A homage to Welsh national identity
Wales is a proud nation – and rightly so. From Dylan Thomas to Lloyd George, Lawrence of Arabia to Shirley Bassey, this small country has birthed prime ministers, poets, war heroes and pop superstars. Its mines have fuelled revolutions and its sports teams have gone on to dominate the world. Despite centuries of English control, the Welsh language is still spoken up and down the country and its culture is as strong as ever.
St Fagans, Wales’s national history museum, is described as the living, breathing embodiment of Welsh culture and identity. The open-air museum is the country’s most visited attraction with over 600,000 visitors every year. It is rooted in the stories of the everyday people, stretching back 250,000 years, who have made Wales what it is today.
Explore, record, shape and share the Welsh story
The 100-acre site, set in the grounds of a castle, consists of more than 40 historic buildings. Some are historic objects in their own right; others are exhibition spaces. We worked with the museum team to reimagine three of its new galleries as part of a £30 million redevelopment project, the biggest transformation for St Fagans since it was founded in 1948.
The Life Is… Gallery is a 3D scrapbook of Welsh social life told through the lives of objects and the people who owned them. It takes the familiar – pots, pans, pencils – and reveals surprising stories. Here, you’ll find out how Avis Evans prepared for a night out in 1930s Loughor, and how Rhys ap Thomas had his bed decorated to show off his role in the Battle of Bosworth. Interaction is encouraged – you can sit on a tractor, try on clothes, play the piano.
Drawing on the power of social media
The Wales Is… Gallery asks the question: what makes Wales Wales? You are encouraged to share your own images, thoughts and experiences showing your connection to Wales. Using the power of social media, you become a curator, actively creating new content that then becomes the fabric of the gallery for the next visitor. The Gweithdy Gallery is an ode to craftspeople, past and present, and brings new meaning to the idea of a ‘hands on’ experience. You can feel a bowl in the process of being turned, compare different types of woods used by traditional craftspeople or try your hand at traditional skills to make your very own artefacts.
St Fagans has been showered with praise since its reopening in 2018 and has gone on to be named the Art Fund Museum of the Year.
Art Fund Museum of the Year
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios