St Fagans National History Museum

St Fagans National History Museum

Coordinates: 51°29′13″N 3°16′21″W / 51.4869°N 3.2725°W / 51.4869; -3.2725

St Fagans National History Museum
Sain Ffagan Amgueddfa Werin Cymru

The manor house of St Fagans Castle
St Fagans National History Museum is located in Cardiff
Location within Wales Cardiff
Established 1948
Location St. Fagans, Cardiff, Wales
Visitor figures

610,155 (2010)[1]


St Fagans National History Museum (Welsh: Sain Ffagan: Amgueddfa Werin Cymru), commonly referred to as St Fagans after the village where it is located, is an open-air museum in Cardiff chronicling the historical lifestyle, culture and architecture of the Welsh people. The museum is part of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales.

It comprises over thirty re-erected buildings from various locations in Wales, and is set in the grounds of St Fagans Castle, an Elizabethan manor house. In 2011 Which? magazine named the museum the United Kingdom's favourite visitor attraction.[2]



The museum was started in 1946 following the donation of the castle and lands by the Earl of Plymouth. It opened its doors to the public in 1948, under the name of the Welsh Folk Museum. The museum's name in Welsh (also meaning "Welsh Folk Museum") has remained unchanged since that date, whereas the English title has been modified once to Museum of Welsh Life, and again to its current nomenclature.

The brainchild of Iorwerth Peate, the museum was modelled on Skansen, the outdoor museum of vernacular Swedish architecture in Stockholm. Most structures re-erected in Skansen were built of wood and are thus easily taken apart and reassembled, but a comparable museum in Wales was naturally going to be more ambitious as much of the vernacular architecture of Wales is made of masonry.

Buildings and exhibits

The museum's gallery and administration block, built by the Percy Thomas Partnership, 1968–74

The museum includes over forty buildings which represent the architecture of Wales, including a nonconformist chapel (in this case, Unitarian), a village schoolhouse, a Toll road tollbooth (below), a cockpit (below), a pigsty (below) and a tannery (below).

The museum holds displays of traditional crafts with a working blacksmith's forge, a pottery, a weaver, miller and clog maker. It also includes two working water mills: one flour mill and one wool mill. Part of the site includes a small working farm which concentrates on preserving local Welsh native breeds of livestock. Produce from the museum's bakery and flour mill is available for sale.

The medieval parish church of Saint Teilo (below) formerly at Llandeilo Tal-y-bont in west Glamorgan (restored to its pre-Reformation state), is the Museum's latest building, opened in October 2007 by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Though the museum was intended to preserve aspects of Welsh rural life, it now includes several buildings that depict the industrial working life that succeeded it, itself almost extinct in Wales. There is a row of workmen's cottages, depicting furnishing from 1800–1985, from Rhyd-y-car near Merthyr Tydfil (below), as well as the pristine Oakdale Workmen's Institute (below). A post-war prefabricated bungalow (below) has even been erected on the grounds.

Since 1996 the Museum has hosted the Everyman Summer Theatre Festival which re-located from Dyffryn Gardens. This festival, which includes a Shakespeare play, a Musical, an English language Children's Show and a Welsh language Children's show (directed principally at primary schools) has become part of Welsh theatrical calendar.

Scenes from the Doctor Who episodes "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood" were filmed at St Fagans.


External links

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