English

The Voices from the Archives series is based on recordings in the Oral History Archive at St Fagans National History Museum. Connected to the agricultural activities, demonstrations and displays at the Museum - they provide an insight into the lives and histories of farming people, the agricultural practices in the past, how they developed into contemporary agriculture.

Lambing in Pembrokeshire, 1984

March is lambing time at Llwyn-yr-eos Farm, the Museum’s working farm. Lambing in the past and present was described by Richard James, Portfield Gate, Pembrokeshire, south west Wales, in a recording made in 1984. Aged 79, he recalled lambing in an interview about his life in farming, but also described how it was being done on a farm in the area in the year of the interview. The following short clips are from the recording.

Pembrokeshire born and bred, Richard James had farmed at Lambston Sutton in the south west of the county. It stood between the large county town of Haverfordwest a few miles to the east, and the coastline of St Bride’s Bay to the west. The lowland coastal areas, warmer climate and lower rainfall made agriculture more diverse than in many other parts of Wales, with the keeping cattle and sheep and the growing of early potatoes and cereal crops. The coastal areas could be exposed to the winds and rain from the Atlantic Ocean though, and weather conditions could strongly influence lambing, to which Richard James refers in the first clip:

Richard James, Portfield Gate, Sir Benfro

When lambing was to take place was decided by when the ewes were put to the rams. Up until then the rams on the farm had to be kept separate from the sheep. It was always a concern that rams might break through a poor fence or hedge and cause lambing to start at the wrong time. Also, a ram of poorer quality or a different breed from another flock could also result in poorer quality lambs and reduced income. After mating, a ewe is pregnant for between 142 and 152 days, approximately five months or slightly shorter.

In this clip, Richard James describes at what time of year lambing took place on a local farm, and how it was being done by a farmer using a former aircraft hangar.

Richard James, Portfield Gate, Sir Benfro

The final clip is about working the day and night shifts:

Richard James, Portfield Gate, Sir Benfro

 

A New Big Cat for Amgueddfa Cymru

We are very pleased to announce that we have a new arrival! Bryn the Sumatran Tiger.

He spent his life at The Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay and was one of its most iconic residents. In his lifetime he gave pleasure to all of the zoo’s visitors, helping to raise the profile of the plight of his species, as Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered. He had a relaxed and amiable personality and so was a key part of The Welsh Mountain Zoo’s 'Keeper for the Day' and 'Animal Encounter' experiences. He sadly died of natural causes in August 2016 at the grand age of 17, which is pretty good for a tiger. He has been portrayed in a natural walking position as if prowling through the jungle looking for prey. He certainly gave our security staff a few frights when he arrived! Standing by him you get a real feeling of the beauty and power of these amazing animals.

Sumatran Tigers only live on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and are the subject of intensive worldwide conservation efforts to save the species. Their numbers have declined drastically over recent years despite these efforts and it is estimated that less than 400-500 tigers remain in the wild. Habitat loss, illegal trade and lack of food have all contributed to this decline. Millions of acres of their forest habitat are cut down every year to make way for intense crop plantations such as palm oil and acacia. This means there is less prey for them to hunt, and that tiger populations have become fragmented, further risking the recovery of the species. The illegal trade in tiger parts is still common despite full national and international protection and tiger parts are openly sold on the island.

But why have a Sumatran Tiger in a Welsh museum? Why have stuffed animals at all? This is a really common question that we are asked at the museum. Museums play an important role as storehouses for biodiversity, keeping a record of a species for posterity. For example we have extinct animals like the Tasmanian Wolf and Great Auk in our collections, we even have a Dodo skeleton. With wild Sumatran tiger numbers as low as they are, it is pertinent now more than ever, to keep a record of this species.

Often museums are one of the first places that people are able to encounter wildlife up close. This puts us in a fantastic position to talk about threatened wildlife, not just abroad, but on our own doorstep. Remember, it is not just exotic species in far-flung places that are in trouble. So we use these iconic specimens to grab your attention and talk about a whole range of issues affecting wildlife around the globe. We want to make our visitors more aware of the natural world around them and to empower them to take a more active role in both enjoying and preserving it.

Bryn will feature at our International Tiger Day on July 29th 2017, so you will have the opportunity to come and see this enigmatic creature up close. So come along, take part in some activities, learn more about what museums do with their collections and what you can do to help tigers like Bryn get off the endangered list!

You can learn more about Sumatran Tigers and what the WWF are doing to protect them here.

You can learn more about protecting British wildlife by looking on The Wildlife Trust website, and RSPB website.

You can learn more about the Vertebrate collections at the museum here.

