St Fagans Museum to Be a 'One-Stop Shop' for the National History of Wales; Science Exhibitions to Be Improved

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Byline: Tim Lewis

DRAMATIC changes to the way history, art and science collections are exhibited at Wales' national museums have been announced.

They include turning the National History Museum at St Fagans into a "one-stop shop" for Welsh history.

Cardiff's national museum will be split into a national art gallery and a national science museum, not solely for art as initial plans for the changes had suggested.

The new Welsh Assembly Heritage Minster Alun Ffred Jones, helped launch the proposals at the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff yesterday.

Plans include moving artefacts from the Cathays Park site in the capital to nearby St Fagans in order to give people access to the "wider context" of Wales' history.

Dr EurwynWiliam, deputy director general of the National Museum Wales, said: "Celebrating the 100 years was a great and important milestone for us butwhat ismost important now is to look towards the future.

"It's impossible to look forward to the next 100 years, but at least we have started to look at the next decade or so.

"First and foremost is to create a national history museum at St Fagans. What we want to do is to turn it into a one-stop shop for the national history of Wales right from the year dot up until the present day."

Moving the artefacts to St Fagans will cost between pounds 12m and pounds 15m, according to the National Museum Wales, with work beginning in 2011/2012.

Mr Wiliam said the move would also release enough space at the Cardiff museum to host joint science and art exhibitions, with another new building possibly being built next to the current one.

He added: "The art museum development is already under way and perhaps over time with the right money it will become a proper national art gallery for Wales. But part and parcel of that is the realisation that we don't want to separate art and science because they are two sides of the same coin. …