Review: Cardiff Breakfast Club 17th March

Posted: March 17, 2011 in Cardiff Breakfast Club, Events
Tags: , , ,

by Becci Gould, Account Executive, Petersens PR

This morning’s Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting boasted an audience of just under 100 business men and women from a total of 57 different businesses – a turn-out that could not only be attributed to the beautiful March morning but to David Anderson, Director General of National Museum Wales.

To a community used to hearing primarily about economic and business matters, David’s presentation was a breath of fresh air, providing the audience with an insight in how Welsh history is, and should be, presented within the 7 museum sites that form the National Museums of Wales.  

As a national of Ireland, Mr. Anderson’s speech on the significance of Welsh history on St. Patrick’s Day was somewhat ironic. However, after attending university in Edinburgh, and working in England before beginning his role as director general, David assured us that his loyalties (in rugby at least) lie with Wales (until indeed they play Ireland). In fact David informed his audience that, after studying Irish history at university, he developed a fascination for national culture and it is through this interest that he aspires to dramatically improve Wales’ National Museum.

History, David suggests, has a close impact on modern society and people are continually addressing and rethinking their relationship with the past. It is therefore fundamentally crucial to have a national museum that reflects the diverse, rich and ever-changing culture of Wales.

The development of the St. Fagin’s site, therefore, not only hopes to appeal to a wider range of audiences but will also merge archeology with history in order to represent a longer history.  Displays will reflect key debates amongst historians such as ‘When was Wales’ aiming to engage new audiences in the key conflicts and exchanges of culture and history whilst providing a better education to its many visitors, both young and old.  

As Mr Anderson suggested, museums such as St Fagans National History Museum are often criticised by scholars for being too entertaining and accessible, but he argues that history is something that should not only be visually appealing to everyone but actively engaging. History isn’t just about material elements but personal experiences and active participation: We all participate in making history so why shouldn’t we all be able to have access to it?

The St Fagans museum aims to embrace the opportunity to offer this level of understanding to its visitors through displays and experiences that step away from traditional visual exhibits, and instead engage our other, often-forgotten, senses.

David Anderson’s innovative forward-thinking and enthusiasm in developing the National Museum of Wales certainly convinced his audience that we greatly need a museum that takes a long, hard look at the history of Wales and that says something to the rest of the world about who we are now and where we have come from.

We therefore cannot help but support David in his quest for the National Museum of Wales to become a showcase for new thinking and a centre for engagement in a national history so close to our hearts.  

The next Cardiff Breakfast Club meeting with guest speaker Dame Gillian Morgan, Permanent Secretary of Welsh Assembly Government will take place on Thursday 28th April 2011. For more details contact Becci Gould on

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