Thursday, 1 March 2007

Arolygon tramorwyr

N.K.; Cleveland Ohio:

1) How much do you feel you knew about Wales before coming here?
I knew a smattering of history, usually as an adjunct to British history. I also knew some basic geography. That's about it.

2) What were your impressions of St. Fagan's?
I enjoyed it greatly. It felt more like a park with interesting sights than a museum. Or maybe like a zoo with buildings in it instead of animals.

3) What did St. Fagan's make you think about Wales?
It gave me an impression of a very long history, of which we were just seeing brief glimpses.

4) After having been to St. Fagan's, what is now your impression of Wales?
Favorable. I'd go again. I'm not sure that had much to do with St. Fagan's though.

5) What did you think of the gift shop? Seemed to be mostly cheap tourist type stuff. I did like the one attached the pottery studio, which at least had pretty touristy stuff.

6) From your experiences, do you feel that Wales is particularly different from England or Ireland? How does your visit to St. Fagan's affect this view?
No, not really. I can't say that the museum changed my opinion one way or another.

7) Feel free to offer any more opinion or insight on what you think of the museum: Did you like it? What was your favourite part? What was your least favourite part? Etcetera.
My favorite part was absolutely the gardens by the manor house, with the stream and the ducks. I also liked the row of coal miner houses, St. Teilos, the union self-improvement hall and most of the rest of it. I wasn't terribly interested in the ancient Celtic hut area.

-----

R.K.; Minneapolis, Minnesota:

1) How much do you feel you knew about Wales before coming here?
I had been in Wales once before, in 2002, but I wouldn't say I knew very much about Welsh history, government, etc. I did have an American friend studying in the UK who had a Welsh roommate whose remarks upon meeting the Yankee said "at least you aren't English." That about sums up my knowledge right there.

2) What were your impressions of St. Fagan's?
I found St. Fagan's to be utterly charming, and a great example of a living history theme park. I found the concept of rebuilding different structures from across Welsh history fascinating, and a great way to learn about Welsh history in one go. The particular day we were there, the two gentlemen historians who were manning the coal mining houses area were very easy to talk to and learn form. I appreciated that the signs were in both languages (even though I don't know a thing about the Welsh language).

3) What did St. Fagan's make you think about Wales?
St. Fagan's made me think, "mmmm, ice cream stands are yummy!" Seriously, St. Fagan's was a great window into Welsh life over time, and made me think that I should like to stay in Wales longer. Real people lived here, and we, as tourists, have a responsibility to not let the country turn into a tourist trappy brightony sort of place.

4) After having been to St. Fagan's, what is now your impression of Wales?
I now realize that there is much more to Welsh history than what the English wrote, and I would be curious to learn more about the place, more as a person of interest, and less as a tourist, if that makes any sense.

5) What did you think of the gift shop?
Loved the little pottery gift shop and wish I had made some purchases there. No real feelings about the main gift shop area.

6) From your experiences, do you feel that Wales is particularly different from England or Ireland? How does your visit to St. Fagan's affect this view.
Yes. Wales is definitely distinct form England, particularly in the resurgense of the Welsh Language. The only part of Ireland I've been to was Dublin, so probably didn't give me a true feeling of Ireland the countryside, so I probably can't make a comparison. St. Fagan's definitely contributed to this view, as most of what I know of Wales came from either St Fagan's or Chris Cope.

7) Feel free to offer any more opinion or insight on what you think of the museum: Did you like it? What was your favourite part? What was your least favourite part? Etcetera.
Loved the highway toll posting! St. Fagan's was set out in a way that you could wander from place to place depending on what period of history you were interested in, and it seemed to cover a wide swath of the welsh experience, with more exhibitis being added. I'm pretty sure we didn't see all of it, I like being able to enter buildings and to get a sense of what it might have been like to live in them. The pottery gift shop was wonderful, and the housing of live animals on the grounds was also very cool. Least favorite part was the weather and the lousy bus connections.

-----

R.C.: St. George, Utah

1) How much do you feel you knew about Wales before coming here?
Some, but not much about Welsh life or Welsh history--All the information I knew came from you. If I had not known you, I would know practically nothing about Wales.

