07th November, King’s of the Undergound exhibition had it’s official opening at the National Waterfront Museum – Amgueddfa Cymru.
The event was attended by many involved in the project; ex-miners and their families, children from the Afan Valleys School’s Federation, project partners from The National Waterfront Museum, Rhondda Heritage Park, Big Pit, South Wales Miners Museum and The Heritage Lottery Fund.
Steph Mastoris, Head of Museums, at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, opening the event said:
“We are about the human story of Welsh industry. Having an exhibition that focuses on the lived experience from the coal industry, but also with a wonderful twist of using new technologies to capture history. It is just a really great fit and ticks all of our boxes, which we’re very pleased about.”
The project also had an earlier showing at the Rhondda Heritage Park, with a focus on Rhondda’s miners. Darren Macey, Operational Manager of the Heritage and Outreach services at Rhondda Heritage Park said:
“The traction we got from this project especially from the younger generations that came on board is amazing. This project has shown that oral histories are about personal stories. It’s about talking about the past so we can pass it on to your children and then their children’s children. It’s important to remember how coalmining brought communities together, despite the dangers, and that’s what’s so inspiring about this project. The way that Vision Fountain have done this in such an innovative and technologically exciting way has been brilliant.”
Ceri Thompson, Curator at Big Pit National Coal Museum said;
“This project is wonderful by itself but one thing that stands out is the importance of photography which I feel is getting pushed aside. Community photographers can capture the essence of changing time, as we can see here.”
Richard Jones, Creative Director at Vision Fountain said:
“It’s a been an honour and pleasure to work with the miners across the coalfield. Gathering those memories and talking about the past can be emotional at times. Taking those memories into the schools to inspire the children from your communities has been a wonderful experience. And mixing all of that that with 3D modelling, VR and gaming has shown us that it’s not the children who are scared of technology! We can use the tech to link youngsters to their heritage in a meaningful way.”
“We know there’s very little coalmining left these days in Wales but there are jobs available in technology and gaming. I hope the children can gain inspitration in a field that leads to meaningful employment.”
The opening speeches ended with Tyrone O’Sullivan O.B.E. , ex-NUM National Secretary, talking to the young people about about the importance and history of coalmining in Wales.
Thanks to Heritage Fund and all Lottery Players