Pupils from Aberystwyth's St Padarn’s Primary School visited Ceredigion Museum recently to take part in a thought-provoking project; Perthyn (belonging to/possessing).
During last year, Ceredigion Museum has been working on Perthyn, a major community engagement project, exploring how shared values might help build bridges between Ceredigion’s various communities.
Year 5 and 6 pupils from St Padarn’s joined Perthyn community liaison officers Kim James-Williams and Cath Sherrell at Ceredigion Museum for a lively session looking at objects related to ‘faith’, which are usually in storage.
The children learnt how to handle museum objects carefully, wearing protective gloves, and asked questions about what the objects are made of, what they were for and where they came from.
The collection included Tao Buddhist statues brought back by seafarer Captain Richard Richards of Ship Builder’s Row, Aberystwyth (now South Road), replica Druidic divination spoons found at Castell Nadolig and a tiny Quran brought to Wales after the Second World War.
The pupils of St Padarn’s had an opportunity to discuss, explore and prioritise their values in life through group activities. For St Padarn’s children, themes such as ‘protecting the environment’, ‘family security’, ‘equality’ and ‘broadminded’ emerged. A pupil said: “I think that being helpful is the most important thing, because if everyone is kind then everything just works better.”
Carrie Canham, Ceredigion Museum curator, said: “We want to find out what matters to people in Ceredigion, why, and how the museum’s collections can reflect their values. We want to identify any gaps there may be so our collection remains relevant to both current and future communities in Ceredigion.”
The collections team at the Museum have been assessing, recording, and cataloguing items from the stores.
Cllr Catrin M S Davies, Cabinet member for culture, said: “It is clear that the staff of the Perthyn project have benefited from the young pupils’ mature conversations about social values. It is great to see that visiting the museum, and having the opportunity to treat objects of different faiths and beliefs, has inspired pupils and motivated them to think about social values.”
Carrie continued: “Several diverse groups from Ceredigion have taken part in a lively series of pilot workshops. People have been so generous with their time and enthusiastically engaged with discussions on values, faith, and Ceredigion Museum’s collection. Everyone found objects to relate to, whether they identified as having a faith or not, and often, to their surprise, people have discovered that they share their fundamental values in life. We really do have more in common than we might think.”
Ceredigion Museum is open from 10am until 5pm Monday to Friday.