National Museums Wales is a national body in Wales, which has several different functions in the museum industry. The National Museums Wales website is a substantial resource for finding out more about their work. Here, you can find out details of the research projects they are carrying out, the online collections that are available to view, alongside many helpful articles on art, social history, industry, geology, and archaeology.
Rhagor is their website which features details of the national collections they hold. You can find out more information and the stories behind important mineral collections, miniature paintings, artefacts relating to Welsh life that could be dated from the caveman era, right up until the industrial revolution. There is a wealth of information there, but you don’t have to sit and read off a computer screen, as National Museums Wales also built, or has taken over a host of visitor attractions and museums across Wales as well. Attractions include the National Wool Museum in the Cambrian Mills, the National Slate Museum in Llyn Padarn, and the National Waterfront Museum. Here’s a rundown of a few of the other attractions under the National Museums Wales Umbrella.
National Museum Cardiff: Opened in 1927, this museum is located in Cardiff’s striking Civic Centre, with free admission giving you access to art, archaeology, and geology collections. Permanent exhibitions include ‘Origins: In Search Of Early Wales’ in the archaeology gallery, which tells many a tale of Welsh ancestors, and ‘Evolution Of Wales’, which features The Big Bang, Dinosaurs, and woolly mammoths. There are also exhibits dedicated to natural history, a hands-on discovery centre, and temporary art exhibits.
St Fagans: Set in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, the open air museum has been welcoming visitors since 1948. The museum site houses original buildings from different historical periods. Back this up with traditional crafts and activities for all the family, native breeds of livestock, and exhibition space covering costumes, daily life, and traditional farming and you have a first class ‘living history’ attraction. This is the place to visit if you want to celebrate Welsh traditions.
The Big Pit: This attraction has a reputation for being one of the UK’s leading mining museums, and is set in a real coal mine. The attraction offers visitors underground tours, exhibitions in colliery buildings and the Pithead baths, and a virtual mining exhibit. A living reminder of what life was like in the coal industry, in a unique position as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
National Roman Legion Museum: The site features the ruins of a Roman fortress called Caerleon, which include an amphitheatre, fortress baths, and Roman legionary barracks. These remains, a replica Roman garden, and a museum space are housed on the site. In the museum you can view the oldest recorded piece of writing in Wales, a gemstone collection, Roman artefacts, and lots of information about the Romans, and why they are an important part of our history.