The Relevance of St Fagans National History Museum to Contemporary Wales

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Report The Relevance of St Fagans National History Museum to Contemporary Wales Table of Contents Introduction..........3 Historic buildings............ 3 2.1 Maestir School............3 2.2 Newbridge War Memorial..4 2.3 Woollen Mill...............4 Importance of St Fagans to Welsh culture5 Self-reflection...6 Conclusion....6 Bibliography...7 1.0 Introduction St Fagans National History Museum (then known as the Welsh Folk Museum) is the one of Europes most outstanding open-air museums and most visited heritage attraction in Wales. According to a visitor guide (National Museum Wales 2011), it was established in 1947 with original re-erected historic buildings from various parts of the Wales. Basically, it shows a period of Welsh life that how inhabitants in Wales lived and worked in the past. This report provides information based on a field trip to the museum, St Fagans, and will analyse its relevance to contemporary Wales. In addition, the report involved parts regarding importance of the museum to Welsh culture and self-reflection after visiting. 2.0 Historic buildings It was received the information related to introduction of some re-erected buildings during the field trip, and the following three buildings will be discussed. 2.1 Maestir School This is a small rural school where Welsh children were taught from 1880 to 1916 and it was relocated here in 1984 (National Museum Wales no date). The number of students attended class determined teachers incomes in the school. As it was during Victoria era (BBC 2010), speaking Welsh was often banned in school and they spoke only Welsh at home. Children were punished for speaking Welsh instead of English so that it had led to a great decrease of Welsh-speakers. However, in contrast to previous time, learning Welsh is encouraged by the government today and the Welsh regard the language as a symbol of Wales. Also, it can be seen that all road signs are in both languages. 2.2 Newbridge War Memorial There are 900,000 British servicemen died during the First World War and 40,000 of them are the Welsh (BBC 2013). This War memorial was built to pay tribute to soldiers who died during this battle and their names are listed on the left side of the memorial. Essentially, this means not only a true records of the history, but also a constant reminder of the continuous human cost of warfare. On each Remembrance Day, a special memorial service is held at the cenotaph and wreaths of red poppies are placed on the memorial in order to remember all the men and women of Wales who gave their lives for their country. 2.3 Woollen Mill This is a small mill that was built in 1760. Although the climate and poor soil of Wales were not suitable to grow crops, it was ideal for livestock farming. Thus, sheep farming become a popular husbandry activity in rural areas. Farmers brought their wool to make clothes for their own use or other items in Woollen Mill such as traditional shoulder shawls and Welsh blankets (Welsh Mills Society. 2007). Up to now, sheep is also the main part of Welsh farming for centuries. Furthermore, according to a report (Davies 2013), in 2011 the sheep part was worth 270 million that was 20 percent of the gross agricultural output in Wales. Overall, more than 40 historic buildings are located in this museum, and others include post office, bakery, store, chapel, a medieval church and so on. There are also workshops that display historic Welsh crafts. 3.0 Importance of St Fagans to Welsh culture It can be said that St Fagans has played a significant role in contemporary Wales. To be specifically, these are not only historic buildings but also the reflection of unique Welsh culture. Thus, it has provided a great opportunity for no matter the Welsh or tourists who from all over the world to enjoy, enrich knowledge and widen their horizons. Second, it make an undeniable and continuing contribution to Welsh economic and cultural...
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