Amgueddfa Blog

Regular visitors might recognise Arnie the guide dog. He helped us to develop National Museum Cardiff's audio description tours, visited our Quentin Blake exhibition and even blogged about his Museum adventures! Arnie has recently retired from guiding duties and has handed his harness over to Uri, an enthusiastic young pup just out of training.

Ever the cultured canine, Arnie wanted to make sure Uri gets to sample the best of the National Museum but for a young pup the first visit can be scary. He has written so has written a few words to help Uri - and other guide dogs - take their first steps into the Museum.

Arnie's advice

"The National Museum Cardiff is a very old, impressive building that towers into the sky. It looks similar to other buildings in the area, but you'll know it because it has a big set of steps in front and a giant ball on top called the dome. The road outside is usually busy with traffic so your humans will need your help to cross. On either side of the front steps is some grass. You can 'spend' here but make sure you indicate to your humans that there's a step down to the grass. They might be safer letting you on a long lead and staying on the pavement.

You may feel overwhelmed as you stand at the bottom of the steps looking up at the building. I still get queasy. The stone ceiling looks like it's being held up by stilts (Mum calls them 'Grecian columns'), but I've been assured they're safe. The steps up to the Museum are in two flights, with brass rails zig-zagging across. You will need to guide your owner to the next rail between each flight. If you're feeling adventurous you might want to use the magic glass box that lifts you into the air instead. This is to the left of the steps, through a gate. Once inside, look out for the large silver button to the left - this opens the door.

Once you reach the top of the stairs you will need to guide your owner through the massive brass doorway. Then you will come to a set of glass doors that open automatically. They are much safer for us guide dogs than the old revolving type - less danger of getting squished! Be careful as you enter the Main Hall - your paws may slip on the marble-effect floor. You will hear lots of noises echoing and reverberating because the ceiling is so high. Guide your owner to the reception desk, which is straight ahead across the hall.

And then the best bit. You will soon be hit by a whiff of cakes and biscuits from the coffee shop to your left. Drooling is inevitable, but stay calm. This is the first of many temptations you will encounter. The Museum is full of animals you can't chase, bones you can't eat, and rocks you can't spend a penny on. Enjoy!"  

We wish Arnie the very best in his retirement and look forward to welcoming Uri and other guide dogs to the Museum. Our next Audio Description tour is on the 10th August. Cultured canines and Guide Dogs in training welcome!

Yn ôl ym mis Mawrth roeddwn i a 3 o fy nghyd weithwyr yn lwcus iawn i gael mynd i dref yng nghanol Sweden o’r enw Östersund i ymweld ag amgueddfa awyr agored Jamtli fel rhan o raglen Erasmus+ o’r enw ‘Rhannu a Dysgu’. Bwriad y rhaglen yw cysgodi staff yr Amgueddfa, a rhannu gwybodaeth a sgiliau.

Cyrraedd Östersund

Roedd ymweld ag Östersund ei hun yn brofiad. Roedd blanced drwchus o eira ymhob man a’r llyn wedi rhewi yn gorn. Wni ddim beth mae’r anghenfil chwedlonol druan sy’n byw yn ynddo yn gwneud yn y gaeaf, ond yn ôl sôn mae ganddo fo dwnnel i’r Alban! Roedd pobol yn sglefrio a sgïo ar y llyn, a hyd yn oed cario eu neges adref drwy gerdded yn syth ar ei draws i'r ochor arall! Roedden yn edrych ymlaen at gael gweld yn Amgueddfa.


Treuliom dri diwrnod yn yr Amgueddfa yn cysgodi eu staff. Mae’r Amgueddfa ei hun yn adeilad pren gydag arddangosfa enfawr yn y llawr isaf (gallwch ei gyrraedd gan fynd i lawr llithren wedi ei siapio fel anghenfil y llyn!) Mae arddangosfeydd parhaol yma yn cynnwys y Llychlynwyr a’r tapestri o’r cyfnod, bywyd dyddiol drwy’r oesau a’r Sami, sef poblogaeth frodorol gogledd Sgandinafia.

Y tu allan mae aceri o adeiladau hanesyddol o sawl cyfnod gwahanol. Mae sgwar pentref yno, yn cynnwys siop a banc. Roedd y siop yn eithaf gwahanol i siop Gwalia, er efallai y buasai'r daliwr rholiau papur brown gyda dim llai na 3 rholyn yn rhywbeth i gynorthwy-ydd siop fod yn genfigenus ohono! Roedd y siop yn gwerthu pethau go iawn. Mae’r Amgueddfa yn ceisio dod a’r adeiladau yn fyw gan eu gwneud yn ddefnyddiadwy ble sy’n bosib.

Roeddwn i yn cysgodi gwahanol staff o’r adran Addysg ac yn cymryd rhan mewn ambell weithgaredd fel tywys ceirw fel y gwna’r Sami a defnyddio lasŵ! Roedd Mark Smith a David Davies gyda Mats Maloff yn gwneud gwaith cynnal a chadw a gwaith pren – ac wedi dod yn ffrindiau reit dda dros yr wythnos! Roedd Rhian Morris yn cysgodi'r tîm blaen tŷ yn cael cyfle i gyfarfod yr ymwlewyr fel y ferch fach wedi cyffroi am ael ymarfer ei Saesneg!