 

 

We wrote of dust before, for example here and here. The museum is like your home, dust gathers everywhere. Unlike my own house though, the museum is very, very big. The museum's dust problems are correspondingly large.

Last year a student from Cardiff University, Stefan Jarvis, undertook a dust monitoring project in the museum. Stefan was studying for an MSc in Care of Collections, which is a subject very close to my heart. Stefan is also the author of one of our guest blogs. Stefan placed a large number of dust traps around the museum building: in stores and exhibition galleries. You may be familiar with some of the galleries he investigated: our Geology gallery with the dinosaurs, the current “Wriggle” exhibition on worms, the Whale gallery and the Organ gallery where we display some of the largest paintings in the museum.

Collecting dust is really easy: prepare a sampler. Leave it out in a suitable location. Wait. For. Four. Weeks.

Once Stefan had gathered some dust he analysed the samples: he identified each particle under the microscope and determined where they all came from. This is where things started getting really interesting. For while undertaking scientific investigations are often laborious and involves much routine work, the results are often extremely illuminating.

This is what Stefan found:

  • More dust accumulates in areas of high traffic (i.e., many people walking past).
  • More dust accumulates at low levels (the closer you get to floor level the more dust you will find).
  • Dust composition differs between spaces. For example, most dust fibres in a library store are paper fibres, while most fibres in public galleries are textile fibres, hair and skin.
  • We found biscuit crumbs on the dust samplers in two galleries. This indicates that food was being consumed in these galleries.

Now, we love having people in the museum. In fact we undertake some of our collection care work during museum opening hours so that you can see what we are up to a lot of the time. Therefore, we are happy to accept that visitors always leave us a little reminder that they have been, in the form of a few dust particles. You can feel a ‘but’ coming on: but we do not encourage the eating of biscuits (or any other foodstuffs) in our galleries. Eating food in our galleries bears the risk of small amounts of food ending up on the floor, in displays, behind cupboards - or, as part of dust. Food encourages the spread of pest insects which, once they have eaten all the available biscuit crumbs, then start munching our collections. This is not something we endorse, because we try to preserve our collections for you to enjoy.

This means you can actually help us preserve the collections - by not eating in the galleries. We will be doing more work on this in the near future, by encouraging visitors to consume food in our fabulous restaurant or cosy cafe, not in galleries. In the meantime, we really do appreciate your cooperation and understanding for our no-food-in-galleries policy.

Find out more about Care of Collections at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales here.

 

 

 

Ym Medi 2017 bydd Institiwt y Gweithwyr Oakdale yn dathlu ei gan-mlwyddiant. Wedi ei adeiladu yn ystod y Rhyfel Byd Cyntaf, mi roedd unwaith yn ganolbwynt gymdeithasol bwysig i drigolion pentref Oakdale. Symudwyd yr adeilad i’r Amgueddfa yn 1989 ac i nodi penblwydd yr adeilad eleni, mae’r Amgueddfa wedi lawnsio prosiect #Oakdale100. Bwriad y prosiect yw ail-ddehongli’r adeilad a’i ddod yn fyw unwaith eto gyda lleisiau’r gymuned.

Fel rhan o’r gwaith paratoi, mae staff yr Amgueddfa wedi ail-ymweld ag archifau’r adeilad, gan dynnu ynghyd ffotograffau, cyfweliadau hanes llafar a gwrthrychau perthnasol. Dwi wedi bod yn edrych ar y casgliad ffotograffau yn benodol. Gyda chymorth yr Adran Ffotograffiaeth, rydym wedi digideiddio cannoedd o ddelweddau a oedd gynt ar gael ar ffurf negatifau yn unig. Mae’r ffotograffau hyn yn dangos ystod y digwyddiadau ar gweithgareddau a oedd yn cael eu cynnal yn y Stiwt – o ymweliad y Tywysog Albert yn 1920 i berfformiadau dramatig y 50au. Maen nhw hefyd yn dogfennu pensaerniaeth yr adaeilad a manylion yr ystafelloedd mewnol. Fy hoff lun i yw hwnnw o’r bachgen yn ei arddegau yn pori silffoedd y llyfrgell.

Yn ogystal â digideiddio’r deunydd sydd eisoes yng nghasgliad yr Amgueddfa, rydym hefyd wedi bod yn brysur yn ymgysylltu gyda’r gymuned yn Oakdale heddiw. Llynedd cynhaliwyd gweithdy galw-heibio yn y pentref i annog trigolion yr ardal i rannu storiau ac i sganio eu ffotograffau ar gyfer archif yr Amgueddfa a Casgliad y Werin.

