Amgueddfa Cymru

Hafan

Exactly 65 years ago, during the summer months of 1951, there would have been much excitement in the air at St Fagans.

It was the year of the Festival of Britain, and the Welsh Folk Museum as it was known then, had a significant role to play in the festivities.

The Festival of Britain was a national exhibition held throughout the United Kingdom in the summer of 1951, organised to mark the centenary of the Great Exhibition 1851. Its purpose was to display the British contribution to civilisation - past, present, future, in all the arts, science and industrial design. Nearly all the leading British designers and architects of the time were involved in the festival.

But the Festival of Britain was also considered as a moment of light relief for a nation recovering from war. The official festival booklet described the festivities as 'A Tonic to the Nation’.

The Festival of Britain’s committee invited the Welsh Folk Museum to organise a programme of events and exhibitions at St. Fagans as part of the festival, to showcase the best of Wales.

The special programme ran throughout the months of July and August in 1951, and consisted of three concerts, a series of four lectures, two performances of the play Blodeuwedd, written by Saunders Lewis, seven exhibitions of folk dancing, together with two national exhibitions of Welsh rural crafts and Welsh quilting.

At the same time the Committee provided the money necessary to re-erect the Stryd Lydan barn and the Esgair Moel woollen factory as permanent memorials of the Festival. Shortly afterwards the Committee took the decision to provide additional money for the re-erection of a third building, the Gower farmhouse, Kennixton. The total contribution for the three buildings was £6,150. 

Craft was a vital element of the festivities at St Fagans. The museum employed extra staff and craftsmen during these months to provide daily live craft exhibits and demonstrations, including a wood turner from Abercych, Pembrokeshire, along with his apprentice and a basket-maker, from Caeo, Carmarthenshire.

A small ‘Welsh Rural Crafts’ exhibition went on display, including examples of pottery, iron work, textiles, leather work and furniture. However, the most important and prominent event of the entire festival at St Fagans was the Welsh Quilting exhibition, where competitions and demonstrations formed the major part of the activity.

The Western Mail reported in Feburary 1951 that;

This exhibition will undoubtedly be the largest most comprehensive and the most interesting of its kind ever staged in the Principality. Substantial prizes and certificates of merit will be awarded to successful candidates and it will undoubtedly provide an excellent opportunity for Welsh quilters to show our overseas visitors that they still possess the skill of their forebears in this one remaining traditional needlecraft.

65 years later, there is excitement and anticipation in the air again at St Fagans, as we look forward to a new and transformed museum - once more, showcasing Wales as a nation with its own identity on the world stage #MakingHistory

 

This week we welcomed the lovely Croeso Club from Caerphilly to St Fagans. They are an informal community group set up by a local resident, Sandra Hardacre, almost ten years ago. The group aims to support community members to learn new skills, be sociable with others and go on new adventures.

Over the last 6 weeks they have been working with Groundwork Cymru to help to pilot a new project called Go Green 4 Health, which is all about inspiring, supporting and encouraging individuals to use the outdoors to be more active. Each session focuses on a different aspect of using the outdoors for activity, such as ‘the benefits to being outdoors’, ‘overcoming barriers’ and ‘’staying safe’.

For their last walk the group members had asked if they could come to St Fagans, so Flik Walls, project coorindator, got in touch with us at the Museum and we set it up.

We planned a 30 minute walk, taking in some of the key buildings at St Fagans such as Nant Wallter Cottage, Rhyd-y-Car Terrace Houses and the Oakdale Workmen's Institute, of which some of the ladies had very fond memories.

We also made sure there was plenty of time to stop for a coffee and piece of cake on our way around. This was a perfect chance for the ladies to talk about their experiences of being part of the Go Green 4 Health project and share their thoughts and feedback with myself, the Groundwork Team and the project evaluator Katy Marrin. It was also a lovely opportunity for the group to share poems some of them had written about their journey together. Here's a lovely poem written by Lyn:

Go Green 4 Health Poem

Two lovely people came to coax us all to walk,

To ramble and enjoy ourselves and also have a talk.

 

We played walking bingo, I’m sure it was a fix,

Next we all said poems that was a real mix.

 

A lovely trip to Trelewis Park, fresh air and loads of rests,

Caerphilly Castle we went next, soaked through right to our vests.

 

And what about walking football that we were meant to play,

They said there was some cheating, ‘we were robbed’ I heard them say.

