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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Royal Commission’s Delivery of Services

Flyer for the TV Series of Hidden Histories
The Royal Commission built on its Centenary over two years from 2008 as a unique opportunity to promote and develop its services. It’s worth looking back on what was achieved. The most visible success was the BBC television series Hidden Histories, which took the Commission’s investigations of the heritage of Wales into the homes of 500,000 viewers around the UK. A second series in 2009 was equally successful and a third will be shown in 2011. But this was only one of many Centenary activities.

Over 16,000 visitors came to a Centenary exhibition at the National Library of Wales of treasures from the National Monuments Record, with selected items going on to the National Museum. Touring panels in libraries and community venues were seen by some 44,000 people. Press coverage appeared widely, and Planet magazine commissioned leading writers to respond to archive images.

Launch of Y Bwthyn Cymreig/The Welsh Cottage at St. Fagans.

Staff reached out in person to well over 5,000 people through talks, walks, open days and training. Numerous groups came to see what the Commission does, while a Saturday for a general audience hit full capacity with 159 members of the public, 70% of them new visitors. The Digital Past conference shared expertise for the heritage sector and due to demand is becoming a regular event.

The most lasting product was the Commission’s book telling the story of Wales from prehistoric times to the present – Hidden Histories (Trysorau Cudd in Welsh). It was described in reviews as ‘an inspiring tool for anyone engaged with Welsh heritage’ and ‘the most beautiful fully comprehensive social history of Wales’. Feedback from readers showed 95% had increased their understanding of Wales’s heritage or were inspired to learn more.

The hundredth birthday was also a symbolic moment to make further progress in up-to-date delivery. The main website was rebuilt and New Coflein was launched. The popularity of these services (excluding staff use) rose to around 2,500 page views a day.

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