The Work of the Friends


 Gifts over the years

1990 The love box
1991 2 paintings of Llangennech House
1993 Plate from the Stepney dinner service
1994 Llanelli jug
1995 Painting by Morland Lewis of Nott Square, Carmarthen
1998 £1000 towards the portrait of Madame Bevan
1999 Painting by Kusha Petts of the Tywi Valley in Winter
1999 Bronze axe head from a local farm
2001 Part of the Gulston dessert service
2002 Sweet moulding machine used in Llandovery to produce sweets for the local market

Click on the photographs for a larger version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Friends were formed in1989 by a group of people interested in museums and galleries and aware of the difficulties which faced many of them at that time. Sian Morris was Mayor of Carmarthen that year and under her enthusiastic guidance membership soon reached 300. The first gift to the Museum was a mahogany and pitchwood box, made as a love token and now displayed with the collection of love spoons in the 19th Century gallery.

Gifts of objects which the museum staff wished to add to the collections have been made in most years. To see some of them click on the list to the left. 

Over the years the Friends have planted half a dozen trees and many spring-flowering bulbs to enhance the grounds. Many of these occasions have taken place on wet autumn mornings, but the discomfort has been amply repaid.

In Spring 2000 the Millennium Tree was planted near the entrance to the grounds. It was grown by vice-chairman Arwyn Price from a conker he had picked up several years previously in Versailles, and is growing rapidly. This autumn Arwyn and Celia planted hundreds more bulbs around its base, and we will have a good show next spring. We hope that generations of village children in the years to come will enjoy a rich harvest of conkers.

 On January 1, 2000, committee member Janet Sage put in the last stitches in the Millennium Sampler and then went off to ring the bells which sounded through the land on that morning. Janet had designed the sampler, selecting from many suggestions from other members, the images which will tell visitors to the Museum in 2100 a little of what life was like in Carmarthen and Abergwili a hundred years before. She included the successive bridges which have been vital to the town's life, the police helicopter (transport will have moved on a great deal by 2001) and the beautiful grey museum cat which greets visitors to the evening events. A file accompanies the sampler, explaining the choice of symbols and giving examples of all the materials used with their prices.

A small group of Friends meets once a week to undertake cataloguing of parts of the collections. This is very time-consuming, and museum staff sometimes find that they cannot keep up with the objects that floods in, as donations and sometimes purchases. The work mostly takes place in the old Bishop's Library, where the vast table is ideal. Costume is always popular among the group, but often involves considerable research in the museum's reference books. Postcards and photographs frequently lead to a hold-up in work as all crowd round when an obscure view is identified. The contents of a complete Carmarthen toy shop of the turn of the century were recently catalogued with much pleasure.  

A varied programme of events takes place throughout the year, ranging from talks on a wide variety of topics and musical evenings through quizes and discovery trails. A tour "behind the scenes at the museum" ended with part of the superb antiquarian books being on view in the library. There are also outings and visits to other Friends' organisations. The very popular Christmas Festival is the perfect start to the season for many local people, when the Myrddin Singers use the beautiful staircase in the inner Hall as their stage. 

The housekeeper leads her team. From the left, lady’s maid (Susan Warburton), cook (Jenny Anscombe) and housemaid (Celia Price) with fairground-barker Peter Watson.

There is always a very friendly atmosphere, and the evening often ends with a glass of wine. New members are always welcome.

THE FRIEND, the newsletter of the organisation, is published six times a year. The last two editions are always online, and articles from previous numbers are included.