IT'S THE WEEKEND: The priceless present of Celtic past
1:20pm Saturday 14th September 2013 in News
WALES’ most popular heritage attraction, the Museum of Welsh Life, at St Fagans, Cardiff, has a wealth of entertainment to keep children fascinated all year long.
A firm favourite with families over the past 60 years, it has more than 400 events to engage them, ranging from art to re-enactments.
St Fagans prides itself on being a living museum, with craftsmen demonstrating traditional skills in their workshops, and their produce is usually on sale.
Native breeds of livestock live in the fields and farmyard, and farming tasks take place daily.
The 18th-century smithy, where horses were shod, household items made and mended, and metal tyres put on wagon wheels, amazes visitors, along with the resident blacksmith.
There is a woollen mill, which produces traditional shawls and Welsh carthenni, or blankets, and a corn mill, built to convert corn into flour, which can be seen in motion.
These are just some of the attractions, and things are only going to get better.
The National History Museum has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Welsh Government to completely transform the visitor experience.
Over the next five years, developments include a new entrance hall and visitor facilities, new gallery spaces and historic buildings, including a medieval Welsh prince’s hall.
St Fagans entices 650,000 visitors through its doors each year, a figure which has doubled since free admission was introduced in 2001.
Marketing officer Iwan Llwyd said: “We are an established museum which opened in 1948 so we have had several generations of children coming to see us. For local people St Fagans is a place to have a familiar experience.
“We have over 400 events every year, ranging from crafts to face painting, craft demonstrations, historical events, falconry, archery; there’s a massive range of activities.”
In the coming months there is plenty to keep children occupied, including a Hallowe’en arts cart, a drop-in activity available from October 26 until November 3.
Children can engage in spooky activities, while ‘Meet Father Christmas and friends,’ for four- 12-year-olds is expected to bring festive cheer.
Every Saturday and Sunday from November 30 until December 22, parents can pay £12 for their children to meet Santa and Mother Christmas, followed by a tea party with elves serving the food.
Plans are in the pipeline for sustainability officer Hywel Couch to run an event on November 1, looking at how people used to cook, keep warm and build houses, with a view to learning from those experiences to help protect the planet in future years.
Mr Llwyd, who is delighted to have the job of promoting the most popular of the seven properties under the National Musuem Wales banner, said: “We support the Kids in Museums manifesto, 20 ways to make a visit family friendly. We agree to try and do things which will appeal to kids.
“It’s a great place to come to let children off the lead, so to speak, it’s a huge open- air environment. I think the buildings appeal to children and the learning element of all aspects of history. We often see children bringing their parents here rather than the other way round.”
st fagans was recently voted one of the best free places to go in south east wales by netmums.com.
mr llwyd said children are asked for their feedback, most recently in an exhibition about ‘belonging.’ catering is designed to be family friendly and extra events take place over the holidays.
For more information, see www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/stfagans/
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