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
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
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.