RICHARD THOMAS heads to The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.WHY? Jam-packed with the latest interactive technology married with traditional displays, the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea offers visitors a unique and fully involved learning experience for the 21st century.
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years. The museum uses a collage of real life artefacts, archive footage and photographs, 2-D graphic panels, video diaries and various and often ingenious interactive computer displays, to bring Wales’ industrial and social history vividly to life for visitors.
ANY HISTORY? The museum has more than 100 historical artefacts from Wales’ industrial past. Formerly the site of the Swansea Industrial & Maritime Museum, the new National Waterfront Museum was opened in October 2005. The museum building itself is a synthesis of contemporary architecture and Welsh history. The building eloquently combining a Grade II listed former dockside warehouse built in 1902 with a 21st century glass and slate structure, designed exactly a century later by Stirling Prize-winning architects Wilkinson Eyre.
WHAT TO TAKE? Admission is free but you might want to purchase some keepsakes in the museum’s gift shop, where the money you spend is gifted back to the museum. Visitors wishing to take photographs will be required to complete a Declaration Form available from the Information Desk, but this doesn't take long so bring a camera.
LOOK OUT FOR? One of the most memorable exhibits is a detailed scale model of the 1865 steam ship Zeta, after which Swansea-born Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta Jones was named. There’s also a replica of the world's first steam locomotive, built by British inventor Richard Trevithick, which made its first journey along the tramway of the Penydarren Ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil in 1804.
WHEN TO GO? The museum is open from 10am to 5pm daily.
TELL ME MORE: Located in Swansea's Maritime Quarter, The National Waterfront Museum is less than half a mile from the city centre. A pay and display car park is situated just a short walk away from the Museum on Oystermouth Road. For sat nav users the postcode is SA1 3RD. To find out more about exhibits visit www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/swansea or phone (029) 2057 3600.