 

The last walk sadly to St Fagan’s, a fab day out for all,

So now the Croeso Club love walking, they’ve really had a ball.

 

We are really looking forward to developing a link with Groundwork Cymru so we can continue to work together on similar projects in the future. Follow this blog for updates and to find out how it's all going.

 

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.

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

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.

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

#rainbow_toolbar.safari_trick
{
	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 .colour_block.blue { background-color: #0000ff; }
#rainbow_toolbar .colour_block.green { background-color: #00ff00; }
#rainbow_toolbar .colour_block.yellow { background-color: #ffff00; }
#rainbow_toolbar .colour_block.orange { background-color: #ff7f00; }
#rainbow_toolbar .colour_block.red { 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) {
        $(window).scrollTop(150);
    }
});
$(window).scrollTop(50);

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.

::-webkit-scrollbar
{ 
    visibility: hidden; 
    display: none;
}
				
#content-frame
{
	background-color: #e4e4e4;
	height: 100vh;
	width: 100vw;
	padding: 0;
	border: 0;
	overflow-y: scroll;
}
					
#content-frame::-webkit-scrollbar
{ 
	display: initial;
	visibility: visible;
	background: #f4f4f4;
	color: #ffffff;
}
		
#content-frame::-webkit-scrollbar-track
{
	background-color: #f4f4f4;
	border-radius: 8px;
}
		
#content-frame::-webkit-scrollbar-thumb
{
	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 ) {
		e.preventDefault();
	}
}, 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.

In September 2016 Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales will again be participating in Open Doors, an event organised by Cadw (the Welsh Government’s historic environment service). The idea behind the event is to offer people the opportunity to visit a variety of sites important to the culture and history of Wales. The highlight of the event is the opportunity to visit places that are not normally, or are infrequently, open to the public.

The National Collections Centre, Nantgarw, is part of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, and houses thousands of interesting and important objects that are not on display. Although not normally open to the general public we have always offered access to researchers, and also to various groups and societies. Staff at the National Collections Centre have always seen the importance of opening up the site to allow visitors access to view some of these objects and to see the work that is carried out by staff on site.

We are always looking for new ways to get visitors on site, to encourage people to learn about what we do, and provide more access to the collections in store. Therefore we have decided to repeat last year’s success and get involved in Open Doors again. This year we will be open on two days as part of Open Doors, on Wednesday 7th September and Thursday 29th September 2016. There will be five tours on each day at 10.00, 11.00, 12.00, 2.00 and 3.00. Each tour will last about 45 minutes and visitors will be able to take a closer look at some of the collections held on site, and find out about the work of staff based here.

Booking is essential for these tours. Please ring us on 029 2057 3560 or 029 2057 3583 to book a place, or find out further information. You can also email us on industry@museumwales.ac.uk

Further details can be found on the Cadw website, as well as details of all other places open as part of Open Doors.

We hope as many people as possible will be able to enjoy the tours and be able to see some of the amazing objects preserved by Amgueddfa Cymru for the people of Wales.

Over the summer we are working with ACE Action Ely Caerau (Communities First) to put together a series of fun and accessible family workshops and activities for local families. The programme was developed ahead of time with ACE and includes sessions such as:

Traditional Toys

Wash Day with Beti Bwt

Rag Rug Making

Life in the Iron Age

Pond Dipping

Pottery

So far we have had lots of fun making rag rugs, learning about and playing with traditional toys, discovering what life was like for our ancestors living in the Iron Age and experiencing what it was like to go to school in Victorian Wales.

 

Here’s a snap shot of some of the feedback from the children and parents who have come along

“I love it here and I had fun.”

“Had a really enjoyable afternoon, learning to make rag rugs. Very interesting. Will definitely carry this on. Thank you to all concerned.”

“I really enjoyed playing with the toys.”

“I've learnt lots!”

"I thought it was very fun, but I would not want to go to school in Victoria times."

There are still lots more sessions to come so follow this blog to learn how the rest of the summer goes!

This week we have also started a new programme of exciting storytelling, reading and activity workshops with Cardiff Libraries. These are open to everyone and will be taking place on Monday’s and Wednesday’s at St Fagans until 24th August so why not come along next time!

If you are interested in taking part in other similar family activities and events at St Fagans over the summer there are lots of opportunities to get involved, just check our What’s On guide for more information.