2) What were your impressions of St. Fagan's?
It is the best museum I have been to because it actually tries to recreate Welsh life -- it's not just a bunch of peices that don't mean anything and don't relate to each other, which most museums are for me. It shows the big picture, which makes it more real to me. Actually walking through farms and houses that existed in Wales in different eras made me think about what life was like back then, and made me a little more interested in studying Welsh culture. It was really well maintained, very welcoming, and the smell of the coal fires is great. The people who work there are very friendly and knowledgeable, and overall, it really was a great place to visit. It is definately a place that I would show to friends who are not from Wales.

3) What did St. Fagan's make you think about Wales?
It increased my knowledge of Wales in a way that I don't think I would get from a book or just peices sitting in a museum. It really made me feel what life could have been like, and it allowed my imagination to take over, which increased my interest in Wales in general. The coal mining village, for example, really conveyed the conditions that the coal miners lived in--this is something that I really had no knowledge of before, or particular interest in, but now that I have actually seen where they lived, it really increased my interest in learning more about the coal mining period. As a tourist attraction, I think it is great. I have not seen a museum like this anywhere else, so for me it is unique to Wales, and something that I associate with Wales. I think it could draw a lot more interest in the Welsh culture than a normal museum as it's just more interesting and real.

4) After having been to St. Fagan's, what is now your impression of Wales?
It really improved my attitude toward Wales. The fact that something like this museum was built and is free to the public made me think the Welsh are a people who put their public funds and taxes to good use. I was able to see a little of what life was like during different time periods in Wales. It really did improve my attitude of Wales.

5) What did you think of the gift shop?
This was perhaps the most dissapointing part of the museum. All the gifts were just so cheesy. I would like to have seen some more authentic gifts of higher quality.

6) From your experiences, do you feel that Wales is particularly different from England or Ireland? How does your visit to St. Fagan's affect this view.
I don't think that Wales if particulalry different than England, but it is different than Ireland. My visit to St. Fagans did make Wales a little more unique for me -- it separated it from England and Ireland for me, as I was able to see different aspects of Welsh life (coal mining, religious influences, the recreation of the Celtic life) that may be unique to Wales. I think the Celtic village is an important aspect of St. Fagins because that is a unique part of Welsh life -- the Welsh were the oldest Celtics peoples, so it really is part of Welsh history. This helps set it appart from England for me. And the various events that are able to take place at St. Fagins that keep old traditions alive (Mary Lloyd?). Having these reproduced in an environment that is similar to what life would have been like makes the traditions more alive and real, and gives them a bit more authenticity to me.

7)Feel free to offer any more opinion or insight on what you think of the museum: Did you like it? What was your favourite part? What was your least favourite part? Etcetera
I loved the museum, and it is definately a place that I will show visitors. I love the pottery making and some of the old cottages and farmhouses. I also really like the little town square as well as the coal mining village. I really do like the Celtic village as well. It's hard for me to find something I don't like about the place, to be honest. I didn't particularly like the gift shop that much.

-----

S.C.: Hereford, England

1) How much do you feel you knew about Wales before coming here?
I knew quite alot about Wales as I grew up on the (English side of the) border and had a few holidays here, but mostly in north Wales.

2) What were your impressions of St. Fagan's?
I love st. Fagan's, it's a nice set up with well thought out recreations of different eras in Welsh houses and homes. The house of the 'future' is also a good addition.

3) What did St. Fagan's make you think about Wales?
St.Fagan's gives an insight into how difficult life would have been for people in historical Wales, it doesn't make me think any differently about Wales as these examples of 'Welsh' Life were also typical in other areas of rural Britain.

4) After having been to St. Fagan's, what is now your impression of Wales?
It hasn't changed my impression of Wales.

5) What did you think of the gift shop?
Some nice things, like Welsh crafts. Some things over priced.

6) From your experiences, do you feel that Wales is particularly different from England, Scotland or Ireland? How does your visit to St. Fagan's affect this view?
Wales is different to other parts of Britain in that Welsh people are fiercely proud, to the point of being defensive, about their nationality. English and inparticular Scottish and Irish people are also proud of their nationality but possibily with more good humour. In terms of historical life I don't know that there was a good deal of
difference in life style in similar areas.

7) Feel free to offer any more opinion or insight on what you think of the museum: Did you like it? What was your favourite part? What was your least favourite part? Etcetera.
I love the celtic village, the coffee shop is over priced with slow service and bad coffee!