Museums across Wales are busy brewing up a veritable potion of inspiration ready for a #historichalfterm, as museums across the nation gear up for Welsh Museums Festival. This year there will be a mix of fantastic live events at museums across the length and breadth of the land, as well as online activities to enjoy. As always, there will be delights for young and old, and most will be FREE.

Welsh Museums Festival is funded by Welsh Government. It is an annual event presented by the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales, which is the advocacy body for museums and galleries and those working in this sector within Wales. It currently represents over 100 unique Accredited Welsh museums, from small independents to national museums. Together, these invaluable collections tell the story of Wales, and are a treasured resource for learning, exploration and knowledge about our local and national identity, and how we have lived here in Wales since the dawn of time.
Speaking about the Festival, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden said: “Our Museums teach us about our history, provide context for our present and importantly they’re an investment in our nationhood, wellbeing and future. We feel passionately that their collections should be accessible to all – we are proud to support Welsh Museums Festival and the participating museums the length and breadth of Wales to offer fantastic events for all ages, many for free, during October half term.”

Launching the programme for this year’s Festival, Nêst Thomas, President of the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales said: It’s been a challenging year and a half for everyone. Our museums have adapted and innovated and continued to serve their communities online, and we’re very proud of them for that. But there’s nothing better than welcoming visitors and our communities back into our buildings in a safe and considered way. We’re delighted therefore to present this year’s Welsh Museums Festival which makes October Half Term truly historic for young and old! Come along to delve deeper into our collections, to enjoy historic hullabaloo, to learn, to make and craft, to discover, to time travel and enjoy. Most of our events will be FREE, making them accessible to all.”

This year, the festival delves into the fascinating history of medicine, from ancient pestilence to folk remedies, the treatments and cures of our ancestors to more recent innovations. It will also explore wellbeing and search for wisdom from the annals of history and the many and wondrous museum collections across the land.

During this pandemic, our homes have become safe places and sanctuaries, and might also have felt like prisons at times. We’ll be shedding light on homes and gardens throughout history and how our relationships with these spaces have changed over the centuries. Oh, and that cauldron’s bubbling up some Halloween magic too. Watch this space!

Oh, and did we mention dragons? Look out because ‘Here Be Dragons’! A clutch of baby dragons has hatched and run a mock in a number of our museums and sharp, young eyes are needed to help track them down. All through Welsh Museums Festival, afflicted museums will be engaging visitors help to round them up and return them to the wild so that they can grow big and mighty like the dragon on the Welsh flag.

All this and crafts aplenty, fun science events, talks by museum curators, fascinating courses, historic days out and spooky Halloween happenings. All in all, it looks set for a #HistoricHalfTerm here in Wales!

The time travel begins 23 October and ends with all things spooky on 31 October. Full programme details are now available on the Festival’s website www.museums.wales

Angharad Wynne
Author: Angharad Wynne

Welsh Museums Festival Manager since 2019. History buff, and arts, culture and heritage freelancer.