specific sense fully intact. How to make museum exhibits more accessible for the partially sighted?

Having always gone to museums with my sight in (near enough) tip top condition, I and probably others tended to presume it was a pretty necessary requirement. If I had trouble seeing the paintings/sculptures/artefacts, then I don’t think I’d want to go. Because if seeing is believing, and I couldn’t see what I was supposed to be learning about, then surely I wouldn’t learn very much and would end up feeling quite left out, even though this obviously shouldn’t be the case.

And it doesn’t have to be! The paintings and sculptures that we looked up were a bit of a mix, ones that more well-known and some that were completely new. Among the ideas that we came up with, for example, involved the painting Bad News, by James Tissot, incorporating the playing of military marching music alongside the painting to evoke the solemnity and sorrow of leaving your family to go off and fight in another corner of the world.

Similarly, for Entrance to Cardiff Docks by Lionel Walden, lighting effects could imitate the lights of the port and the surrounding buildings, with sound effects of ships coming into port, water slapping against the quay, sailors shouting to each other. We could have smells to add to the experience (although maybe not the fish!). Instead of rough sailors accompanying Manet’s San Maggiore by Twilight, it would be the gentle, joyful peel of Italian church bells.

In front of a painting of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, Thomas Apperly and Edward Hamilton by Pompeo Batoni there could be a table with the objects and chairs laid out exactly as they are in the picture, as if the subjects had just finished the sitting and left only a few moments ago. David Nash’s intriguing sculpture Multi-Cut Column could have smaller imitations made of it, that people could actually pass around and touch, something rarely allowed in any exhibit. 

I realise there would be some technical issues in making sure it wasn’t distracting or taking away from the other exhibits, and that maybe not all these ideas will actually become a finished product, but I hope that at least some of them do work out. Because who wouldn’t want to experience this? It might be a bit like theatre, the art being brought to life, stepping into the painting. While I’m definitely thankful I’m not visually impaired in any way, I’m also thankful I took the time to try and understand the experience of those who are. 

  • Our next Audio Description Tour will take place on the 8th of December will be of our Natural History Collections.