Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum
The Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth, was established 43 years ago. Over time it has become a dynamic, community focused museum and in 2018 it was presented the Creative & Cultural Skills Museum & Heritage Skills Award.
The Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum is housed in the Coliseum, a beautiful Grade Two listed Edwardian theatre, built in 1905. Founded in 1974, its core function is to collect, document, preserve and interpret the material evidence of Ceredigion’s past for public benefit.
By doing this they hope to enable people to explore their collections for inspiration, learning and enjoyment.
The museum has recently undergone a significant change, completing a £1.3 million Heritage Lottery Fund redevelopment project, New Approaches, in partnership with the Tourist Information Centre.
Through the project they created a shop, a café and an extensive community engagement programme. As a result the museum has been able to increase their visitor numbers and grow their audiences. They’re particularly focused on engaging with groups that wouldn’t normally have visited the museum.
New Approaches was the first part of a three-stage development project called Transformations. During the next stage they plan to build on their community engagement and work in partnership with local communities.
Museum curator, Carrie Canham, says “We want to build a new ‘open’ storage facility that will give much greater access to the collections for the public. This will also provide more opportunities for skills development in collections care for volunteers.”
The Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum is a Happy Museum Project partner which means that they are future focused.
Carrie said, “We are particularly focused on social, economic and environmental sustainability.
We are particularly focused on social, economic and environmental sustainability.
“We believe that museums have a vital role to play in the changes humanity needs to make to adapt to the challenges ahead of us. These changes will be best made with an understanding of the past.”
As part of this project they partnered with Tir Coed, a local woodland charity, to support craftsmen in the early stages of their traditional woodworking career.
They helped them gain skills in product development, market research and marketing. The creators ended up developing a new product range for the museum shop inspired by the collections.
We asked Carrie what she enjoyed most about her work as the museum’s curator. “No two days are the same!
“There’s always a new opportunity or challenge to get stuck into. The team at the museum are very creative and I enjoy supporting them to deliver ideas that they’ve had after delving into the varied collections.
“We’ve built a circus tent in our temporary exhibitions gallery, made Welsh hats from sand on Borth beach and even had a 300th birthday party for a ‘fire and brimstone’ preacher in Llangeitho!
All of these were created in partnership with local communities, widening our impact and building our audiences.”
Museum & Heritage Skills Award 2018
Carrie said it was “absolutely wonderful” to win the Creative & Cultural Skills Museum & Heritage Skills Award.
“It was an acknowledgement of all the fantastic work the Ceredigion Museum team have done in supporting our volunteers and project participants to build mutually beneficial skills.
I’d like to thank Creative & Cultural Skills for helping to put Ceredigion Museum on the map.
“It’s really raised the profile of the museum too – we’ve had congratulations from our MP, Ben Lake and Assembly Member Elin Jones. We’ve had lots of interest from the press too.
“So, I’d like to thank Creative & Cultural Skills for helping to put Ceredigion Museum on the map!”