Yn ddiweddar, rydym hefyd wedi agor tudalen Facebook ar gyfer y prosiect ac mae’r ymateb wedi bod yn anghygoel! Mae llu o bobl wedi cyfrannu eu hatgofion, gadael sylwadau a rhannu delweddau ar y dudalen. Yn ddi-os, mae Facebook yn adnodd gwych i ail-gysylltu gyda’r gymuned.

Os oes gennych unrhyw storiau neu ffotograffau sy’n gysylltiedig â Stiwt Oakdale, cysylltwch â ni. Byddem wrth ein boddau i weld unrhyw ffotograffau o bartion neu gigs yn y Stiwt yn ystod y 1960au-80au.

Helo Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn,

Diolch i’r ysgolion sef wedi rhannu ei chofnodion blodau! Cofiwch i wneud yn siŵr bod y dyddiad yn gywir a bod taldra'r planhigyn wedi ei chofnodi yn filimedrau. Rydym wedi cael cofnodion yn dweud bod planhigion wedi blodeuo ym mis Ebrill a hefo disgrifiadau am grocws a chennin pedr anhygoel o fyr!

Os ydych yn gweld bod eich cofnodion angen ei chywiro, yna yrrwch rhai newydd i mewn hefo esboniad o hyn yn y bwlch sylwadau.

Rwyf wedi mwynhau darllen y sylwadau hefo’r cofnodion tywydd a blodau dros y pythefnos diwethaf. Rwyf wedi atodi rhai o’r sylwadau isod. Daeth cwestiwn diddorol o Ysgol Stanford in the Vale, yn gofyn a oes rhaid cofnodi pob blodyn i’r wefan os mae’r dyddiad a’r taldra'r un peth? Mae’n bwysig i rannu’r cofnodion i gyd, oherwydd mae'r nifer o blanhigion sydd yn blodeuo ar ddyddiad unigol a’r taldra'r planhigion yn effeithio'r canlyniadau.

I weithio allan taldra cymedrig eich ysgol ar gyfer y crocws a’r cennin pedr, adiwch bob taldra o’r crocws neu’r cennin peder, a rhannwch hefo'r nifer o gofnodion. Felly os oes genych deg cofnodion o daldra i’r crocws, adiwch y rhain at ei gilydd a rhannwch hefo deg i gael y rhif cymedrig.

Os oes gennych un blodyn hefo taldra o 200mm ac un blodyn hefo taldra o 350mm, fydd y rhif cymedrig yn 275mm. Ond, os oes gennych un blodyn hefo taldra o 200mm a deg hefo taldra o 350mm fydd y rhif cymedrig yn 341mm. Dyma pam mae’n bwysig i gofnodi pob cofnod blodau.

Mae pob cofnod blodau yn bwysig ac yn cael effaith ar y canlyniadau. Os nad yw eich planhigyn wedi tyfu erbyn diwedd mis Mawrth, plîs wnewch gofnod data heb ddyddiad na thaldra ac esboniwch pam yn y bwlch sylwadau. Os mae eich planhigyn yn tyfu, ond ddim yn blodeuo erbyn diwedd mis Mawrth, yna plîs cofnodwch daldra'r planhigyn, heb ddyddiad blodeuo, ac esboniwch hyn yn y bwlch sylwadau.

Cadwch y cwestiynau yn dod Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn! Mae 'na nifer o adnoddau ar y wefan i helpu hefo’r prosiect. Unwaith mae eich planhigyn wedi blodeuo, fedrwch greu llun ohono a defnyddio hyn i labelu'r rhannau o’r planhigyn! Hoffwn weld ffotograff o rain, a wnâi rhannu pob un sy’n cael ei yrru ata i ar fy blog nesaf!

Daliwch ati gyda’r gwaith called Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn,

Athro’r Ardd

 

Eich sylwadau:

We’ve had lots of lovely comments about your plants, sent in with both weather and flower data:

Ysgol Y Wern: Mae'r bylbiau i gyd wedi egnio ac mae sawl blodyn crocws i'w weld!! Mae'r bylbiau ddirgel yn edrych yn diddorol iawn gyda streipiau ar y ddail!

Ysgol Pennant: Mi roedd yn hwyl iawn i tyfu crocws a i weld o.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: 17 daffodils have all flowered on the same day! Do we still have to enter individual flowers? They all measure the same height! Regards R.

