Pupils at St Padarn’s Primary School visited Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth recently to take part in a thought-provoking project; Perthyn (belonging to/possessing).
During the past year, the museum has been working on Perthyn, a major community engagement project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, exploring how shared values might help build bridges between Ceredigion’s various communities.
Year five and six pupils from St Padarn’s Primary School joined Perthyn community liaison officers Kim James-Williams and Cath Sherrell at the museum earlier this year 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 World War Two.
The pupils had an opportunity to discuss, explore and prioritise their values in life through group activities. For St Padarns’ 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, 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 museum collections team has been assessing, recording and cataloguing items from the stores.
Councillor Catrin M. S. Davies, Ceredigion County Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and customers, 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 added: “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.”
The museum is open from 10am until 5pm Monday to Friday. More information on the project can be found by searching for Perthyn on https://ceredigionmuseum.wales/.
The museum is a member of MWT Cymru, an independent company representing more than 600 tourism, visitor attraction and hospitality businesses across Ceredigion, Powys and Southern Snowdonia.
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