St Fagans National Museum of History unveils £30m redevelopment

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 24.10.2018
Cardiff museum opens new galleries and outdoor sites
St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff has unveiled the final phase of its six-year, £30m redevelopment.

The project included the renovation of the museum’s main entrance building, the creation of new spaces for learning and collections research in the Weston Centre for Learning, and new galleries of social history, archaeology and traditional craft-making.

Schoolchildren will be able to have sleepovers in Llys Llywelyn, a medieval prince’s court based on archaeological evidence from Llys Rhosyr on Anglesey, which aims to offer visitors a window into 13th century royal Welsh life.

A number of new outdoor sites have been constructed, including Bryn Eryr, an Iron Age farmstead built by volunteers, which is based on an archaeological site from the time of the Roman conquest of Britain.

There’s also a new play area inspired by the historic buildings at St Fagans and designed by artist Nils Norman, and a Bronze Age burial monument that was developed in collaboration with local secondary schools.

“St Fagans has long been Wales’ most popular heritage attraction and holds a special place in the hearts of the people of Wales," said David Anderson, the director-general of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales (NMW), which operates the site.

"This is because St Fagans is a people’s museum, exploring history through everyday lives. We believe we have preserved everything that people love about St Fagans, but introduced important new dimensions.
 
“The new St Fagans has been created through the practical help and generosity of many people from Wales and beyond.”

The project was funded by a £11.5m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the largest ever awarded in Wales, as well as a £7m grant from the Welsh government. Additional funding came from NMW and private donations.

More than 3,000 volunteers worked on the redevelopment, as well as community organisations, street charities and local groups from all over Wales.  

Anderson said: “We see this not as a project but as a way of working for the whole organisation, based on social justice and participation, which we will sustain and develop in the years ahead. It is the beginning of a new era at St Fagans and all of Wales’ national museums.”

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