National Museum Cardiff - History and Facts | History Hit

National Museum Cardiff

Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

The National Museum Cardiff has a diverse collection ranging from art to natural history and archaeology.

Image Credit: Leonid Andronov /

About National Museum Cardiff

The National Museum Cardiff has a diverse collection ranging from art to natural history and archaeology. The art collection alone spans over 500 years and a range of countries.

Meanwhile, history fans can also head to the Origins gallery, which chronicles the history of man in Wales from the Stone Age to medieval times. Neolithic tombstones, Britain’s earliest human remains, Roman cups, and medieval weapons are all on display in this interesting exhibit.

History of the National Museum Cardiff

The National Museum Cardiff is a museum and art gallery in Cardiff, Wales. It was founded in 1905, with its royal charter granted in 1907. Until 1893, the museum was a sub-department within the building of Cardiff Library.

Construction of a new building within the civic of Cathays Park started in 1912, but was delayed in opening until 1922 due to World War I. The construction of the building was based upon designs by architects Arnold Dunbar Smith and Cecil Brewer.

The museum was officially opened in 1927.

National Museum Cardiff Today

Today, the museum has collections of botany, fine and applied art, geology, and zoology. The Archaeology department has been moved to the St. Fagans National Museum of History.

The first floor of the museum is dedicated to Wales’ national art collections, from paintings and drawings to sculpture and ceramics. It features one of Britain’s best collections of Impressionist paintings and contemporary leading international artists.

The National Museum of Art, which opened in 2011, displays a collection of Old Masters such as Turner, Monet, Rodin, and Van Gogh, as well as classical landscape paintings, and paintings of and commissioned by wealthy Welsh industrialists from the last century. Contemporary art includes works by Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso.

There are also extensive space and natural history collections, with the Evolution of Wales gallery presenting a collection of meteorites, moon rock, woolly mammoths, and dinosaurs. There are also animals, birds and insects from Wales, and a humpback whale skeleton and the world’s largest leatherback turtle.

In 2011, the former Glanely Gallery was transformed into the Clore Discovery Centre, which offers hands-on exploration of some 7.5 million items from the museum’s collection that are normally in storage, including fossils, insects, and Bronze Age weapons.

The museum is free to enter, though donations are encouraged.

Getting to the National Museum Cardiff

The National Museum Cardiff is reachable in around 10 minutes by foot from the city centre, via The Friary and Gorsedd Gardens Road. There is also a regular bus schedule from University RE – the 35, 86, and 95 – which take about 2 minutes from the city centre. By car, the A4161 is the fastest route.

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