Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

An exhibition has been launched to mark the anniversary, and a party was held at the museum’s current home in the Coliseum.

Guests heard how the museum began at Vulcan Street under its first curator, Dr Owen.

Dr Owen Ceredigion Museum
Dr Owen, the first curator of Ceredigion Museum (Picture supplied)

His successor, Michael Freeman, gave a detailed history of the museum in an enthralling evening hosted by current curator, Carrie Canham.­

Former museum staff member Stuart Evans has written First Impressions, a book inspired by the museum’s history, which he launched at the anniversary party. The book has been published by the Friends of Ceredigion Museum.

Stuart, who lives in Borth, worked at the museum from 1976 until 2019. Since retiring he has written about the early history and development of the museum.

“I worked at the museum for over 40 years and saw many changes,” he explained.

Stuart Evans First Impressions
Stuart Evans has penned First Impressions, a book about the museum (Picture supplied)

During the 1970s the museum was housed in a four-storey Georgian town house in Vulcan Street, not far from the castle ruins. After rapid growth of the collection it moved to the Coliseum, where it still remains today.

Stuart has written a comic fiction of what happened in the 1970s, based on true events.

“My memory of those first few years is now a little mixed up, but as with all history it is open to interpretation,” said Stuart.

“I wanted to write about the way in which the individual characters shaped the museum and built up a representation of the history of Ceredigion.

“I also wanted to reflect the comic and heart warming way in which a small group of people worked together to create an individual and remarkable institution.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my career at Ceredigion Museum and have many happy and joyful memories.”

Prince Charles Ceredigion Museum
The then Prince Charles visiting the museum at its new home in the Coliseum in 1983 (Picture supplied)

Stuart, who is also a talented artist, has illustrated the book with objects from the museum collection.­

Current curator Carrie said she was pleased to be able to support the creation of this book and the Friends of Ceredigion Museum have generously supported the venture.

Commenting on the anniversary exhibition, Carrie said: “We asked 50 people to choose an object each and write 50 words about why they chose it.

“We asked people of all ages and backgrounds from across Ceredigion, from MP Ben Lake and Eifion Evans, chief executive of Ceredigion County Council, to children who visit the museum regularly with their family.

“They chose a wide range of objects, large and small, from the Coliseum building itself to a tiny Mesolithic microlith used by someone in Ceredigion 10,000 years ago.”