Professor Plant: Hi Stanford in the Vale, I’ve answered your question in detail above as it was the star comment this week! It’s a very good question, but all of the individual flower records are important and can help us to create a bigger picture of the results! I have a special task for you this week, why not work out your school’s average flowering date for this year and last year, and let me know whether your plants flowered earlier or later on average this year! There’s a fun game on BBC Bitesize to help you with Mode, Median, Mean and Range! http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/maths/data/mode_median_mean_range/play/

St Robert's R.C Primary School: I am so glad my bulb has flowered.

St Mary's Primary School: Our first crocus flower has opened. We are all really excited.

Ellel St John's CE Primary School: They've grown quite quickly and are just opening.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: We will send photographs later today. The crocus have a beautiful radiant deep purple colour.

Rougemont Junior School: Our Crocus are flowering and our Daffodils are growing well. We hope it will be sunny tomorrow. I think we are in luck!!!

Tonyrefail Primary School: Hi Professor Plant most of our plants have grown. We are measuring them. Nine of are crocuses have flowered.

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School: We had a couple of frosty mornings this week but our crocus plants are still flowering and all our daffodils have buds on them now.

Beulah School: A lot of crocuses have flowered but none of the daffodils have yet.

Boston West Academy: 2 daffodils have grown

Ysgol Deganwy: all of the plants came out the soil yay!

Rougemont Junior School: our crocus is growing well but needs sunshine and warmth to open its flowers.

Barmston Village Primary School: The bulbs are starting to grow!

Loch Primary School: The plants have grown quite a lot!

Ysgol Deganwy: All of the bulbs have come up from the soil.

Broad Haven Primary School: Our daffodils and crocus now have leaves but no flowers yet.

Loch Primary School: We are happy to see our plants growing!

Tonyrefail Primary School: Our Crocuses have also started to grow.

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School: We were back into school on Tuesday. We had a surprise as J's crocus had blossomed and a lot of us have noticed our plants have grown buds so we are all on stand-by to record our blooms too. Storm Doris came on Thursday so we didn't catch all the rain as most of it was sideways! Luckily none of our bulb pots were blown over.

Professor Plant: Fantastic Bulb Buddies, I'm glad to hear you are watching your plants so carefully! Don't worry about sideways rain as the rain gauge is designed to collect a sample of rainfall. Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

 

We’ve had lots of insightful comments about the weather, and many of you commented on storm Doris. More information on storm Doris can be found here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/barometer/uk-storm-centre/storm-doris

St Robert's R.C Primary School: Storm Doris wedi chwythu y brigau oddiar y coed ar dydd iau.

Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Yn wlyb iawn ar Dydd Llyn ond wedyn yn mynd yn sych.

Ysgol Y Wern: Oer iawn, iawn wythnos yma. Wedi bwrw eira ar ddydd Gwener.

Carnbroe Primary School: We had lots of rain on Tuesday and we were slipping about the garden while we were checking on our plants. Still no flowering yet. Nearly everyone's bulb has begun to show shoots. C's bulb has not come through the soil yet.

Professor Plant: Ooo be careful if the ground is slippery Bulb Buddies! I hope C’s plants grow, but if they haven’t grown by 31st March please let me know by entering a flower record but leaving the date and height blank. It’s as important to record this as it is flower records!

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Hello, this week has been quite chilly and on Monday it was icy. It has been rainy to. Bye Bye.

Rougemont Junior School: It's going well. Hopefully it will be sunny tomorrow.

Arkholme CE Primary School: This week the Temperature has gone down quite a bit on Thursday. And there was not a lot of rain on Friday and Wednesday are bulbs are starting to grow so we are quite pleased. Thank you very much.

Garstang St. Thomas' CE Primary School: It’s been getting colder this week but our bulbs are still growing.

Darran Park Primary: The temperature has been quite consistent over the week. There has been a drop in the amount of rainfall this week.

Henllys CIW Primary: It has been snowy a little bit this morning.

Staining C of E Primary School: There has not been much rain during the second part of the week. It has been a bit warmer as well. There was some rain on Monday and Tuesday.

Arkholme CE Primary School: This week was a very dull and wet week. There was a little bit of growth from the bulbs that we planted. It was also a very cold week on Friday the sun came out and the temperature rised. Best wishes.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Hello, On monday it was teacher training day so we couldn't record it. But this week it has been hot and cold. On Thursday we had storm Doris so it was very cold. Bye,bye.

Ysgol Rhostyllen: This is fun.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: I liked doing the temperature because it was fun.

Broad Haven Primary School: Yr 5 are in LLangrannog this week so we are recording the weather. Rain and gales at the end of the week.

Professor Plant: Thank you for filling in Bulb Buddies, I hope you enjoyed the project! Good work.