A Night At The Museum – Lates At The National Museum Cardiff

AD Being a Welsh history lover, the seven sites of Amgueddfa Cymru National Museums Wales have always been very special places for me (St Fagans is one of my top museums of all time) so I was absolutely thrilled when they suggested I join them for their new late night openings at National Museum Cardiff.

Yes, you heard me right. You can now have you very own Night At The Museum!

Late Night Openings

Amgueddfa Cymru has announced that it will pilot extended opening hours at National Museum Cardiff. So I took full advantage of the situation and wondered down there after work on the first Thursday of the month.

As someone who works full-time during the week I only really get my weekends free to visit places. I don’t mind visiting museums at the weekend – but so does everyone else! It was nice to take the time and space to really explore the museum during the evening.

I started with the current exhibitions – Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Reframing Thomas Picton – before moving to the art galleries and the natural history galleries.

The museum will remain open until 9pm on the first Thursday of every month until June 2023, and of course entry will be free as always.

Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Exhibition

As part of my invitation, the museum kindly gifted me an entry ticket for the world-renowned exhibition Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

It features exceptional images which capture fascinating animal behaviour, spectacular species and the breath-taking diversity of the natural world.

National Museum Cardiff is the only museum in the UK outside of London to display the images on 100 exquisite light panels. From polar bears in the Antarctic to exotic deepwater shrimp and teeny tiny insects, the images showcase Earth’s extraordinary diversity and the fragility of the natural world.

The exhibition was truly moving and thought provoking. The photographs and images were breath-taking, but the main thing I took away from this exhibition is the impact of humans on animals, be that through climate change or otherwise.

Ticket prices and Member discounts for the events vary. General admission for the exhibition is £10, Concessions are priced at £7 and entry to the exhibition is free to those under 16 and to Amgueddfa Cymru Members. For more information, to book tickets for the exhibition and the events, and to become a Member, please go to www.museum.wales/WPY2022

Looking for more historical exhibitions to visit? Then check out this post about 2022’s best exhibitions.

Reframing Picton

I was also extremely interested to see the new Reframing Picton exhibit which has been in the press a lot this past week.

Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton’s portrait has returned to the museum’s walls in a travel frame following its removal in November 2021. The portrait by Sir Martin Archer Shee has been a part of Amgueddfa Cymru’s collections since its founding in 1907.

The decision to reinterpret the portrait was made as part of Reframing Picton – a youth-led project team involving the SSAP Youth Leadership Network and the Amgueddfa Cymru Producers. The project team worked with the museum’s curators to provide additional information and context about Picton’s legacy as Governor of Trinidad at the turn of the 19th century. This includes his brutal treatment of the people of Trinidad, including the torture of 14-year-old Luisa Calderon – information which was not part of the museum’s previous interpretation of the portrait.

The exhibition includes two newly commissioned artworks, which will become part of Wales’ national collection. These works will help reframe the legacy of Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton (1758-1815) and give a voice to those most affected by Picton’s actions, and to those who live with the legacy today.

The Art Collections

The whole of the first floor is dedicated to Wales’ national art collections, from paintings and drawings to sculpture and ceramics. It features one of the best collections of Impressionist paintings in Britain and leading international artists of today.

Unfortunately several galleries are currently shut awaiting repair, but there is still an impressive display of early modern and Impressionist paintings to view, including Renoir’s La Parisienne and Monet’s Waterlilies.

There is also the The Rules of Art? exhibition, looking at five hundred years of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, film and ceramics

The Evolution of Wales and Natural History Galleries

Even though I feel these galleries are more aimed at children, I have always enjoyed them!

In the Evolution of Wales exhibition you can take a 4,600 million-year voyage with meteorites, moon rock and fossils on a journey that brings you face to face with dinosaurs and woolly mammoths.

I’ll always visit the museum when there’s a new exhibition on, but the late night opening now means I can fit that visit around my working life much more easily. Plus, its great to have a new, interesting and low-cost option for something to do in the evening here in Cardiff – dare I say, it could be a perfect date night?!

I’ve picked my Top 5 Museums In Wales that YOU should visit now to learn more about the history of this wonderful country – check out my Welsh History Travel Guide now to discover what they are!

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