Funding of more than £100,000 will help uncover and reveal Llanelly Pottery’s hidden stories.
Parc Howard Museum in Llanelli has been awarded £103,350 from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund in recognition of its innovative approach to using museum collections to achieve social impact.
The Llanelly Pottery Stories, is a project that will involve local communities, volunteers, families, and subject specialists in uncovering and revealing the hidden stories that will help new audiences and future generations to enjoy the most important collection of Llanelly Pottery in public ownership.
The Parc Howard collection of Llanelly Pottery represents a fascinating and largely untold story of change in Llanelli, from the early Victorian era to the interwar years. But the Llanelly Pottery Stories project will be a unique opportunity to discover lost connections between past and present.
The pottery has been overlooked by history because it was designed to be affordable and for everyday use. It traditionally appealed to the Welsh market, especially the cawl bowls, but surprisingly it was also made for export to West Africa, the United States and South America. It has strong associations with the past but its designs are still imitated today by commercial potteries. The pottery employed some well-known painters who gained minor celebrity status in their day, but it also employed whole families, even children, which is a less well known story.
The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund grant will fund a Participation Curator project post and an expansive programme of activities. For the first time, the museum will be offering opportunities for volunteers, including specialist training to work up close with museum collections. Children and families will be invited to design and test new activities inspired by the pottery, which will be built into a new accessible exhibition.
Stars of the pottery collection, including unique pieces such as a chimney from Llanelly House made in 1840, will be restored and redisplayed. And there will be a series of events to inspire people to visit their local museum for the first time and discover what’s in store.
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, executive member for culture, sport and tourism, said: “This award recognises the potential of museums and their collections to build connections between local communities and create opportunities for residents. Our project celebrates the legacy contributed by previous generations and ensures we pass on a better legacy of collections, information and knowledge to the next generation.”