Fel Joe, ein hoff adeilad oedd yr adeilad o’r 70au ble cawsom hyd yn oed gêm o dennis bwrdd! Roedd yr adeilad fferm o 1942 yn drawiadol gyda’i leoliad yn ei wneud i deimlo fel ei fod yn wirioneddol bell o bob man yn y goedwig, a phob manylyn yn ei le. Roedd nifer o’r adeiladau yn bren ac wedi eu paentio, gyda sawl tŷ o 1895 hefyd. Blwyddyn bwysig i Östersund gan mai dyma pryd gyrhaeddodd y rheilffordd.

Daethom i gyd yn ôl wedi cael profiad anhygoel. Roedd yn wych cael y cyfle i gyfarfod a threulio amser gyda staff, a chael gweld tu ôl i’r llenni a theimlo fel rhan o’r tîm. Buasai’n dda dod yn ôl yn yr haf pan mae’r adeiladau ar agor, Historieland yn mynd ymlaen a chael cyfle i weld y set rhaglen deledu sydd yn cynnal sioeau i blant! Roedd yn ymweliad yn ysbrydoliaeth i ni gyd, ac rydym wedi mynd yn ôl yn llawn straeon a syniadau.

In parts one and two I discussed the highlights of the galleries, learning department and the carpentry. In this post I will be discussing the highlights of the historic buildings.

Historic Buildings

On the final day of our exchange we had a full tour of the historic buildings with Marina, head of Historyland. The buildings we visited included a 19th century Inn, 18th century timber farm fortification, a 19th century school, a 1940s house and 1970s buildings. The tour also included a chance to look inside a 1950s bus which was used as a mobile shop. The bus reminded me of the van I used to load when I worked in a fruit and veg store back in my teenage years (in the 2000s not the 1950s).

One of the highlights of the tour was the 19th century inn, which was also used as a court house. Underneath the inn was a cellar that was not only used for storage but also to house prisoners before a trial. It would have been a tight squeeze to fit in this tiny space! Another highlight were the desks in the 19th century school that had a sandbox across the top for young children to practice their letters. In our Maestir school we have small sand boxes for this purpose, so it was interesting to see these on a larger scale. 

My favourite area we visited was definitely the 1970s. This area included a country shack for hippies to escape the hustle and bustle of the modern world and a luxury family villa. Both buildings showed how immersive Historyland must be when it’s in action. It was like walking back in time into someone’s home. The buildings were full of clothes, furniture and working 70s technology. You were free to fully explore and even look inside the drawers and cupboards which were full of bits and bobs from the 70s. Each room of the villa was a different world to explore. In the parents room there were clothes and wigs, in the children’s room there were toys, in the teenage girl’s room there were drawings of her favourite pop stars, and in the teenage boy’s room there was even a 1970s adult magazine hidden away in a drawer! I can’t imagine a British museum being so risqué!

Overall experience

Overall it was a great experience to see another open air museum in action and to pick up some tips on making the visitor experience more interactive. All the staff were very friendly and informative and the people we met in Östersund were all very friendly and courteous. I look forward to an opportunity to return to Sweden and I would definitely like to see Historyland in full swing.

On 29th July, we are going to take part in an international event to support tiger conservation across the world.

You may be shocked to realize that we have lost 97% of all wild tigers. Worldwide, tigers are on the brink of extinction with many species listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered. The goal of the day is to raise public awareness of tiger conservation issues, and to work to find a way to halt their rapid decline. This is an annual event that we will be taking part in for the first time.  The day was first celebrated in 2010 following the Tiger Summit held in St. Petersburg.

Many international organisations will be involved in events across the globe, working towards increasing the numbers of tigers in the wild. So what will be happening at the museum on international tiger day?

The star of the show will be Bryn, a most handsome Sumatran Tiger. Bryn came to the museum in 2016 after spending his life at the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay. You can find out more about him by reading my last blog. Bryn will only be on display for this one day, so do not miss this opportunity to come and see him up close.

Helping us learn more about Bryn will be the ever-wonderful Dr Rhys Jones. Lecturer, reptile specialist, jungle man and wildlife welfare warrior, Rhys has worked with many charities in conserving and rescuing endangered and exotic animals.

We are especially pleased to announce that the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will be joining us, one of the key charities involved in conservation efforts across the globe. WWF work closely with governments around the world to provide support for surveying and protecting tigers and have launched Tx2. An ambitious conservation project aiming to double the number of tigers in the wild by 2022 – the next Chinese year of the tiger.

I am also incredibly excited to announce that the fabulous Nicola Davies (@nicolakidsbooks) will be with us running big cat activities throughout the day. Nicola is a wonderful children’s author with an infectious enthusiasm for animals and the natural world. Join her for storytelling sessions and rhyming activities (bookable on the day).

There will also be drop-in activities throughout the day so there is plenty to keep you and your family busy. We can't wait to see you. You can find out more on our Facebook event page, or What’s On.

You can follow global tiger events on social media using a range of hashtags: #doubletigers, #iprotectTigers, #TigersForever, #3890tigers.

If you want to find out more about what is being done to protect tigers, here are some useful webpages: Project Tiger, Tigers ForeverSave the Tiger fund, WildTeam & Save Tigers Now.  

There are numerous hash tags celebrating the natural world on Twitter. However, #FossilFriday remains one of our favourites. Each week we showcase the wonderful paleontological collections that are housed at National Museum Cardiff as well as the research that goes on every day behind the scenes.

We not read some of our latest #FossilFriday Tweets and discover more about the fascinating world of fossils