visual culture wales

Articles by Huw David Jones

Hidden Treasures from Aberystwyth Yesterday

With its diverse and eclectic collection of artefacts heaped together almost willy-nilly, the Ceredigion Museum looks at times more like the BBC Props Department than a centre for serious custodianship and learning. In among the Welsh dressers and penny farthings, one expects to find jobbing extras sharing a crafty fag before being called back on set.

The Antoniazzi ice cream cart

The Antoniazzi ice cream cart

The museum’s latest exhibition, Hidden Treasures, does little to repudiate this image. Drawn from the collection of the late Margaret Evans, a local patrician who organised the popular exhibition Aberystwyth Yesterday at the town’s old railway station, it features an assorted mix of hats, dresses, ceramics, chairs and an antique radio, each item chosen as the personal favourite by members of the museum staff.

But if the objects themselves fail to impress, the stories associated with them perhaps will. Take for example the ice-cream cart once owned by the Antoniazzi family, the Italian proprietors of Aberystwyth’s Penguin Café. Not only does this item testify to the growth of tourism and immigration in the town; it also recalls a local incident during the 1940s when a similar cart was responsible for killing four people and hospitalising a further 210, after its spoiled contents caused a Typhoid outbreak. Plenty of drama, then, from this look back into Aberystwyth’s colourful past.

Hidden Treasures from Aberystwyth Yesterday is at the Ceridigion Museum from Sat 16 Feb till Sat 19 Apr 2008.

This post was originally published by Buzz magazine.

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This entry was posted on April 1, 2008 by and tagged , , , , .
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