The Welsh National Museum of History – Testament to Nation

Of the M5 between Newport and Cardiff there is a Museum that, at the time, was like no other. It was the dream of Iorwerth Peate and it is the Welsh National Museum of History. What if you were told that your country was being removed? All of its culture and history was to be wiped clean, but you could keep and area in it’s memory a living example of what that country and its people were like and what lives they led. That is the premise for the Museum. This was the standpoint that Peate was working from. Like Peate you may have a business or concern that you need show. What you need is Web design Newport based company they are on hand for that.

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Peate felt, as did many Welsh people that there land was being eroded. They had no flag, the Dragon was not even recognised by Parliament until the 1950’s and the Union Jack has no separate Welsh addition, and the country that was Wales was thought of as little more than a region of Britain. The Welsh looked at their Northern Irish and Scottish cousins and felt a bit aggrieved. These were recognised more as countries, though they like Wales are strictly principalities. As the Welsh language died and the landscape was eaten up by Coal mines and the steel industry, certainly in South Wales, Peate had a sense that he was losing the Wales he knew was there. The people knew it too, so he resolved to build a Museum to try and preserve its memory so that future generations of Welsh and Britons could see what a distinctive country this was.

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His idea was not to house just artefacts and manuscripts. Such a place would be like an old book that was full of facts, but no one ever opened it to look inside. Peate was influenced by the open-air museums he had seen in Scandinavia. He was determined to recreate them in his own country. He rationalised that if he could almost recreate the feel and the smells of the past by including architectural examples of Welsh buildings then visitors would feel much more connected than if they just looked at pictures behind glass. Academics were scornful. As buildings in Wales due for demolition or were no longer being used were systematically taken apart, boxed up and sent the purchased site near Cardiff and Newport. Why not leave them where there are in situ they argued. Peate felt that this was not worth the risk. In one place they could be maintained and conserved, frozen at the point of their use. A large Visitor centre was included to house the many artefacts collected and donated and there was also the Stately Home to give the visitor a total glimpse of all social classes in Wales through the ages.

It is a stunning place, you do get the sense that the people that lived there have just popped out. It’s also free entry with a nominal parking fee. Well worth a day out.

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